- Jesse Brubaker
Strawberries Are My Jam
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
(the above picture is a link to the YouTube video)
There is no fruit as scrumptious as a plump, fresh strawberry. But like all fresh fruit, it doesn’t last forever. I’m a big fan of making fruit preserves, and wanted to teach you to make your own this year!
My grandmother always has a huge strawberry patch, and she makes a delicious recipe for strawberry jam. I always ask her what her secret is, and you're going to laugh about it (she does too), as her secret is to always, always, always follow the recipe on the box. She has some pointers that I will reveal to you, but her advice is spot on. Let’s get started.
Getting those sweet, sweet berries
Getting local, fresh berries at the peak of ripeness is always preferred. But you can always use store berries, or even frozen berries. I like to buy fresh berries, and freeze them on a sheet tray. It’s cheaper this way, but they typically have a much more intense flavor than the store varieties. Grandma claims that the small berries have the most intense flavor. I don’t argue with Grandma.
If you know you are going to make jam/jelly, go ahead and measure them out and then freeze them together. That's one less step when you are ready to have a canning day.
Prep the supplies
-big pot for water bath
-something to keep the jars from rattling on the bottom (get creative, I used a small towel)
-long tongs for extracting jars
-pyrex measuring cup to pour or a funnel
-fresh pectin (from your local store)
-sugar (as called for by your recipe)
-bottled lemon juice (if called for by your recipe)
-vanilla to add complimentary flavor if you choose
Jammin' out (making the jam)
Wash and remove the tops of the strawberries, if fresh. Cut into small pieces and measure out as needed for the recipe needed.
Follow the directions of your pectin packet EXACTLY.
Make sure you have everything measured out and ready BEFORE you start cooking. The biggest mistake I make is adding the sugar TOO early.
1- Measure exactly. This is critical for everything to set properly. Do not add less sugar!!! Regular recipes have more sugar than berries, that's normal!!!
2-If the directions call for a rolling boil, it must be boiling hard. You should not be able to stir it down before you start your timer. Failure to do this will often cause your jam not to set (harden properly). If this happens, you now have strawberry ice cream topping. Watch the video so you see what I mean.
3- Leave the appropriate amount of headspace and wipe the edges of the jar for a clean seal.
4- rings should be “fingertip tight” before they go into the water bath. Make sure there is about an inch of water above the jars. Follow the cooking time per your directions. (see.. there we go with the directions thing again!)
5-when you pull the jars out, set them on a clean towel to set overnight. If you hear popping (that's a good sign.) That is the lids sucking down and sealing. You should celebrate every time you hear one “pop”. If they don’t seal, they need to be refrigerated and eaten soon. Everything is fine, they just are not properly sealed for long term storage.
6- always write the date on the lid... and of course, enjoy & share!