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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Strawberry Pinot Noir Jam

After the tuna fest, we needed an easy canning project. Something with a short processing time, and something to get the smell of tuna out of the house. This delicious jam did just the trick. Strawberries, gooood. Wine, goooood. Together, oh so good! Believe it or not we actually picked these berries. In September! I know eh? Crazy madness! Anyways, we picked them locally at Fairfield Farm. Which I was going to keep as a secret, but dang I guess I just spilled the beans. The berries were delicious but I am both happy and sad that they were all used for this jam. Might have to go again before they are all gone.

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This is a pectin free jam so it cooks down for quite a while, but it’s good that is does because it makes the house smell so darn good. I got this recipe from a friend who found it on this liquor store’s website.

Ingredients:
14 cups of strawberries
1 bottle of Pinot Noir
2.5 cups sugar
1 lemon, juiced

For best results, make this jam over two days. The first day wash and hull the strawberries. Combine them with the sugar, wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Either mash the berries a little or cut the larger ones in half or quarters. After boiling for 10 minutes or so, turn off the heat, cool the mixture and store over night. I imagine that you could do the rest of the process now if you want, but to get the berries good and infused with wine, soak overnight.

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The next day, strain the liquid into the pot and leave the strawberries aside. Reduce that over medium high heat for about 30 minutes, or reduction by about a half. It should reach 215F if you have a thermometer. Then add in the strawberries and continue to cook. I mashed them a little more at this point but you don’t have to. Continue to reduce for about 15 or so more minutes. I did longer I think and still ended up with more than the recipe said I would get which was odd. But get the jam either to 212F if you have a thermometer or until it’s reached a good gel stage (test it on a cold metal spoon or whatever your preferred jam test is).

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While it reduces, prepare the canner, jars and lids. I got almost 8 half pints, the recipe says you’ll get 6. Mmm look at that delicious jam.

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Fill the hot jars leaving a half inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and tighten the bands finger tip tight.

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Place the jars in the canner covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes, and remove the jars to a towel or hot pad. Listen for the jars to go ping. 🙂

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Enjoy this delightful treat whenever you desire. It makes a great gift, although it may be hard to say goodbye once you’ve tasted it.

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Rhubarb Strawberry Pie Filling

I thought my first canning post should be one of my most favourite recipes that I have canned many times, so we will start with Rhubarb Strawberry Pie Filling. This recipe is modified from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving which is one of my favourite canning books.

I tend to be a “go big or go home” type of canner so I like to do more than the recipe calls for, but sometimes (like in the case of jam) that isn’t always the best idea. Here, however, as long as you have a big enough pot I think it’s totally the way to do it. I’ll write the proportions as in the book, but I did just over 1.5x the recipe for this venture, which yielded just over 4 quarts. As written the recipe will make 5 pints.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large apples (a good cooking variety) peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 7 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups halved hulled strawberries

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Here’s what I did:

Prepare the canner, jars and lids. I prefer to put pie fillings into quart jars since I use a quart for a pie, but it’s nice to prepare a smaller jar too in case the yield isn’t exact or you want a pint full for a crumble or something.

I like to cut all the rhubarb up first. Since I have it in my yard I harvest as much as I think the plant can handle (they say to harvest no more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant at a time so it can recover). Then I calculate how much I need of all my other ingredients based on how much rhubarb I have. Then I just eat the leftover strawberries since I always buy (or better yet you-pick) too many. For buying purposes, one good sized stalk of rhubarb when cut up is just a little more than a half cup. Cut the rhubarb into about one inch pieces.

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Peel and core the apples and chop them very finely. Juice and zest the orange and combine with the apple in a large stainless steel pot. Stir to coat the apples then add in the chopped rhubarb and sugar.

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Over medium-high heat bring this mixture to a boil. Stir constantly and boil until the rhubarb becomes soft, but not to the point that it turns to mush, about 10-12 minutes.

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Add the strawberries and return to a boil.

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mmmm pie filling.

Remove the mixture from the burner.

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Fill the hot jars, leaving a one inch head space.

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Once you have removed any air bubbles and adjusted your head space, place your lids on the jar, tighten the band finger tip tight, and place the jars in your hot water bath canner.

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Ensure the jars are covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil. The processing time for this recipe is 15 minutes. Begin timing once the water reaches a full rolling boil.

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Once the 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes then remove the jars from the canner. Listen for the delightful sound of your jars sealing! When the jars are fully cool (12-24 hours), remove the bands, wipe the jars clean, label the lids, and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Enjoy a delicious pie whenever you desire!

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