Last summer I bought some strawberries at the store. For some reason we didn't eat them, but I didn't want them to be wasted. My interest in canning had just begun, so I got brave enough to try my hand at jam. I could not believe how easy it was to make my whole two jars of jam. lol! Well, even if it was only two jars, I was hooked. The canning bug was in my system, and I knew there would be more to come.
When we picked strawberries Saturday I knew I would be making lots of jam. I was going to see to it! Have you ever had homemade strawberry jam? Seriously, is there anything that tastes any better????? Well, I took some berries to my sister and asked if she and my mother would come down for a jam session. :) My mom wasn't really into the whole jam making thing, but she did prepare some of the berries.
First, my sister crushed berries and added the right amount of pectin as I got the sugar and jars ready.
Don't faint! It took 20 cups of sugar! Yikes! (Update: I will NEVER use that much sugar again!) Next, the crushed strawberries with the added pectin were placed on the stove and cooked to a boil. The jars were in another large pot to boil for sterilization. The lids were in a third small pot of warm water.
Once the berries and pectin come to a boil, the sugar is added all at one time, unless you are me, that is. Normal people make sure the pot being used is big enough to hold all the berries and sugar, but how boring is that!? I like to try to add too much sugar into too little of a pot, spill sugar all over a hot stove, make a mad scramble for a chair to reach an upper cabinet to get a large pot, and pour the contents of the small pot into the big pot, add the remaining sugar, and smell burnt sugar while trying to quickly wipe up the stove! My sister had slight panic in her voice in the middle of all that while telling me that she couldn't stir with the spoon she had. She was on her own with that one, poor thing. I think I heard her ask where another spoon was, but I don't know if I actually uttered words to answer her. I do know she ended up with the wooden spoon, so it worked out. :) Sorry Sis! Hopefully, you aren't like me, and you do things in a sane manner. If not, however, once your berries and sugar are happily cooking in a nice, big, comfy pot, you can breathe and calm down for a while as you stir the mixture constantly. Make sure your jars are ready or nearly ready at this point. My sister and I kept stirring the berries until they came to a boil that didn't stop when stirred. At that point, the berries were boiled one minute, and removed from heat. The sterilized jars were removed from water and filled the with the jam. The jars were then given a lid and ring. My sister was a wonderful help taking jars from the water, helping get the lids on the jars, and moving filled jars so I could fill the other jars more easily. Once all the jars were filled and lidded, they were placed into a water bath for ten minutes. Not everyone agrees with this step. Some do it and some don't. My thought was that it doesn't hurt, so why not? :) While you wait on the jars in the bath, I dare you to try not to stick your finger in the jam pot to sample the jam you cooked! When the ten minutes were over, the jars were removed from the pot to cool and listen to the tops pop as they sealed. I LOVE that sound!
Ideally, the foam would be skimmed from the top of the cooked berries before being poured into jars, but well, um, my methods aren't always ideal are they? heehee! ;) Considering our faulty methods, I am still happy with how pretty the jam turned out! I am telling you, if we can make pretty, delicious jam with all the mistakes we made, anyone can do it! It is not a hard process at all! I can't wait to see what else I find myself canning this canning season!
So, tell me. What is your favorite thing to can? Don't can? Do you have a favorite home-canned item you like to eat? I hope to hear from you!
Until we meet again, may you be blessed!