This post was brought to you by:
Curiosity with St. Germain! Gin and Tonics!
Disclaimer: Maybe you want to limit yourself to one of those. We’re dealing with potential botulism here. PS: These were delicious.
Crafstine and I, in a fit of frustration the other day, made Strawberry Jam! It’s BERRY DELICIOUS. Now is prime time to get your strawberries. I read online that because of the freaky weather, strawberries may have a short season. Don’t delay! These guys are amazing!
This recipe is from the book Well-Preserved, and it is dynamite! I’m looking forward to canning other recipes from this book. I took it out of my library and you should too!
8 cups of sliced strawberries
6 cups of sugar
1/3 cup of lemon juice.
5-6 8 ounce preserving jars (with lids and rings! and if you are not good with measurements/eye-balling amounts, ALWAYS prepare more jars.)
First off, place your empty jars into a big pot filled with water- submerge those jars and put them on the stove to boil. That sanitizes the jars and enables us to fill them with molten hot lava-like jams and they won’t crack. Your lids and rings should also be sanitized, but I like to do that right before we fill the jars because of the questionable amount of jam you may have. If you have less than you sanitize, it’s not really good for the lids to be subjected to hot temperatures (in the sterilization process) because it activates the seal and may create a faulty seal the next time you use that lid.
In a heavy pot, put the sliced strawberries in and heat on medium heat. Crush the strawberries with a potato masher, to the consistency that you prefer.
Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Now, you may be thinking, HOLY SUGAR. THAT AMOUNT OF SUGAR WILL CREATE DIABETES. I agree, it’s a lot of sugar, however, sugar helps it set and increases volume. It also is a PH issue where you want to create an acidic environment, but not too acidic because that’s yucky, and the higher the acidity the less likely you will have bad bacteria in your jams growing and creating botulism. Usually I follow this to a T in recipes because I don’t want to get botulism. Crafstine is planning on experimenting this summer using low-sugar/no sugar needed pectin, but that kind of scares me. She’s bold.
We also added vanilla extract because vanilla and strawberry is AMAZING. It was nice little glug, probably three teaspoons?
Bring that to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. It should thicken and be delicious looking.
Once it has thickened, you turn off the heat, stir for two-three minutes, remove the creepy foam and then you’re ready to can!
Remove your hot jars from the pot (keep the pot boiling) and place on a towel. It’s important for these jars not to hit anything or be subjected to varying temperatures because they’ll crack. You should have specific tools for this job too; jar lifter, magnetic stick to get lids and rings out, and a funnel. I’ve canned without these items, using tongs and ladles, but it’s a real pain in the neck.
This recipe calls for leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Fill your jars and leave 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles using a wooden spoon handle or chopstick.
Once you have all your jars filled, then you can sanitize your lids and rings. I typically take a small saucepan and just take water out of the boiling pot of water and throw the amount of lids in. That way, the water is already boiling! Once they’ve been sanitized (10 minutes), you can remove them with your magnetic stick and then put that water back in the pot.
You put the lids on and then put the rings on just until they are fingertip tight. Do not TIGHTEN them, just turn them until they stop turning. Then, using your jar lifter, place the jars back into the pot of boiling water and boil them for 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and put back on the towel. Soon, you’ll hear the PING of the jars, letting you know that they’ve set!
Once they’ve been sealed, it’s advised that you leave them in the same spot to cool for 24 hours. They’ve been through a lot, and you don’t want to shake ’em up too much. After that, it is suggested that you keep them on the shelf without the bands on. Label them with what it is, and when it was made. As a rule of thumb, you should eat these preserves within a year. I know I go through a lot of homemade fruity jam in the wintertime on sandwiches, crépes, pancakes, toast, in breads, in frostings, in…..well, you get the idea. These last a long time, you know what’s inside of them, and you can adjust to your own taste!
Good luck! If you’re seriously interested in canning, it’s important to know all of the proper sanitation and PH rules because you seriously do not want botulism. Seriously. There are many different resources out there in book or internet form for you to find and learn more!