Well, I realized it's been too long since i worked my canning skills so we figured it was time for more, especially on a rainy and cold weekend.
We love the way both the PEACH JAM and the BLUEBERRY JAM came out, simple and allowing the full flavor of the fruit to come through in the end product. Of course it's all been so much easier after I found the great three ingredient recipe over at THE YUMMY LIFE.
I started with a bunch of fresh strawberries, this was two 2 lb boxes, which yielded about 10 cups once chopped.
Then I got out my handy dandy strawberry huller and sat down to watch TV and hull strawberries.
Here is the end result of hulling. Next I quartered them. The smaller ones I just cut in half since they are all going to cook down anyway.
Here are the ingredients:
10 cups of chopped strawberries
5 cups sugar
zest and juice from one lemon.
|Strawberry jam without pectin|
I put all the ingredients in my jam pan and started heating it up...
Stir over medium high heat until boiling...
|Strawberries cooking for jam|
It will start to foam. Please note, strawberries foam up more than just about any other fruit (according to what I've read) so make sure your pan is deep enough and be prepared for the foaming...
I skimmed off some of the foam just to make it a bit easier...
Then I started mashing with the potato masher (didn't get a picture of that but look at the entries for the other jams if you want to see what I used). This gets it to the consistency you desire. More chunky, less chunky, but what's jam without at least SOME chunkiness to it....
It reached the jam stage. I used the freezer plate method to test it. I put a plate in the freezer, put a teaspoon of jam on it, placed it back in the freezer for a minute or two and then checked to see if it ran when I tilted it. You can also do this with the back of a spoon. If it didn't run or ran very slowly, it was ready.
It was indeed ready!
|Sterilized canning jars|
I had the jars sterilized and ready...
|Canning strawberry jam|
I ladled them into the waiting jars and left a 1/4" headspace.
Oops, dripped a couple of spots.
After putting the lids and rings on, I put them into the water bath canner and processed them for 15 minutes. Then I turned the heat off and left them in the water for 5 minutes more...
The last step is to remove them to a towel to cool and of course wait for the popping sound as they seal. This batch made seven 1/2 pint jars. The seventh wasn't quite full so we kept that in the fridge...
|Homemade strawberry jam on English muffins|
Oh wait, I guess there was one more step, SAMPLING the end result! We toasted up some English muffins (always our favorite way to test them out) and spread jam all over them. Oh my, pure strawberry heaven!
We now have 27 jars of jams/jellies...strawberry, peach, blueberry, and jalapeño...now it's on to something else, and I already have something in mind.
PLEASE NOTE: You are responsible to know and understand the current canning and processing recommendations for safety. Canning is fun but you MUST follow guidelines to make sure you are doing it safely. I had to learn (and still am) so do your research on safe canning techniques.
A great link to official information is http://nchfp.uga.edu/ and
of course, the literal bible of home canning information, the Ball Website.