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.