Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Yeah for spring and strawberry season! I corralled my three, mostly willing, helpers (hey there was the promise of ice cream from nearby at the end) and we set off on a grand picking adventure. After the usual hour it took to lotion everyone up and put on hats we set out towards the strawberry fields. The first thing we learned, other than that the berries were plentiful, was that my toddler had no interest in picking. However, he was very interested in the part where you put the berries in the bucket. Lucky for us his older sister agreed to be a team with him. She picked and he dropped the berry into the bucket while his brother struck out for parts unknown in search of the largest berries (My littlest was also very interested in the part where the berries went directly into his mouth. In this his siblings also helped him out. Thanks guys…) We actually had quite a successful time picking and got 11 lbs! (two enormous buckets) of berries. I took pictures (because it was so cute!!!). They picked and my husband, lucky guy, acted as the runner assisting everyone else with their crisis. After that it was off to Ye Old Mill for ice cream treats for all (okay all except mama who is not actually an ice cream fan). We decided once again that my littlest was still really too little for his own cone (who gives an 18 month old an ice cream cone? Someone who likes to wash ice cream out of everything starting with his hair and working down, clearly) But don’t be concerned that the baby was jipped. Oh no, brother and sister, equally as fallible to his adorable cuteness as mom and dad, took turns very kindly sharing their ice creams. He would walk carefully back and forth between them both getting mouthfuls of ice cream each time.  Did I mention that my third clearly gets by on charm? He knows how to turn it up to 10 if it means something good for him, so oh yes, he got his share of ice cream (as did his hair, his neck, his shirt and his shoes- his cheeks go without saying.) After that, well what to do with 11 lbs of berries? Clearly jam was in order and jam I made, nine lovely jars of it.

I decided, since I rarely make jam now that I have so many kids and so much less time, to take one master batch and split it into three flavors. The first was classic jam, meaning I added nothing to the recipe below. The second was a strawberry spice and I added tiny pinches of spice to each pint jar. Finally the third was strawberry basil, a variety I tried recently at the farmer’s market and enjoyed. It doesn’t taste particularly basily, it just adds a light twist to the flavor. After covering seemingly everything in my kitchen in strawberry juice I water bath sealed the jars in question and gave them to my jam loving husband for Father’s Day. Win! Oh and I also made him this lovely strawberry cake, which, while not classic strawberry shortcake, in my household disappeared even faster. We have a new spring classic, hurrah!

Practical note: The recipe below is basically one of the “standard” (read Ball canner, Good Housekeeping etc.) recipes for strawberry jam, however I made one major change. I used the recipe for “natural” (ie pectin free) strawberry jam, but added pectin. I did this because I like how much faster pectin jam is to make, but I like the full cup less sugar the natural recipe called for. I really liked the results. It is a soft jam like natural and not as sweet tasting (more strawberry, less sugar), but fast like pectin.

Makes: 9 pint jars

Kid Friendly Tasks: Picking Berries (I would NOT have them help with making the jam. I got two sugar burns as it is.)

 

Ingredients

  • 6 c sugar

  • 8 c crushed berries

  • 1 pk pectin

  • ½ tsp butter

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

 

Spice Jam Ingredients

  • Pinch (1/4 tsp) allspice

  • Pinch (1/4 tsp) cinnamon

  • Pinch (1/4 tsp) cloves

Directions

  1. Get all of your canning supplies out, heat your jars and measure out your sugar.

  2. Combine crushed strawberries, lemon juice, butter and pectin and bring mixture to a full, rolling boil over high heat, stirring as necessary.

  3. Add sugar all at once and bring again to a full boil. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

  4. Ladle into jars and water bath process for 10 minutes. Check seal after 24 hrs.

    Enjoy!

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

 

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