Apr 18, 2009

Jam Making 101 (EASY Rich Strawberry Jam)

There are few flavors that scream "SUMMER" like the flavor of a fresh-picked, juicy, sweet Strawberry!
When the strawberries are ripe, we eat them until we are about ready to burst, then it's time to make Strawberry Jam.

Wouldn't you love to have the summertime fresh strawberry taste next winter?
This is the way to do it!
Once you taste your own homemade strawberry jam, you'll never want store-bought again!

I understand that canning seems intimidating if you've never done it before.
I promise... this will be easy!!

Once you try it, you'll wonder why on Earth you waited so long!

If you've never canned anything before, there are some supplies you'll need.
A beginners canning kit is a great start, but you don't have to one or anything fancy.
This wonderful Strawberry Jam only has 3 ingredients!Berries ready to become jam.

You will need-
  • canning jars with two-piece lids (lid and tightening ring)
  • A deep, large pot, (a deep stock pot works well) deep enough to submerge your filled jars in water and cover them by at least 2 inches of water.
  • a jar lifter or sturdy long kitchen tongs (to lift hot jars out of the waterbath.)
  • a med- large heavy pot for cooking your jam.
  • a small sauce pan to heat your flat lids.
  • Ladle
  • kitchen towels.
  • timer (to keep track of processing times)
This recipe looks really long...
Thats only because this is Jam Making 101...
I have explained (and probably OVER explained) just about anything I can think of!

Dana's Rich Strawberry Jam
(Makes 8-9 half-pint jelly jars)

  • 6-7 cups sugar (depending on the sweetness of your berries)
  • 5 cups prepared strawberries.
  • 1 box (1.75 oz) powdered pectin. (you can find this in just about any grocery store Ball, & Sure-Jell are two great brands)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 Tablespoons butter *optional*
  1. Wash your jars and lids, the dishwasher works fine for the jars and rings.. BUT to NOT wash your flat lids in the dishwasher... the rubber lined ring is heat activated. Just wash the flat lids well and set aside in a small sauce pan.
  2. Fill your large, deep pot with water, making sure it's deep enough to cover your jars, heat over high heat to a strong simmer/boil.
  3. Place the flat lids into a small sauce pan and cover with water, set on stove over med-low heat, this heat will activate the rubber ring, you want them hot but do NOT boil them!
  4. Prepare your strawberries, wash and remove stems. Use only great berries! cut out any soft spots. dice or mash berries. measuring exactly 5 cups of prepared fruit.
  5. Measure your sugar. If your berries are really sweet, measure 6 cups, if they are not as sweet, measure 7 cups in a bowl and set aside.
  6. IN a med-large pot, heat berries and the entire contents of your box of pectin over high heat until it comes to a hard boil , stirring to prevent sticking.
  7. Add your sugar and butter, and quickly return to a bard rolling boil (that does NOT stop when you stir)
  8. Boil for exactly ONE Minute, stirring constantly, remove from heat. (skim off any foam that has formed on the top if desired)
  9. Quickly ladle the hot jam into clean jars, fill to leave 1/2 inch head space (half-inch from the top of the jar)
  10. wipe the lip of the jar so it is clean of any drips or spills.
  11. place a hot flat lid on the jar, and screw on a jar lid ring, fingertip tight. Continue filling your jars, working quickly so the jam cools as little as possible.
  12. Using your jar lifter or tongs place your filled jars into the large pot of simmering water. being careful NOT to let them fall over.
  13. Make sure the water is covering your jars by at least 1 inch!
  14. Return to a simmer and process for 10 minutes.
  15. Remove the jars from the water bath and set in a draft-free area to cool.
  16. as the jars cool you'll hear them "POP" this is the lids sealing! (great sound!!)
  17. when the jam is completely cool, press in the center of each lid. It should NOT move! If it moves or doesn't feel solid, your jar didn't seal and this jam should be kept in the refrigerator and eaten first.
  18. Your sealed jams will last well over a year in your pantry!
  19. The jam will thicken over the first 24-48 hours, so don't worry if it is a little soft the first day.
  20. ENJOY!!!
***Jam Making Tips***
  • The butter in this recipe helps limit the foaming in homemade jam. It's optional.
  • Use great quality fruits at their peak of freshness!
  • if your jars are hopping around too much or tipping over in your waterbath, try placing a hand-towel in the bottom of the pot to cushion them,
  • One of the secrets to getting jam to set is the speed. Once you add your sugar you want to bring it back to a full boil ,for your one minute boil, as fast as possible... work with high heat and never walk away!
  • You can re-use jars and rings over and over, but always buy new flat lids.
  • Lots of people skip the water bath. They use the inversion method.
  • ((**the USDA recommends NOT using the inversion method, it can lead to inferior and misleading seals**))
Inversion Method
  • after filling your jars with the hot jam, and putting the lids/rings on, turn the jar upside down. The heat from the jam should seal the lids.
  • After 5minutes, flip the jars back over sitting upright.
  • When cool, check for seals. Any that didn't seal must be processed with a new lid in a water bath OR the jam must be refrigerated.
Jam making is NOT hard!
Go Forth and Make Jam baby!!

