Just like The Beatles did, sing it! “Strawberry fields forever…”
Seriously, one of the best parts of summer is being able to get in a strawberry patch and pick strawberries, then take the warm berries home, and make homemade jam.
Jammin’ season has begun!
Sun-ripened strawberries are possibly one of my favorite things…ever. This summer, our family joined a local CSA, and the CSA did the picking for me. Which, I am actually perfectly OK with, given my allergies have made me noting short of Sneezy McGee every time I go outside and when I go out in the sun, I actually break out in hives. You cannot make this shit up.
I love getting older and being perimenopausal.
When it comes time to can the essence of summer, I’ve always gone to the tried and true Sure Jell recipe for strawberry jam. It’s easy, and it is almost no fail. It’s one of the first jams I ever made when I was in my 20s, and I felt like a friggin’ hero when I presented these jars of love to friends and family. To this day, they still think I am a hero, if for no other reason than I can make this – among many others – jam.
What You Need:
5 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
1 box SURE-JELL powdered Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.
Stir pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if needed.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
My Thoughts After Making It for the 1451st time:
With anything, ingredients matter here… especially here. Go find a freakin’ farm stand, even if you have to drive an hour or two out of the city. JUST DO IT!! You will thank me that you had farm freshly picked berries when you crack open one of these jars in the dead of winter. The smell alone will take you back to summer.
I’m telling you now, watch the video all you want. Boil your jars all you want. Me? I save myself time and hassle by running my jars through the dishwasher and then baking them at 250F for 30 minutes. Trust me. Read about it in my Rhubarb Rose Petal jam or any one of my marmalade recipes from this winter.
Screw squishing your berries one layer at a time. Put your 2 qt (about 8 cups) of strawberries in a big pot, and mash them with a potato masher. I tend to like pieces of strawberries in my jam, so I only squish down about 3-5 times with my masher. While the image below looks really chunky, trust me, the fruit will break down when it cooks. If you like actual chunks of berries in your jam – and jam is meant to have pieces of fruit in it – then only lightly mash your berries.
After you bring the fruit and pectin to a rolling boil, and add the sugar, you will see a complete difference in the above picture. See how much the fruit has broken down after it’s been on the heat?
Once you ladle the jam into the jars and cap them, put them back in that 250F oven for 15 minutes and take them out so they can seal.
MAKE SURE you swipe a piece of bread (or your finger – no judgement here) through the warm jam that clings to the pot.
THIS…this is perhaps one of the best tastes ev-va!
Strawberry Fields Forever…