This stuff is so good. And it’s so easy to make. Definitely worth an hour of your time.
So I’ll be honest – this is the first time I’ve EVER made jam. I’ve been guilty of stealing jams and jellies from my mom since I moved out of the house. My mom, Martha (or Momma Marty as we affectionately like to call her), has been making jams and jellies ever since I can remember. All kinds too – strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and so on. We’re spoiled. When I see those squeeze bottles of jelly I just giggle. Poor kids who don’t have an awesome mom to make fresh jam/jelly for them ALL YEAR! (Fact – Momma Marty freezes fruit and uses it to make fresh jam/jelly throughout the winter!)
But the time has finally come for me to learn for myself. So I asked my mom to help me last week and guide me through my first batch.
The first step is to get your jars sanitized. Marty usually runs them through the dishwasher right before she makes a batch. But you can also get them ready in a simmering water bath which will take less time.
At this point you’ll also want to get your water going for the last step – a water bath to seal the jars using a canning rack. But guess what? Marty and I skipped this last step. Apparently the jars will seal pretty well so long as you do it immediately after cooking and if your jars are warm to begin with. It worked for us.
Jam is a thick mixture of fruit, pectin, and sugar that is boiled gently but quickly until the fruit is soft and has an organic shape, yet is still thick enough that it spreads easily. You can read all about jelly, jam, marmalade, spread and more here!
Once you’ve stemmed the berries, use a pastry cutter or potato masher to crush the berries. I like to leave some sizable pieces of fruit to give the jam a little more texture.
Then you’ll add the sugar (7 CUPS!!!) and start cooking on high heat. Yeah, I freaked out a little bit when my mom told me to add 7 cups of sugar. She just laughed.
You’ll also add about 1/2 tablespoon of butter. This just helps cut back on the foaming as it cooks. In the picture above you can see we have a low boil starting (small bubbles). Continue cooking until you get to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
You’ll know you have a rolling boil when the bubbles begin to change. A rolling boil will produce big bubbles like in the picture above. Also, a rolling boil can’t be stopped by stirring. Once you have the rolling boil, add the liquid pectin and stir to combine well.
You will only cook the mixture for another minute after adding the pectin. Remove from heat and quickly fill your jars.
When filling the jars leave about 1/4 inch of head space. Using a wet paper towel, wipe the rims and threads of the jars and place your warm lids on top. Screw the bands on tightly. If you are worried about getting a good seal, place the closed jars into a water bath where the water covers the jars by 1-2 inches. Keep a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Then remove the jars and cool. Like I said earlier, we skipped the last water bath and our jars all sealed. But that’s your call. Once the jars have cooled, test your seal by pressing on the lid. If lid springs back, it is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
Part of the reason we don’t worry about the seal as much as we maybe should is because the jam doesn’t last long. Meaning it gets eaten pretty quickly. Since I made the jam last week Greg has used it every single day. Since we’ve met I think I’ve only seen him use jam/jelly maybe 4 times. It’s really good.
Thanks Mom :)
- Serves 8 cups
- Total Time 1 hour
2 quarts strawberries
7 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 pouch CERTO liquid fruit pectin
8 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
DirectionsBring boiling-water canner, half-full with water to a simmer. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready to use. Do not boil.
Stem and halve strawberries. Using a pastry cutter or potato masher, crush strawberries to desired consistency. Measure 4 cups of crushed strawberries into 8-quart saucepan. Add sugar and stir. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred). Stir in pectin and return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Immediately fill prepared jars, filling to within ¼ inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. Place jars on elevated rack in canner and lower rack into canner. (Water should cover jars by 1-2 inches.) Cover and bring to gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to cool completely. After cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid. If the lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.