Have questions?
Feel free to ask!!
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  1. Thank you, Thank you, thank you.

    My first attempr to make this was lets just say not good.

    I will try this.!


  2. According to the USDA and several Universities, the inversion method is not a safe canning method.


  3. Lola...
    I agree. thats why it isn't the method I use. I'll post a better disclaimer.

  4. Could you use splenda in this recipe?

  5. I love your Jadeite dishes. I started collecting them when I was first married, but then they seemed to get popular and the price went up when Martha Stewart got people interested in them! I've hardly bought any for years and am afraid to use what I have with three little ones around the place!

  6. Jordan,

    You can use Splenda to make freezer jam, but the sugar is needed to make it shelf stable and safe for canning.
    There is a special low sugar pectin that can be used, but I would use the recipe that comes in the pectin package.

  7. Yum! Is it okay if I just sponge off you and take some of YOUR supply?

    And, just because I'm your little sister, I have to tell you that your photo of the berries ready to be made jam looks like raw ground beef. :o)

    - your spoiled rottenh, "city girl", little sister

  8. Thanks Dana, I will give the freezer jam a shot.

  9. Looks good, but looks more like a compote or preserve than jam. Jam is smooth.

  10. I disagree.
    Jelly, fruit butters, and curds are smooth.
    Jam has bits of fruit. :)

  11. I think this is a great idea. I plan on trying this over the next couple of weekends. Thank you so much for the directions. If I attempted this on my own, I would probably turn up with something like canned playdough :)

  12. Hi there!
    I've been enjoying your blog for a while now and just tried this jam tonight! Would you mind answering a couple questions for me?
    1) When the fruit and pectin was nearing a boil, it got very light and foamy -- more than doubling in size -- and almost spilled over the pot. Any ideas why?
    2) Now that it's in jars and processed, all the fruit seems to have risen to the top -- and I seem to have a half-jar of jam, and a half-jar of jelly. Any clues as to what I did wrong?
    Thanks a ton!

  13. Hi Brent!

    You didn't do anything wrong.
    adding the little bit (1/2 tsp) butter to the mix helps w/ the foam.
    fruit often settles while the jam is curing...
    I turn my jars over 2 times a day for the first week (once it cool) , that helps redistribute it. :)

  14. Great! Thanks for your help (and again, for your inspiration).

  15. I do use the inversion method for jam only. Everything else I process, from 15 minutes to half of an hour. I only can high acid foods- tomatoes and apples, or pickled stuff.

  16. my jam did not set what did I do wrong? can I put it back in a pot after two days in frige and add more pectin or should I let it boil to condence?


  17. I made this strawberry jam and it was the the best ever!! Thank you Dana for making it all easy :)

  18. Is it okay if I do the process ( JArs filled willed jam in boiling water) in batches? since my pot is not big enough to accommodate the 9 jars?

  19. As I write this review, I'm in the water bath step. I tasted it when I was washing up. Oh, wow! This is some good stuff!! To make sure it was going to gel, I dipped a spoon in ice water then dipped it into the jam. It did gel within 30 seconds so I proceeded to ladel into jars. This jam is wonderful. In the passed couple weeks, I've made peach jam, watermelon jam, blueberry jelly and now strawberry jam. This one may just be my favorite. Thank you for sharing!!!

  20. Can you double the recipe?


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