The Kitchens’ Strawberries be Jammin!

I know, I know. I do not can. The threat of giving my friends & loved ones the gift of botulism has pretty much kept me away from this age-old method of food preservation. Not only that, I’ve no room for the canning gear nor for the canned goods.  So, why then am I suddenly canning?

To begin with, last week’s canning experiment with cherry jam went very well. It jelled properly and the jars all sealed without using a water bath. Those who have tasted it liked it, and, most importantly, survived. Family, friends, and a few fellow bloggers were all quite positive, some even encouraging me to continue canning. One friend was particularly enthusiastic, although methinks the promise of freshly made grape jelly may have been the cause. You see, I had confided to him that I wanted to make grape jelly but that Concord grapes weren’t easy to come by. This isn’t exactly Napa Valley. I told him I would be going to the farmers’ market this morning to find grapes and, if all else failed, I might try canning some Michigan strawberries, if they were still available. What he didn’t know was that I had found Mom’s strawberry jam recipe in the recipe book she had given me years ago. All thus time I had ignored it because, as we all know, I do not can. Well, with no grapes to be found anywhere at the market, I bought 3 containers (pints?) of strawberries. I followed Mom’s recipe, with 1 exception. Remembering David Lebovitz’s recommendation of using lemon rind as well as lemon juice, I added the zest of 1 lemon to the fruit and sugar. Beyond that and as Mom had suggested, I used a potato masher to crush the hulled berries, which yielded a little more than 4 cups of smashed fruit. The fact that there was no need for store-bought pectin was a big plus; I didn’t have any. From there, the rest of the recipe is easy enough that I had no problems following it. An experienced canner and jammer should be able to do this in her/his sleep.

*     *     *

*     *     *

Mom’s Strawberry Jam Recipe        

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled (4 cups smashed)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, lemon and lemon juice & zest. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.
  2. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C).
  3. Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch head space, and seal.
  4. Process in a water bath, allow to sit in boiling water for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, carefully remove jars from boiling water and place on rack covered with a towel to prevent jars from shattering due to quick temperature change.
  6. Leave, untouched, for 12 to 24 hours to insure proper sealing.
  7. Store in cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
  8. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don’t bother with processing and just refrigerate.

*     *     *


*     *     *

Notes

If unsure whether the jam will jell properly, you can test it. Just before you start preparing the strawberries, place a plate in your freezer. After your jam has reached 220*, take about 1/4 tsp of the hot jam, place it on the chilled dish, and return both to the freezer. After a couple of minutes, use your finger to “push” through the jam on the plate. If the jam wrinkles before your finger and does not flow to refill the path your finger took, the jam is ready to be placed in jars.

Oh! All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, I do not can.

*     *     *

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “The Kitchens’ Strawberries be Jammin!

  1. My only hope would be to do it in my sleep – in a clean sort of Dreamworks way. Bottled preserves I can do, but canning seems to involve a lot of stuff that I don’t have – like cans. I love the way you work from your Mother’s recipes – a very nice, emotive idea,

    Like

    • Thank you. This process has been so remarkable and not for just the memories the different dishes bring to mind. As you noted, there’s an emotional component that I didn’t expect — nor did a sibling, who commented upon it, as well. And I’m certain that, somewhere, Mom is having a good laugh at my canning exploits.

      Like

    • If I can do this, you, with prior experience, certainly can — but my canning will go no further than jam/jelly. As it is, I’m already wondering where I’m going to put all of the empty jars once everyone has finished their jam and returned them to me. And, Madam, I may dabble in preservation methods but, I repeat, I do not can!

      Like

    • I’m surprised at how simple jam-making is. A trip to the farmers’ market and I can purchase enough berries to make a year’s worth of jam. All that’s missing is a place to store it all. (There’s always something …)

      Like

  2. Again, you have impressed me! I do not can, doubt I will can in my sleep, but love to be the recipient of those who do can!! I really should and this post has me a bit embarrassed as why I have never tried it. Something about getting all that gear most likely has intimidated me!

    Like

    • I’m with ya! I don’t have the gear, either. For the boiling water bath, I used my big stock pot with a collapsable steamer-thing-a-ma-jig on the bottom and my pasta pot & strainer. Each one held 4 half-cup or 4 half-pint containers. I do foresee a problem with the jars, though. Once everyone finishes their jam and starts returning the jars, I’ll be swimming with them. I’ll worry about that later.

      Like

    • The entire process interests me, Mandy. Some cooks suggest using a peeled, cored, & quartered baking apple in the berries to supply the required pectin. Once they reach 220*, pull the apple and proceed. Others, apparently relying upon the same principle, add apple juice instead of water that some recipes require. Whatever works for you is the best way, in my completely inexperienced opinion.

      Like

    • It was grapes that started me wondering about trying to make jam and, consequently, canning. Last year, I saw grape jelly made on a cooking show and coincidentally saw grapes at one of our “better” groceries. They wanted far too much for the grapes so I thought I would try again this year, only earlier. But then I found my cherries and, well, you know the rest.

      Like

    • I had no idea that you canners had such a strong recruitment bureau! And I won’t be canning pickles anytime soon. I have a great refrigerator pickle recipe that I make once every 4 – 6 weeks. Tell your recruiters that they’ll need to try a different tack if they intend to lure me into your cult of canning. Have a great day!

      Like

  3. To can or not to can, that is the question. As far as your jars go, I don’t think that you will see many of them return. People seem to find too many uses for them. I have never gotten a jar back (not to mention a few of the other vessels that i have given food in).

    Like

    • Like it or not, I think the canning question, for me anyway, has been answered. As for the containers, my friends have been very good about returning things — one even bought me new ones. Once these jam jars start coming back, I don’t know where I’m going to put them until next year. And re-filling them is not an option! Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  4. John, admitting it it the first step. Canning is wonderful, and easy. Something about fresh sauce in February. But since you don’t can… Seriously – That looks great, Now I have to make some toast.

    Like

    • I do freeze quite a few quarts of tomatoes each year. In fact, tomorrow I’ll get my first half-bushel of Romas. Now that I’ve finished jammin’. I really haven’t a need to can anything else.

      Like

  5. Pingback: The Unexpected: The 7 Links Challenge | from the Bartolini kitchens

  6. Pingback: Asparagus, Crimini Mushroom, and Ricotta Ravioli Filling | from the Bartolini kitchens

  7. One of these years we’ll start canning! I had thought it might be this year, but I doubt if that’s going to happen (unless Mrs K R decides to take the lead in this – my plate is pretty full of other food projects). Anyway, this looks so delish! And something I will do at some point. Better to have too much to do than not enough, right? 😉 Good stuff – thanks.

    Like

    • I know what you mean, John. I voiced many of the same things up until 2 years ago, when I made this jam. Now, I’ve a dining room full of canned goods and empty jars waiting to be filled again. I need help. 🙂

      Like

  8. I don’t can either, but my allotment has been producing, what seems to me like, about a million tonnes of strawberries – I mean we have been having them for breakfast, lunch and dinner – I’m thinking of adding brunch and tea and extend our meals to 5 a day so I can include strawberries 🙂 So for the first time I’ve made strawberry jam, and I’m intrigued to see the addition of the rind.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s