Hands down, my favorite jam is strawberry. Although I grew up with a mama who makes wonderful blackberry, grape and peach jams and jellies, I've always loved Mama's strawberry jam the most. On the rare occasions when I've run out of her jam and I've had to buy Smucker's, I'm reminded it's best to wait until I can get back to North Carolina to raid her pantry. Now that I've ventured in the world of canning (pickles, peaches and beets under my belt), I decided to try canning my own strawberry jam this year.
This particular batch was made with a flat from Florida. It takes about 1 gallon of strawberries to make 8 half-pint jelly jars of jam.
I followed the directions on the low sugar Sure-Jell package almost to a "T." Chopping my berries, not pureeing them, in my mini Cuisinart. Then I measured them.
My kitchen set-up. I wanted to show this because I LOVE my anti-fatigue Gel-Pro knock-off mat (I think I got it at Lowes?). It really makes a difference to stand on these at my stove and sink. In past houses, we had tile kitchen floors. The wood floors in our new house are definitely easier to stand on but the mat makes kitchen work even less tiring.
Back to the jam...stirring in the sugar.
Flipping the jars upside down for a moment right after filling them to seal. I flip them back over after just a minute.
And ta-da...done! I did not use the hot-water bath canning method because my mama never uses it (and her mama never used it or her grandma). All of my jars sealed perfectly and the jam tastes delicious (super fresh, thanks to minimal cooking). I'm sure the Ball Canning guide folks would get onto me about this method...but it works for my family.
We've planted a few strawberry plants at our house. There won't be enough berries for jam-making, just enjoying straight off the plant.
If we need larger amounts of strawberries, we just head down the road and pick at our local strawberry farm. For $9, the boys are entertained picking (and eating) berries and we go home with a large bucket of strawberries for pies, muffins, and topping a bowl of Cheerios at breakfast.
What about you? What's your favorite jam or jelly?