How to Make Summer Strawberry Jam – Canning Recipe

by heather

Ok, making jam has been on my Dreams list for years. I’d made it once with a friend years ago, and the experience was a little, well, traumatic.

I haven’t done it since then because I’ve always been a bit intimidated by making jam, thinking it was beyond my skill level and I’d invest all this money into supplies (fruit, pectin, jars, canning pot, lifters, etc.) and fall flat on my face.

Well, I finally said “Boo Hoo” to that negative self-talk this year. And, I MADE JAM! WHOO-HOO!

How Easy Is It?

I was at the grocery store a few days ago, buying my canning supplies. The woman behind me looked at my cart, and said “Oooooh, are you canning?”

I nodded.

Then she said, “Well, GOOD LUCK. Canning is SO MUCH WORK. And you’ll have some kind of mess when you’re done.”

Just what a scared, first time canner wants to hear, right?

Let me tell you something. Canning is not hard. I did not have a kitchen that looked like a disaster zone. And my strawberry jam turned out amazing.

Am I a heretofore unrealized canning genius? Hardly. Here’s what I did to make sure I succeeded:

  • I read all the directions a gazillion times before I started, to make sure I fully understood each step.
  • I made sure I had every piece of equipment, and every ingredient, I would need. I laid it all out on the counter so I wouldn’t have to search for anything.
  • I pre-measured out all my ingredients so I wouldn’t have to do it once the process started. This step, especially with the sugar, is really important.

The Recipe

Home Canning supplies!

The recipe for Strawberry Jam that I used is on page 8 of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Here’s what you need:

  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 cups whole strawberries
  • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 pkg (1.75 oz. to 57 grams) regular powdered fruit pectin

To can, you also need:

  • One large stock pot
  • One rack, to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot
  • jar lifters
  • jam funnel
  • empty jars with band lids

Instructions (Abridged)

1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids. If you’ve never canned, you’ll want to buy the book or look up instructions online. You cannot skip these prep steps; doing so could result in food spoilage or serious health risks.

2. Premeasure sugar and berries.

3. In a glass pie plate or bowl, place a single layer of strawberries. Crush berries and transfer to heavy saucepan. If you use 8 cups of whole strawberries, you’ll end up with 5 cups of smashed strawberries.

4. Add lemon juice to crushed strawberries in pan. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and, stirring constantly, and return to full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and, using a large spoon, skim off foam.

5. Fill one jar at a time. Remove jar from canner and empty hot water back into canner. Place jar on towel-covered counter and put in your canning funnel. Ladle hot jam in, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Slide a non-metallic utensil around the jam to get out air bubbles. Add more jam to adjust headspace. Clean rim with damp cloth. Center the hot lid onto the jar, and tighten with band.

6. When all jars are filled, take the rack out of the canner and fill with jars. Lower rack back into canner and ensure jars are completely covered with at least 1 in. of water. Bring to a full rolling boil, and then set timer for 10 minutes. At the end of processing time turn heat off and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, remove jars and, without tilting, put them on a towel in a draft free spot. Let them sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

7. Check lids for seal. If you can push down on the lid and hear it pop, it hasn’t sealed. These jars must be refrigerated and used immediately.

A Pictorial Journey of Jam Making

So, that’s the abridged recipe. The actual one is fairly long because this recipe is for beginners, so it lays out every single step in complete detail. If you have never canned, you’ll want to buy the book because there are detailed instruction on preparing the canning equipment; you cannot skip these steps.

But, don’t think that just because the recipe is long it means it’s complicated. It’s NOT. I’m a complete novice at canning, and I did just fine. You can too!

Advance prep work was key. I cleaned the kitchen, started the water boiling and measured out all my ingredients. Here’s my pictorial journey…

Pre-Measure Your Ingredients to Save Time

Mash the Strawberries by Hand...

Mash the Strawberries By Hand

Boiling the Strawberries

Pouring in the Hot Jam

As you can see from the picture above, things did get a LITTLE messy. But it wasn’t bad because I had the right equipment.

 

My finished jam!

YUM!

Last Word…

I can tell you first hand that if you’re feeling nervous about canning, STOP.

I enjoyed every step of the process. I didn’t think it was a lot of work. And I ended up with literally the best strawberry jam I’ve ever tasted, thanks to the lovely farmers at my local farmer’s market.

What am I doing next?

Well, I’m sure as heck buying more strawberries. I opened my first jar of jam this morning, and it’s half empty now. I only have 7 jars left. And I’m trying to resist the urge to hoard them. So, lots more jam in the weeks to come.

I’m also going to start pickling: beans, watermelon rinds, okra, squash…the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving book I used has over 400 recipes for canning. And some of them (like Sundae in a Jar, on page 43) look absolutely divine. The Sundae in a Jar recipe calls for strawberries, raspberries, sugar, liquid pectin, and chocolate liquer. Yes, this divine concoction goes on Ice Cream. And I’m making it before strawberries go out of season.

So my point is this: don’t be afraid. I’m a complete novice with canning and I did this successfully. You can too. I have such pride in my 8 little jars of jam, and I can’t wait to move on to the next recipe!

{ 3 trackbacks }

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Caitlin June 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Heather, I’m so glad you wrote a post about this! I’ve always been interested in canning, but the stories of how “hard” it is made me hesitate. I’ll have to check out this book and give it a try!

heather June 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm

@Caitlin- I know, I was the same way! But I was really surprised at how easy it was. I think as long as you make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment you need, and you make sure you fully understand the directions, you’re fine. Really. I’m on fire for canning now, and I can’t wait to make another batch! Don’t let canning’s bad rep hold you back. It rocks. 🙂

Bobbie June 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm

There’s the hard/easy question, but there’s also the how-long-does-it-take question. How long did the whole process take you — would I need a whole day, 1/2 day, 2 days, 2 hours?

heather June 16, 2010 at 7:14 am

@Bobbie- It took me about 3 hours. That’s including the prep work (cleaning and de-hulling strawberries, washing all the jars before boiling, etc.). I did have my husband’s help washing up, which helped. But it didn’t take near as long as I thought it would. 🙂

Isabelle Vesey June 16, 2010 at 9:24 am

I was just about to ask the “time” question, too. Three hours isn’t too bad — I was really expecting it to have taken 7 or 8. I’ve been buying the most fabulous strawberries from the local farmer’s market, but on Saturday they said they’re pretty much done for the season 🙁

heather June 16, 2010 at 10:45 am

@Isabelle- Yes, this was quite quick. This weekend I’m doing a double batch (so I’ll end up with 16 jam jars). Hopefully it won’t quite double my time! 🙂

Renaissance Ronin June 17, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Um… aren’t you doing that the hard way?
There’s a much easier way to make strawberry jam;

Put two pieces of whole wheat bread on the table.
Put a strawberry in one hand.
Now, put a strawberry in the other hand.
Turn on MTV.
Smack hands together in time with “alleged” music. 🙂
Smear hands on bread.

Voila, instant Jam Sandwich!
Remember, lick fingers clean to avoid using a tree killing paper nappy… 🙂

Great post? Where’s mine? 🙂

And, BTW – you didn’t use enough sugar… Everybody knows that strawberry am requires a sugar to berry ratio of at least ten to one…

I know it’s true… a dentist told me that, and then gave me ten of his business cards…

I have no idea why he was cackling maniacly… must have remembered something funny… Dentists are weird that way… 🙂

Ronin

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