Strawberry Jam

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Heather says:

So in addition to fruit leather, strawberry shortcake, and ripe berry goodness what does $25 and an hour at the farm yield?

Why, strawberry jam, of course!

There is no reason to be afraid of home preserving. We’ve all heard horror stories of the family that never got up from the table because grandma’s green beans were tainted with botulism. The truth is, by following directions carefully and using the proper equipment home canning is quite safe. Not only do you get to enjoy your produce year round, you know exactly what ingredients are used, and dollar for dollar what you can at home is of higher quality.

Jams, jellies, and preserves* contain enough acid and sugar and do not require pressure canning, a water bath is used. If you already have a large stockpot, there is no reason to run out and buy a special pot for canning. Directions for processing are included in each box of pectin. These directions are specific to your elevation, so it’s important to read them carefully.

Before beginning make sure the rims of your jars are free from cracks or burrs. Sterilize the jars and keep them hot, the dry cycle of a dishwasher is perfect for this. Pouring the hot jam into cold jars could cause them to crack. Sterilize the lids, which are only safe for a single use, by boiling.

Fill the large pot with water and heat. It has to be at a full boil and due to its size, it will take a while. Start heating before you make the jam.

For strawberry jam you’ll need:

  • 2 qts ripe strawberries, crushed
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 7 cups of sugar (I’ve read it is possible to reduce this amount, but I have yet to experiment)
  • 1 box pectin

Heat the strawberries, pectin, and lemon juice over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When the mixture has reached a full boil, (still boiling while stirred) add the sugar. Stirring constantly return the mixture to a full boil and allow to boil for a full minute. Be careful, the mixture is quite hot and may splatter.

To ensure the jam will be the consistency you desire, dip a spoon in ice water and then quickly into the jam. If it adheres to the spoon, remove the jam from the heat and funnel into your sterilized jars with a wide-mouth funnel. Wipe the rim of the jars and top with the lids. Tighten the metal bands finger tight and promptly place in the water bath. Process according recommended time.

After the jars have finished processing carefully remove them from the water bath and place on a clean towel. Allow the jars to sit undisturbed until they have fully cooled. Shortly after removing from the water bath you should be rewarded with a faint popping noise as the jars seal. Any jars that do not seal completely should be stored in the refrigerator and used promptly.

Congratulations, you’ve made your first batch of jam.

*For those wondering about the difference between jams, jellies, and preserves, it’s simple. Jellies are made from fruit juice, jam from crushed fruit, and preserves are from mostly whole fruit.

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10 thoughts on “Strawberry Jam”

  1. when we made strawberry-rhubarb jam last summer, we didn’t do the water-bath thing–we just turned the jars upside down for about five minutes after they were filled, then after you turn them back right-side-up, they start popping. anything wrong with doing it this way? we have a couple left and they’re still all sealed up.

  2. Rona, I do not have have a no-sugar added recipe, but I will search for you. Even without adding sugar, they still will by high on the glycemic index, but I’m sure your hubby would know how to compensate.

    Amy, the method you are referring to is called the open kettle method and it is NOT recommended by the FDA. The water bath is used to ensure the contents reach a high enough, sustained temperature.

    In fact the FDA revamped its rules on canning in 1990 and any recipes from prior to 1990 may not be safe. For example modern tomatoes are lower in acidity and require pressure canning vs water bath.

  3. I would presume that we can use Splenda instead of sugar – you can get splenda in packets that are equal to one cup of sugar.

    Heather, can you experiment for us healthier eaters who despise the evils of refined sugar? I can only have very very very small amounts of sugar (under 10 grams per serving) and love me some strawberry jam.

    I have been eating the weight watchers spread cause of the low sugar content, but I wanna see some real berries!

    I bet that if it works with strawberries we can try it will ALL KINDS of fruit.

    hmmm, you could market it as bariatric safe!

  4. O My Gosh that looks yummy. I can hardly wait to start making my own jams this summer. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Oooo, that looks soooo yummy, but I’m still too scared. That’s a lot of steps for me to screw up. Anyway, I’m considering it….but how many jars did it yield? If it didn’t do TOO many, I might be able to talk the Knitman into helping me.

  6. Wow! I haven’t made strawberry jam in years! I used to do it every summer, but somehow got too busy. You’ve inspired me to try it again. Thanks!

  7. Hi
    I made jam last summer and it tuned out excellent. I have done the same thing this year and they are all watery. An old lady in the grocery store said to NEVER make jam on humid days (and yes it was humid the day I picked and made the jam) Is there anyway to fix this jam?

    In a Jam

  8. This is something I remember doing as a child. My mother would be making jam and I’d be “helping”… strange how that worked.

    Anyway, jam never tastes as good as it did then, perhaps with fresh home made bread too.

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