Thursday, July 26, 2012

Food: Strawberry Jam Recipe and Tutorial

Today my boys made strawberry jam with our local 4-H group and Tessa from Doty Creek Crafter. I thought I'd take photos and share the how-to with all of you. Many thanks to the 4-H leaders for allowing me to take photos. I omitted all the photos of children other than mine for privacy reasons.

First you have your adorable children wash, wash, wash their hands and remove the lids and rings from the new jars. 
Toss the jars in the dishwasher. Don't forget the detergent. Put that sucker on HOT water and a heated dry. 
Get yourself some berries. {We opened up 6 boxes of strawberries and ended up with 8 half-pint jars of jam.} Now, rinse those gorgeous things off and spread them out on paper towels to drip dry.
 Give the kiddos a plastic knife and have them cut the tops off and cut the berries in chunks. 
Now put your jars, lids, and rings in your water bath canner. The water just needs to be simmering. This will reduce the risk of the jars breaking when you put hot food into them.
Grab your other ingredients. Sugar, pectin, and lemon juice. 
 Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
 7 cups of sugar. 
Cook the berries until they are juice and maybe a little mush. I guess about ten minutes. Stir them often so they don't stick. 
Now, you may skim the foam off of the top if you want, though I don't usually do that. Just whatever you prefer. Laddle the mixture into a sifter of some sort. I don't know the official name for this thing, sorry. 
Sift the mixture over a clean pot until no juice is coming through the bottom. The reason we do this is to keep  bits of fruit and seeds that are in there from being in your jam. Set the sifter and leftovers aside.      
Move the juice back to the stove, turn the heat on high, add in 1 package of pectin, and heat until it is a rolling boil. Let it boil hard for one minute. Stir continously. Remove from heat and skim foam if you want. 

Now comes the fun part. Very carefully remove your jar from the canner and laddle the jam into the jar. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace. 
Caution: the jar and the jam will be HOT. If you are doing this with children, make sure they are properly supervised. 
Now wipe any juice from the rims of the jars and quickly put on your lid and ring while the jam is hot. You may need to hold the jar with a dishtowel while you put the lid on. They say fingertip tight.
The Ball Blue Book of Preserving says the next step would be to process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. To do this you just put the jars on the canning rack and lower them into simmering water. Make sure they are covered by at least one inch of water. Cover with lid and heat to a steady boil for the amount of time on the recipe. Turn off the heat and let the jars stand in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars from water and sit them upright on a towel on the counter for 12 hours. 

Now with that being said, I normally don't do the processing at the end. We eat our homemade jam so fast there really isn't a need for it. After we put the lids on we leave them sitting on the stove top. In about half an hour they jars should be sealed. When they seal the tops will be flat or even look like they are caved in a smidge. There will be no bump on top and it won't make a popping sound when you touch them. If the jars haven't sealed, and the jam is still hot, turn the jar upside down for about 15 minutes. It should seal. Then we put in the fridge and forget it. But you may want to do what book calls for if you aren't going to eat yours straight away.

 At the end of the day each child put their name on the cupcake wrapper under their jar. Didn't they turn out great?! 
I'm sharing this at My Simple Country Living and at Homestead Barn Hop.


Heidi said...

Yes they did turn out great. Thank you for sharing this yummy looking strawberry jam tutorial. Your helpers did a good job.

Alana Jo said...

Thank you Heidi!