Monday, May 30, 2016

Pectin Free Strawberry Jam & How to Can it: A Photo Guide

Strawberry season is upon us…ok, it’s almost over. BUT there’s still time to get your hands on some tasty little red morsels of goodness! Many people have asked me to teach them how to make jam and also how to can it. I WISH I could go to everyone’s home and teach them how to make jam and can it. I would also die with glee if I could host a jam making/canning class in my home. Alas, I am only one woman. One woman with a mess of crazies running around & not enough time or space to accommodate.

I can’t give individual lessons to everyone, but I CAN show you thru pictures! Stick with me here and I’ll walk you through how I make pectin-free strawberry jam and how to can it.

If you want to use pectin, you can still follow the canning directions below. Pectin will yield a thicker jam. The following recipe is thinner, but uses no boxed pectin…and it tastes like strawberry lemonade! Yum!
What you’ll need for JAM:
2-3 lemons (zest of one, 1/2c juice)
4 quarts of strawberries (washed and with the caps off)
5 cups of sugar

Once your strawberries are washed and uncapped, blend them to the chunkiness you want your jam to be. I like mine to be kind of chunky, so that’s what the pictures will show. Put your strawberry mash into a large pot.

Add the sugar to the strawberry mash.

Add the zest of one lemon
Let this mixture sit for 2 hours.

This is the perfect time to gather your canning supplies! This recipe will make 3-4 pints, OR 6-8 half pints, OR a combination of both. I usually get one jar that is not full and use that one right away. You will need rings and lids for the jars also. You will need tongs or some other way to get the jars in/out of the boiling water (I suggest the canning tongs. Worth it!). And you’ll need a large stock pot with enough water to cover the tallest jar. There should be an inch of water over the tallest jar. If you have a canning funnel, you’ll want it. If you don’t have one, you’ll want one.

When 2 hours is up, turn your stove on medium heat to get the berry mixture to boil. (When you start boiling your jam, start boiling the water in your stock pot.)

Boil for 5 minutes. Stir regularly. (A boil means that when you stir the mixture, it does not stop bubbling. This is when you start your timer.)

While your jam is heating up, put your jars in the sink and fill them with boiling water. This will sterilize them and prepare them for the hot jam.

Also, put your lids and rings in a bowl and fill with boiling water.

After your jam has boiled for 5 minutes, add the lemon juice. Boil an additional 5 minutes.

Lay a dish towel on the counter next to the jam pot. Put your empty jars on the towel.
Turn off the heat. Fill the jars. Leave about a 1/4 inch of headspace. That looks like this:
Wipe the top of the jars with a clean damp cloth to get any residue/jam off the rim. Cover with a hot lid and tighten with a ring.

When your jars are all full, put them into the boiling water in your stock pot.

Set timer for 10 minutes. When the water is at a rolling boil, start the timer. 

When the time is up, remove the pot from heat. Remove the jars and put them on the towel. (No need to put them upside down.)

Now, you’re going to listen for the most satisfying sound you’ll hear all day…a sucking POP! That is the sound of your jars sealing!

I know it’s tempting to tilt the jars to see how thick your jam is, but DON’T! Let them sit overnight.

Woohoo! You did it!

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