Okay I think I have a legitimate new obsession now. I am so into canning. I wander around my pantry and constantly in my fridge looking for things to can. I wander around imagining taste combinations, flavors and textures. I think I may need to find my nearest CA group (Canaholics Anonymous). That's right, I totally just made up a new word, that's how I roll yo....lol
So today I made strawberry and apricot jam. However this post is just for the strawberry jam. I scoured the internet looking at every recipe and was so confused! I could not find one consistent recipe that was used more than once. Everyone had a different quantity of berries and sugar. Some used lemon juice, some used pectin and others used both. Grrrrr. So after being frustrated, I decided to follow the directions on the Ball Real Fruit Pectin label and be done with it.
For the Blueberry Jam recipe I used a box of Sure-Jell. This time I bought the Ball because it makes 22 half pints. I knew I would be making several different recipes so buying the pectin in bulk made sense.
Strawberry Jam Recipe
This recipe (for me) made 7 - 8oz Ball Jelly Jars
4 cups cleaned and smashed strawberries
4 1/2 Tablespoons Ball Real Fruit Pectin
5 cups Sugar
1/4 tsp of butter
7 - 8 oz jars
The steps are basically the same as for the Blueberry Jam...
Step 1: Wash your jars, lids and screw bands in hot soapy water and rinse. I left my lids and screw bands in a bowl of hot clean water until I needed them.
Step 2: Using a tall stock pot add jars and fill with enough water to cover 1-2 inches about top of jars. Set stove to simmer and cover.
Step 3: In a large bowl measure your 5 cups of sugar and set aside. Wash your berries. Use a spoon to "hull" the stem from the berry. Add a single layer of berries to a large bowl and smash with a potato masher. Measure out your mashed berries and add a nonreactive pot (i.e. aluminum). Once you have 4 cups of mashed berries and juice in the pot add 4 1/2 Tablespoons of the pectin and 1/4 tsp of butter.
Step 4: Start stirring and bring your mixture to a full rolling boil. "Full rolling boil" means that even though you are stirring, it does not stop boiling). Once you hit your full rolling boil quickly add your sugar to the pot and keep stirring. Bring your mixture back up to a full boil and boil for 1 full minute. Once again keep stirring as the sugar will burn if you let up with this high heat. Also be careful, at a rolling boil the mixture will splatter so take a step back.
Note: I did not use butter for the blueberry jam recipe. Butter somehow helps keep the foaming down. With the blueberry jam I didn't really have much foam...nothing I needed to scrap off anyways, but for this recipe I thought I would try it. Couldn't hurt right? I have to say I like using the butter, I had no signs of foam at all, very cool.
Step 5: After your 1 minute is up, remove the pot from the heat. Remove your jars from the simmering water and set them on a paper towels for easy cleanup. Quickly ladle the jam into the jars to within 1/4 to 1/8 inch from the top, any less and you will not get a proper seal. Run a clean knife around the inside of the jar between the jam and glass to help remove any air pockets.Wipe the rims and threads of the jars clean, then place the lids and tighten the screw bands. Be careful, jars are HOT!
Step 6: Carefully add jars back to the simmering water making sure they are standing up right. If your water is not 1-2 inches above your jar lids, add extra boiling water. Once all jars have been added cover and bring pot to a gentle boil. Once the boil is reached set your timer for 10 minutes.
If your at a high altitude you will need to add some boiling time beyond the 10 minutes. There is a guide with the packet of pectin that explains this, so be sure to read it.
Once your 10 minutes are up, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the pot for an additional 5 minutes. When 5 minutes are up carefully remove the jars from the pot. Place your jars on the counter on a towel or I used my wooden cutting board, and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours so they can set.
After 24 hours check the lids to see if your jars sealed. Press down in the center of the lids. If it springs back and makes that popping sound, they are not sealed. However, no spring back....your golden!
If you have jars that do not seal, it's okay. Those jars need to be refrigerated and will last for 3 weeks. Properly sealed jars will last on the pantry shelf for 1 full year.