Not the dread locks and Jamaican kind, even though I love that kind of jammin’, too. I am talking about the made from scratch, please-get-into-my-belly kind of jammin’.
*Sigh* There are very few things better than fresh, homemade strawberry jam.
Did you know it’s strawberry season? It is. I love it. If I was going to rank my favorite season’s, it’s in my top 3. First is Christmas, second is football season (some people call it Fall), and third would be strawberry season.
There is a strawberry farm in Hazel Green, Alabama called Brown’s Farms. Oh. My. Goodness. BEST. STRAWBERRIES. EVER. You will never be happy with store-bought strawberries ever again. You will wait not-so-patiently for April to return so you can have them again.
True story. Ask the Hazel Greenians.
Anyways, strawberry season means it is time for strawberry jam. I’ve grown up with homemade jams and jellies, never realizing how spoiled I was. Then, one day as a poor, desperate college student, I caved and bought store jam. My roommate said it tasted good, that it was her favorite jam, so I caved. I bought it. I tasted it. I cringed. I gagged. I cried.
Ok, not gagged. No crying either. Slight exaggeration, but THAT store-bought jam imposter was terrible. Just terrible. The only jelly I will purchase now is grape jelly, because making grape jelly is a BEAST of a task.
Did you know that jam and jelly are two different things? Jam uses the whole fruit while jelly only uses the juice, so jelly requires juicing the fruit. Lots and lots of fruit. Consider that as your fun fact for the day!
Mom and I had a wonderful Friday making jam. You won’t believe how easy it is either. If I can make jam, you can make jam. Promise! 🙂
Here’s how it goes. We use the recipe from the Sure-Jell box. Yep. Homemade jam is not a secret. It comes in the box! This time, we are using Sure Jell Certo, a liquid fruit pectin. Usually we use a powder fruit pectin (made by Sure Jell), so we were both a little nervous using something new. Luckily, the liquid worked just as well as powder. We are very loyal to the brand Sure Jell because it produces beautiful jam every time.
Ingredients needed are four cups of crushed strawberries, 7 cups of sugar (don’t freak out like I always do), Sure Jell, 1 tbsp. of butter. You also need CLEAN canning jars, clean lids, stock pot or dutch oven, 2 qt sauce pan, funnel, and wet rag.
First, measure out your sugar. Since you are using 7 CUPS OF SUGAR, you don’t want to lose count when putting it into the berries, so go ahead and measure ahead of time. Put sugar in separate bowl. Next, clean, remove stems, and smash your berries.
Since we are making jam and not jelly, we still want chunks of fruit like the picture above.
Place your canning lids and water in small sauce pan and bring to boil. This keeps them CLEAN and hot, both are very important for the jars to seal.
Now that you have your ingredients, put the berries and sugar in large stock pot or dutch oven and bring up to medium-high height. We are going to bring these to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally while you wait for it to come to boil. While waiting, make sure your jars and funnel are located close by.
You can see above it is still not to a rolling boil. A rolling boil is a high enough boil that you can stir constantly and the substance still bubbles.
My mason jars are ready for jam!
Once you have a rolling boil, stir constantly for ONE minute. If you have lots of foam, add the butter. After one minute, add the Sure Jell. Bring it back to a rolling boil and stir constantly for one minute. After the one minute, turn off the heat. Remove access foam from the top of jam with a spoon. The foam won’t taste bad, it just won’t be as pretty in the jars (per my mother).
Using a ladle and funnel, ladle the jam into the jar. Fill jar . See picture below for fill line.
Now, wipe the top of the jar with wet cloth to remove any access or run-away jam. Next, retrieve the lid from the hot water using a fork or magnet-thingy and place on the jar. Twist on ring. WARNING: Jar will be hot! You may want to grab the jar with a towel or glove.
Cover the jars with a cloth to contain heat. After an hour, you should start hearing a faint popping noise. It’s the only way I know how to describe it! The popping is your jars sealing! Yay! Sealed jars = long, long shelf life.
Continue filling jars with jam mixture. Usually, one batch of jam makes 3 and 3/4 pints. Mom and I can never quite get 4 pints.
Wait for the jam to cool. You can remove the ring after 24 hours and enjoy your fresh strawberry jam!
I am going to give strawberry pie a try, too. Mom and I also baked some delicious Strawberry Lemonade muffins from Southern Living as well. Um, YUM! They received the hubby stamp of approval this morning.
Are you going to make strawberry jam this year? Did you beat mom and I to it already? Strawberry is my absolute favorite. What is your favorite jam or jelly?
Have a great rest of the weekend,