Hello and Happy Summer Days! It's strawberry season in our part of the world and it's been a year for beautiful strawberries!
Strawberry picking is an outing that I’ve managed with the kids almost every summer since they were small. And I love that they still like to come along and help. #trainupachild
This year the picking was easy. The strawberries were SO plentiful and huge. We were done in no time and waiting for the Berry Bus aka tractor-pulling-a-wagon to come and drive us back to the front gate.
And the jammin’ begins. So this is not really a tutorial at all since I completely just follow the instructions in the package of pectin. (I use liquid Certo). Technically anyone can do that. But here are some actual and vivid photos of the process, which are really helpful if you’re new to this at all. If any of you are pros at this, please feel free to add your wisdom in the comments!
So here we go. First I recommend you read through all the instructions and get out all your pots, pans, measuring tools and ingredients so that everything is handy as you go. Wash your jars and lids. Put the jars in the oven on a cookie sheet per the instructions, and the lids into boiled water. Now start mashing your hulled berries.
Mash them in small batches and transfer to the measuring cup until you have 3 3/4 cups. Exactly. Then pour your strawberry puree, sugar and lemon juice into a super-large pot and mix. This is NOT the time to try being healthy by reducing the sugar or increasing the fruit. It won’t set properly. If you’re trying to be healthy…probably don’t eat jam. #justsayin'
Set your element to high heat and wait for the mixture to come to a Hard Boil.
This is a Hard Boil...
And this is why you need to use a super-big pot. The mixture will be about triple in volume! Set your timer for one minute. After a minute, turn off the heat and pour in the pectin. Then reset the timer for five minutes. Now you give the mixture a good stir and skim off as much of the foamy stuff from the top as you can. The more of it you can take off, the prettier your jam will be.
Who wants to have that gunk in their jam? #ew
After five minutes, take the sheet of jars out of the oven, set up your funnel and start pouring. Having an assistant at this stage to move the funnel makes life a lot easier and less messy.
Now take your lids out of the water and set them on the jars and turn the screw rings on tight. After a short while you will hear the lids *pop* as everything cools and contracts. That means the jars are sealed and ready for storage. When everything is quite cool to the touch screw the rings again as tightly as you can.
Now comes the fun part of making the jars pretty. If you bought new jars they probably came with a sheet of sticker labels. Some stores also sell the sheets separately if you are reusing your jars.
If you have old jars and can’t find these stickers, you have the opportunity to be creative. Some of you will be tech savvy and can make beautiful labels on the computer. Also you can buy crafty looking labels from websites like Etsy. The Kitchn has a great roundup of options too.
I always keep a supply of these string tags from the dollar store. They are pre-tied and magically the perfect size to fit around a canning lid.
And if you are gifting any of your jam why not make it super-pretty with a topper of kraft paper and coloured twine? Dig out a stamp or a stencil to decorate the top, or print out a graphic and label on the computer.