Img 6581What I remember of making jam with my mom as a kid is more of the experience than the actual details. Caught up in this season of U-pick strawberries, I wanted to recreate this fond memory with my kids and maybe get them to try the actual fruit since they eat plenty of store-bought jam.

After picking a bounty of fresh strawberries at Four Town Farm in Seekonk, MA, I was ready to start this tradition with my children. As the parent now, I quickly realized that the details involved in making jam are pretty important. Having made the jam (see recipe below), there are a few things I wish I’d had that would have made the project a little easier.

– I wish I had worn an apron and covered the table first. The strawberry stains came off my shirt with spot remover; my kitchen table is another story.
– I wish I’d had a strawberry huller. Although one of my sons eagerly pulled off the strawberry stems, the patience of my five-year-old did not match the time required to hull the whole pile of berries.
– I wish I’d had a potato masher. I think it would have been easier to use in crushing the berries than the spoon, whisk and colander I used.
– I wish I’d had a canning holder. Instead I used tongs and potholders to sterilize the canning jars in the boiling water. I did not impress my kids or my husband with this dangerous makeshift option – too easy to get burned.strawberry jam

In the end, the jam turned out quite yummy, and my husband and one of my sons loved it. My other son, a bit stubborn about trying new things, says he will only eat Polaner’s.

Strawberry Jam:

recipe adapted from the Ball Fruit Jell package
(Other tips available at the home-canning website.)

@ 6-lbs of Strawberries (we picked a handle-basket full of berries for $15 @ $1.75/lb and had some left over)
5 12-oz quilted crystal jelly jars
Ball 100% Natural Fruit Jell No Sugar Needed Pectin
1 cup water (or use 1 cup fruit juice)
1 cup sugar (this was optional, the recipe suggests 0-3 cups)

Wash jars first and keep in heated saucepot at simmer until ready.
Remove strawberry caps.Img 6687-1
Crush berries until you have two quarts
Boil the strawberries with the water.
Slowly mix in pectin.
Optional: mix in sugar and boil rapidly for 1 minute.
Ladle jam into jars, adjust two-piece cap so it fits tight.
Process jars in boiling water. Cover and boil for 10 minutes.
Let stand for 12-24 hours to cool on towel.
Recheck seal. If not sealed well, refrigerate immediately or reprocess with a new lid.