Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam is the very first recipe in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, page 8, and for good reason. It’s a delicious, but simple recipe and a great place to start if you are just learning to can. Most fruit and berry jams with added pectin are done very similarly to this, so it’s definitely a great first recipe. We actually had a first time canner with us on this adventure and I think it was a great success – we made 30 jars for wedding favours for Kiki’s upcoming wedding! While Oregon berries aren’t ready just yet, California ones are coming in hot!

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Ingredients:
8 ish cups whole strawberries
7 cups granulated sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package regular powdered fruit pectin

Here’s how we made it:
Prepare the canner, jars and lids. This recipe will yield around 8 half pints. Doubling jam isn’t usually recommended because it can affect the set of your jam, so we did multiple batches of this jam instead, one with added vanilla for a fun twist!

Measure the sugar into a bowl and set it aside so it can be added all at once when it is time. Does this sound like too much sugar to you? Ya, me too. Luckily Ball and other companies also have low and no sugar pectin. Get a jar of that and follow those directions for lower sugar jams. The Ball one at least works for anywhere from no sugar to a half cup per two jar batch. So 1/4 cup per half pint jar. But it’s flexible which is super awesome. The instructions work for anywhere from 2-10 jars and sugar is adjustable. Those delicious local berries really don’t need much added sugar so being able to add it to taste is great.

Rinse the berries, and hull them. One layer at a time, mash the berries with a potato masher, and pour the mash into a liquid measuring cup. You want 5 cups of mashed berries total. Crazy Kiki didn’t have a potato masher so you can also use the blender. But you DO NOT want a puree. You want a chunky mash, so just do maybe a cup of berries at a time and give it a quick pulse.

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Once you have 5 cups of mash in a large pot add your lemon juice, and whisk in the pectin to dissolve. If you want a fun modification of this recipe, you can add a half of a vanilla bean at this point to make strawberry vanilla jam. Just put it in now and remove before filling the jars.

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Turn the burner on to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Once at a full rolling boil, add the sugar all at once. Return to a full rolling boil that you can’t stir down. Time one minute of boil, stirring constantly. After one minute, remove the jam from the heat, and skim off any foam. This jam tends to get quite foamy so it’s actually worth it to skim.

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Remove the hot jars from the canner, and fill each jar, leaving a quarter inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids finger tip tight, and place the jars in the canner covered by at least 1-2 inches of water.

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Process the jars for 10 minutes, starting the time when the water is at a full rolling boil. After 10 minutes turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and wait 5 minutes before removing the jars to a hot pad or towel. Leave the jars undisturbed for 12-24 hours, check the seals, remove the bands, wipe clean, label and store.

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