Sunday, September 8, 2013

STRAWBERRY JAM

I recently decided I should make some strawberry jam since Aldi's was selling the berries for 99 cents a pint container.  I decided to buy 5 pints.  I probably used 2-1/2 pints to make my batch of jam.  I picked out the best looking and ripest strawberries from 3 different pints.  The ones that were not quite ripe, I just left out on the counter and they were ripe the next day.  

I did an earlier post on making apricot jam. You can check it out HERE.









I also have made peach jam. You can check it out HERE . The process is the same .... you're just using different fruit and amounts.





These ingredient amounts are different using the Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin I got at Wal-mart in the bulk than using Sure-Jell premium fruit pectin.  I saw the container of Ball and decided I would try it. What I like about it is you can make as little as 1 pint or 2 half pints and up to 10 pints.  Under the label, it gives the amounts you need for the different amounts.  It also tells you how many spoonfuls are to be used for your favorite "box" directions.   I decided to follow the amounts to make 8 half pints.  I actually made 7-1/4 half pints. If you are using the box of pectin, the amounts will be given on the directions with the box.  Follow those amounts.  It doesn't change my pictorial directions.

Ingredients:

4 cups crushed strawberries
5 cups sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons Ball dry fruit pectin (in the bulk)
1 teaspoon margarine

Directions:

Wash and cut out stem and leaves.









Crush strawberries about 4 - 5 at a time with a potato masher 









until you have 4 cups of crushed berries (about 2 - 3 packages)









Measure carefully 5 cups of sugar in a bowl and put aside.









Also place the lids in a pan with boiling water. I usually have one more than I think I will need ...just in case.

I have the jars in the dishwasher washing trying to time the completion time to when I will need them. This keeps them HOT for when you fill them.

Place crushed berries in a large dutch oven size pot and slowly add dry pectin while stirring well.







Add 1 teaspoon margarine-this helps keep down the foam that can build with the cooking. 








Heat for about 5 minutes until it boils over medium high heat stirring constantly. The boil should be such that it continues to boil even while you are stirring. This is called a rolling boil.  (It is hard to get a picture of a rolling boil because of the steam.)

Add the sugar all at once 








and continue to stir bringing the mixture back to a rolling boil. Boil at a rolling boil 1 minute (set timer) stirring constantly.






Carefully fill jars (helpful if you have a wide mouth funnel that fits inside the jar and a coffee cup to dip in mixture to use to fill jar).






Fill the jar to the top of the neck-the bottom of the funnel in the jar if you are using the funnel.  (I changed to my white funnel for the picture.)

Jars with less jam in them may not seal. 



Wipe the top of the jar to make sure it is clean and 









cover with a warm lid and then a jar ring. Tighten lid down. I have the filled jars on a folded towel on the table. 






After I finish filling the jars, I turn the jars over for five minutes. This lets the fruit float down in the jam. 










Then I turn them right side up and listen for that wonderful pop sounds that indicates the lid sealed. You can mash the center of the lid to check that it sealed. 







IF a jar doesn't seal, don't worry, just put it in the refrigerator and eat it first.

This might sound like a ordeal, but the secret is having everything ready that you will need before you start cooking the jam. 

If you have any extra left after filling jars, you can just pour in a bowl or jar to use then or over the next few days.  That's my favorite part.

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