Thursday, June 18, 2009

making strawberry jam

Recently Erin had a post about making freezer jam with strawberries. It sounded straightforward and fun, so I went ahead and ordered a case of wide mouthed ball jars, bought 5 boxes of pectin and 10 pounds (!!) of sugar at my grocery store, and a canning funnel at my neighborhood hardware store. Today I saw local strawberries for the first time this season and bought two flats of them. The season for local strawberries always seems quite short here - maybe a week? - and so I thought, "now or never". Alexi gave me an incredulous look when I announced after dinner that I was about to start making jam. The process was really quite simple - clean, mash, add sugar, let rest. Add pectin/water mixture, stir, put in jars. Repeat. I don't know how in the world Erin managed to do it by herself in an hour and a half; it took us closer to two and a half hours with all four of us working, and the kids actually did help. Lots of stirring needs to be done, and those two extra sets of hands allowed me to continue chopping, and Alexi to man the jar station.

One quart of berries equals about one batch of jam. I used five and a half quarts all told for the five batches I made. Apparently the high quantity of sugar is necessary for the pectin to set properly. Some pectins require less sugar, but Erin said her mother didn't like the taste of the low-sugar version, and since I don't know anyone who has tried and liked it I stuck with the tried and true. The canning funnel was so great to have as it really would have been difficult to get the jam into the jar otherwise.

As we were working, Alexi remarked that the smell reminded him of making jam in the summer in his childhood. I hope that someday the smell of strawberry jam might also take Abbott and Cal back to a happy time in their childhood.

Recipe I used via Erin is here.

18 comments:

pve design said...

Wonderful! I made jars of jam with my Mom and I always loved to check to see if it was ready with the "Spoon" test - of holding it up and seeing the two sides dripping down off the spoon...and then tasting it on fresh bread! Will these be gifts?

country girl said...

Nice job! Your son looks like he's having a great time. You take beautiful photos. Have begun following your blog, it's lovely.

Purple Flowers said...

Your sons look so intense and interested. I am sure it will become part of their memory bank. You are off to the start of a fun summer!

kks said...

your boys are soooo cute!

Frau said...

Love homemade jams..they make wonderful gifts!

MrsMama said...

What a delicious day! You've captured it beautifully in photos. I can almost taste that sticky sweet goodness. :)

house on hill road said...

yay! you did it! i bet you are going to love having it in the freezer throughout the year.
and the only reason i can do it so fast is that i have multiple batches going at one time and have been doing it for years.

KPiep said...

Congrats on a job well done!

We're going to start our own adventures in canning this fall (hopefully) with salsa and tomato sauce.

Francesca said...

Ah, the canning funnel! That's what I've been missing! I didn't even know it existed, I hope to be able to find one over here!

nicola said...

yum when she posted. yum when you posted. i love to see your boys helping!
i wish we could do strawberry jam, but our plum tree is so full each year, we do plum jam. tasty, but not quite the same!
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

Anna said...

pretty! i love the way jam looks all colorful and lined up in jars together. strawberry jam sounds sooo good. yumm yumm!

also: i have used the less sugar kind of pectin and i liked it a lot.

Ina in Alaska said...

Strawberry jam is my all time favorite. Second only to peach and apricot jams. I love to toast white bread, add butter and a big glob of strawberry jam and down it with a cold glass of skim milk. Perfect treat!! xoxo

kyndale said...

The jam looks heavenly. It looks like you might have some jam to last you a while!

Rynke said...

Oooh, this looks so nice!

Jessica said...

Strawberry freezer jam is my favorite! Breakfast, lunch, dinner..it makes any meal. This weekend I'm making mine!

sweet fine day/Jenna said...

Love the shot holding the bowl. this looks yum.

Simply Mel said...

Oh how I love strawberry season! YUM!

Kwana said...

Wow this looks like so much fun. I've never made jam. Now I so want to. Love the pics. Thanks.