RECIPES // My Trials and Tribulations of Making Homemade Jam

One of the good things about having jet lag is that you can tackle big projects after your husband goes to bed. Last week it was 10:00 pm and I decided to make jam. I thought it was going to take me an hour, as indicated in the recipe. But I made a few mistakes along the way which kind of elongated the timing. I rationalized that staying up until 3:00 am to finish a project would normally be a bad thing. But since it was really only 10:00 pm in Auckland, and I still had jet lag, then I was wide awake. Well, kind of. Maybe I was awake when I started slicing the strawberries.

california strawberries

The idea of making jam first came to me when I opened up the latest issue of Magnolia Journal and saw Joanna Gaines story about making refrigerator jam. (First mistake – she suggested refrigerator jam. Not the kind where you boil the jars like five times during the process.) The idea became a reality when I stopped by one of the farm stands last weekend in Ventura and saw some amazing strawberries. (Second mistake – don’t buy two flats of berries when you only need half a flat.)

I know you are probably wondering why I didn’t start making jam until 10:00 pm. I cleaned and cut the strawberries the day before and put them in the refrigerator. I noticed they were ripening very quickly. I knew this was my last chance to make the jam since we would be at my son’s volleyball tournament and I was heading out of town in a few days. So I couldn’t justify wasting the $16 dollars I had spent on the berries.

I decided not to use Joanna’s recipe because I didn’t want 10 – 15 jars of jam that had to be stored in my refrigerator. I have made jam before and It didn’t take too long to slice and mash the berries. So I used a recipe I found online that used the water bath canning recipe. (Third mistake – do not use this method if you do not have the special tongs for removing the hot jars from the boiling water. Regular tongs do not work! Ouch.)

I started mixing all of the ingredients and ran into another problem. By tripling the recipe (because I had a gazillion strawberries) I realized I needed 21 CUPS OF SUGAR. I am not kidding. (Fourth mistake – using a Pioneer Woman recipe is never a healthy option!) By now it was 11:30 pm and I had to run up and change out of my jammies and back into street clothes for a trip to the grocery store. (Fifth mistake – check the ingredients before you change into your jammies) Once I had all of the ingredients the rest wasn’t hard. Until it came time to clean off the edges of the hot jars, placing the hot lids on the jars, boiling the filled jars, and turning them upside down to make sure the lid is sealed and in tack.

fresh strawberries

By the time I was done I had twenty-one jars of jam (with one cup of sugar in each one, OMG!). My husband is happy as it is favorite. I don’t even like strawberry jam so if you see me in the next month or two I will happily gift you a jar. Or two. Or three.

Next time I am at the grocery store I will buy a box of raspberries and blueberries and make one jar of refrigerator jam for me. That will probably take about fifteen minutes. And it will last a very long time.


Strawberry Jam

Recipe + directions found on Food Network. 

I N G R E D I E N T S

5 cups hulled and mashed strawberries

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained

One 49 gram package powdered fruit pectin

7 cups of sugar

*Note: You can use any berry of your choice

 

P R E P A R A T I O N (via Food Network

cans for jam

1. Place the mason jars in a large hot water bath canner (or pot). Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer the center lids in a separate saucepan full of water. Place the mashed strawberries and lemon juice in a separate pot. Stir in the pectin until dissolved. Bring the strawberries to a strong boil.

2. Place the mashed strawberries and lemon juice in a separate pot. Stir in the pectin until dissolved. Bring the strawberries to a strong boil. Add the sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), and then return the mixture to a full (violent) boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds. Skim foam off the top.

strawberry jam recipe

3. Add the sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), and then return the mixture to a full (violent) boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds. Skim foam off the top. Remove one jar at a time from the simmering water. Pour water back into the pot. Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful to keep the liquid/fruit ratio consistent. Fill the jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness.

4. Remove one jar at a time from the simmering water. Pour water back into the pot. Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful to keep the liquid/fruit ratio consistent. Fill the jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness. Remove the center lid from the simmering water and position it on top. Put screw bands on jars, but do not over tighten! Repeat with all the jars, and then place the jars on a canning rack and lower into the water. Place the lid on the canner, and then bring the water to a full boil. Boil hard for 10 to 12 minutes.

5. Remove the center lid from the simmering water and position it on top. Put screw bands on jars, but do not over tighten! Repeat with all the jars, and then place the jars on a canning rack and lower into the water. Place the lid on the canner, and then bring the water to a full boil. Boil hard for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the jars to remain in the hot water for an addition 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

6. Turn off the heat and allow the jars to remain in the hot water for an addition 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

7. After 24 hours, remove the screw bands and check the seal of the jars. The center lids should have no give whatsoever. If any seals are compromised, store those jars in the fridge. Otherwise, fill your pantry with your newly canned goodness.

canned strawberry jam


So… have you ever made strawberry jam? Please tell me it went smoother than this!!

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2 thoughts on “RECIPES // My Trials and Tribulations of Making Homemade Jam

  1. That was JUST what I needed to read this morning! I actually laughed out loud at least three times! You’re very witty and I loved reading this! I’m allergic to strawberries sooo no more strawberry jam making for me, but I make other fruit preserves,jams and jellies.

  2. I freeze my berries, either sliced or whole, in plastic containers in the amount called for on the MCP pectin box for a single batch. Then I make jam as needed, one batch at a time. Of course you need more freezer space rather than pantry space.

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