First, I washed all the strawberries:
|Hulled and Cut Strawberries|
|Strawberries, Sugar, and Lemon Juice|
|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:
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?