A couple weeks ago, I shared that I was looking forward to making some strawberry jam using this recipe, and I’m happy to report that I made strawberry jam! It's hard to beat homemade jam on a warm biscuit!
I’ve made strawberry freezer jam in the past, which turned out well. Using this recipe, it is fairly simple and doesn’t require pectin. When I made it, I used lemon juice for half the batch and lime juice for the other half. Both worked well, and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an easier jam recipe.
I decided to go with a more traditional canning method for this batch for a couple of reasons. First, my current freezer/refrigerator is smaller and doesn’t utilize the space as well as many newer ones, so I just don’t have much space in my freezer. I’ll also start making and freezing pesto soon, and I need plenty of space for that (plus, I have to have room for the essentials, read: ice cream). Also, it is nice to give the occasional jar of homemade jam to friends or neighbors, and it’s more of a hassle to give away a jar if it needs to stay cold.
I have my grandmother’s old canner, but it is at my parents’ house until we have more space in our kitchen to store it. I think it would have been much easier with the canner, but I used pots of boiling water, and it worked fine.
I used the Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Jam recipe as a starting point, but made a couple of changes. For example, her recipe calls for 7 cups of sugar, and I only used 5, which still seems like a lot. The berries I used were naturally really sweet, but if they weren’t, I would have considered using a bit more sugar. Here’s the recipe I followed.
5.5 cups hulled and mashed strawberries
½ cup fresh lemon juice
7 T pectin
5 cups sugar
Yield: 8 mason jars (8 oz.)
Place the mason jars in a large hot water bath canner (or pot). Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer the center lids in separate saucepan full of water.
Place the mashed strawberries and lemon juice in a separate pot. Stir in the pectin until dissolved. Bring the strawberries to a strong boil.
Add the sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), and then return the mixture to a full boil that can't be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds. Skim foam off the top.
Remove one jar at a time from the simmering water. Pour water back into the pot. Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful to keep the liquid/fruit ratio consistent. Fill the jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness.
Remove the center lid from the simmering water and position it on top.
Put screw bands on jars, but do not over tighten! Repeat with all the jars, and then place the jars on a canning rack and lower into the water. Place the lid on the canner, and then bring the water to a full boil. Boil hard for 10 to 12 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the jars to remain in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the jars from the water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the screw bands and check the seal of the jars. The center lids should have no give whatsoever. If any seals are compromised, store those jars in the fridge. Otherwise, fill your pantry with your newly canned goodness.
I initially thought not using a canner would make this process really difficult, but it was only slightly more tedious and only added about 15 minutes onto my cooking and prep time. When the recipe calls for using a jar lifter, I used kitchen tongs, and they worked fine. I also used the Pioneer Woman's cooking notes to make sure I sterilized my jars correctly.
After this, I'm feeling inspired to make some more homemade jam this summer. I'd love to hear any and all recipe recommendations or canning tips!