July 21, 2014

Strawberry Jam

 Back in the "Olden Days," when you didn't take drivers ed because they figured everyone knew how to ride a horse or drive a team, (a joke we tease my dad about,) they'd get their sweets from homemade jam. At least that's what I figure because my dad and my mother in law LOVE their jam. My mom's freezer is usually packed with it. We don't do the cooked stuff, we make freezer jam in my family. It just tastes more fresh and well, not cooked. I could never pick a favorite, but had access to some good strawberries so that's what I made. Here is what you'll need.
4 pints of fresh strawberries (4-5, 16 ounce pkgs)
 3 cups sugar
 1 pkg Pectin
1 cup water
8 clean pint jars with lids (I've also used plastic peanut butter jars, and my grandma would put it in almost anything. However you don't want anything bigger than 2 cups, because it won't set up properly.)
My husband went to an auction one day and I asked him to bid on some canning jars for me. He came home and asked if I liked to can. I said "yes," rather cautiously. He said "Good, because the whole truck bed is full of jars." He wasn't kidding either. (I wish I had a picture of that one.) He spent over two hundred dollars on jars! I am set up for the rest of my life. Some of them are really old, and really neat. Remember the post about the CLOTHESPINS? I love old antique-like items that are completely re-usable. 

Cut the stems off and wash the strawberries.

Place them in the blender and only pulse. You don't want them completely pureed. Or you can smash them by hand with a potato masher if you like it more chunky.

If your blender has a measuring device on it great! That saves you on washing dishes. You want your squashed berries to equal four cups, don't go much over that or it will not set up. Pour prepared fruit into a large mixing bowl.

This is the pectin I like to use. It doesn't call for as much sugar.

Look for these instructions inside. Find the part that says "Quick and Easy Freezer Jams and Jellies." Just follow the instructions for the type of fruit you have. Some fruits also require lemon juice.

Now that your fruit is ready to go, pour your 3 cups of sugar into a medium saucepan over medium high heat and mix in the package of pectin. Mix very well.

Add the 1 cup of water, stir until the sugar and pectin are dissolved. Now watch for it to boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Quickly add the boiling mixture to the fruit, and stir for one minute or until mixed well.

Using a jar funnel, pour the mixture into your waiting containers. One recipe will make four pints. 

I know it is tempting to double the recipe, but don't. Sad experience shows it doesn't set up. I don't know why. Just clean up and start over. That's not so bad, you get to scrape the bowl with a spoon and test your jam!

Sit the jars on the counter to cool and set up for 24 hours. You can refrigerate them for 3 weeks or freeze them for up to a year, but they won't be in there that long, I promise! Especially on THIS bread.

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