Sunday, April 26, 2015

Strawberry Jam

Yesterday afternoon, I bought 10 lbs. of strawberries for $.99/lb.  Later in the evening, I made strawberry jam with 5 lbs. of the strawberries.

First, I washed all the strawberries:


Washed Strawberries

 Then, I hulled them and cut them into small pieces:
 
Hulled and Cut Strawberries
I generally add 3/4 lb. sugar to every 1 lb. fruit.  So, for my 5 lbs. of strawberries, I added 4 lbs. of sugar.  Then, I added the juice of 2 lemons (I didn't measure how much juice that came to; maybe 3/4 cup?)  I didn't add powdered or liquid pectin; the lemon juice provides the necessary pectin.  Gave everything a stir:


Strawberries, Sugar, and Lemon Juice
Then, I boiled everything while stirring it constantly until it became jam!   I go by consistency and test for done-ness by dropping a bit of the jam onto a saucer and checking to see if it holds its shape when the saucer is tilted or if it runs.  If it runs, it's not ready yet and needs to be boiled a little longer.  This particular batch of jam needed to cook for about an hour before it was ready. 


Jam in the Making


I washed and sterilized my jars while the jam was cooking; once the jam was ready, I ladled it into the jars, put the lid and ring.  Then, I used the inversion method to seal them, by turning the jars upside down for 5-10 minutes.  After which, the jars are turned right side up again and left to cool.  The lids make a "ping" when they seal.

In the past, I have sealed my jams by pouring melted wax over the jam, but now I do that only when I use regular recycled jars (not new canning jars).  I have also done water bath canning (I don't have a canner, but use a regular pot), but again, I only do that when I am using recycled jars.  I've been making jam for many years, now, and so far, I have not had any problems with the jam getting spoiled.  Once opened, of course, the jam is best stored in the fridge.

Yesterday, I made 14 half-pint jars of jam with the 5 lbs. of strawberries: 


Strawberry Jam
I need to make labels for the jars.  Strawberry jam is one of my favorite kinds of jam.  Some of it will be for my own use; others will be given as gifts.  In fact, I already gave one to a friend, today. 

The 5 lbs. of strawberries came to $4.95; the 4 lbs. of sugar was $1.99; the lemons were free from the garden.  I bought the canning jars on sale, last year for something like $7.95 (plus 9% sales tax) for a box of 12 half pint jars.  I don't remember the exact price I paid for them, but I remember getting all excited about the price because normally, canning jars sell for $9.99 for a box of 12 plain half-pint jars at the stores, here (quilted jars cost more).   I don't know how to account for the gas I used to cook the jam (my stove is natural gas).  But, all told, I am going to say each jar of jam cost about $1.25 to make.   Which makes it a fairly frugal gift.  I give away my jars of jam as hostess gifts (as I did today), as thank you gifts, Christmas gifts, etc.  I will need to buy more canning jars for the rest of the strawberries, and if I pay regular price for them, then, the cost per jar will be a bit more.  But, still, a fairly frugal gift and, it seems, everyone welcomes them.

Have you made strawberry jam?   

8 comments:

  1. Yummy...
    thanks for sharing how you made them, I usually use pectin [but it has gotten so expensive]..so I am going to try your way.. I too, love the strawberry jam. I am waiting for a good sale..havent had one yet??
    Have a great day. judy

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    1. Judy, hope you find a good sale on strawberries, soon. There are a couple of ways to get around buying commercially made pectin - you can some fruit that are not as ripe (usually possible only if picking your own fruit), add other fruits that are high in pectin (like apples, or the lemon juice in my strawberry jam), or make your own pectin using high pectin fruit such as apples or citrus. I think mixing high pectin/low pectin fruits is the easiest way.

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  2. Looks yummy! I have never made jam though.

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    1. Maybe one day, you might try making some, Jess.

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  3. Wow- is it really that easy to make jam? I have always wanted to try to make it but for some reason I thought there was a lot more to the process. Your jam looks delicious- and also the bread you made- YUMMM! Thank you for sharing this recipe, Bless! I am going to get some strawberries this weekend and try my hand at making it. :)

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    1. Dawn, yes, it really is that easy, except you have to keep stirring it while it boils; if not, it can boil over and make quite a mess (ask me how I know! :D ), plus it can get burnt. I've made jam using the recipes that come with packets of commercial pectin, too (usually shorter cooking times). Good luck with your jam making! Just remember, if it doesn't get as set as you'd like, you can call it strawberry sauce (for pouring over ice cream, etc.) :D

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  4. Pectin in jam has a great effect on its thickness. There are numerous health benefits to it as well.

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