Sunday, September 19, 2010
Some of you guys know that my husband and I live somewhat in the hood. We joke and call it the hood, but really, it is a very family oriented (and very food oriented) neighborhood. We have a regular ice cream truck that comes by just before the sun sets, we have the Mexican bread man who wheels his card by in the afternoons selling delicious baked goods. And every few days in the summer we have people come to the door selling flats of strawberries. I was home early from work last week when the strawberry guy came by. $7 for a flat of strawberries?? YES. Could my husband and I have eaten all 8 baskets of strawberries before they went bad? Probably not.
Next best thing? Jam.
This recipe is from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving I got at the local hardware store for about $8. It has recipes for anything you could ever possibly can or preserve.
2 quarts strawberries
1 package powdered pectin
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups sugar
Wash strawberries; drain. Remove stems. Crush strawberries one layer at a time.
Combine strawberries, powdered pectin and lemon juice in a large saucepot.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Adjust 2 piece caps (lid and ring) finger tighten the ring and let them sit on the counter undisturbed for 24 hours. You should hear the lids start to pop within a few minutes. This means they are sealing. Any jam recipe will call for you to process the jars for 10 minutes in boiling water. This is to ensure that they seal, but I have always found that they seal just fine without the boiling water bath. You can do it if you choose.
Make some cute labels and give them out to your friends and family.
There is something super satisfying about a PB&J with jam you made from scratch :)
Just a few notes here for anyone wanting to make their own jam:
~Most people sterilize their jars the traditional way by boiling them. You need to have clean jars for obvious reasons, and you need to have hot jars to prevent the glass from being shocked by the hot liquid and breaking. I like to run mine through the dishwasher and run the heated dry. This cleans them and gets them nice and hot. You can do it either way.
~When crushing the strawberries, you think you need to mush them up a lot, try to refrain; the chunks will break up once you boil the mixture.
~The insert says that you can add a little bit of butter to reduce foaming. I would suggest doing the butter. I didn't this time and I had a lot of foam. You don't want foam in your jam.
~ Last thing to remember about making jam- preparation is EVERYTHING. Make sure you read the recipe through a few times, have everything you need ready to go before you start. It is also way convenient to have an extra set of hands to do the lids while you ladle.
Have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labor!