What 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.
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.
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.
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.