Strawberries are at their prime here in central Pennsylvania, so grab your bucket and head on out to your nearest strawberry patch to pick some delicious fruit. Then, come on back here to learn how to make a scrumptious strawberry jam to preserve for those cold winter mornings.
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Grab some berries!
There is a strawberry patch not far from my home that I go to every year. The owner takes pride in maintaining his crop and the results are huge, sweet berries. With a little effort on your part, you can save a lot of money by picking your own berries, and the taste is like none other.
In the grocery store you can find packages of strawberries for about $4 for 16-ounces around here. They are either unripe or overripe and lack any good flavor. My local farmers markets are selling fresh picked strawberries for around $5.75 a quart. More expensive, but absolutely delicious berries.
However, by exerting a little effort, I picked over 8 pounds of berries for $18; or $2.35 per pound. I controlled the merchandise that I selected, giving me a huge bowl of the most delicious berries, I could ever find.
My brain immediately started pondering what I wanted to do with all of this goodness. Strawberries freeze well and are great for throwing into smoothies or making a compote to spoon over fresh pancakes or oatmeal. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to show my face around my grandbabies if I didn’t make a couple of batches of strawberry jam for them!
Tools needed to preserve strawberry jam
- Half pint jars
- Canning lids and rings
- Water bath canner with rack
- Jar lifter
- Stainless stock pot
- Potato masher
- Clean towels
- 8 cups strawberries
- 1 packet powdered pectin (I use regular Sure Jell)
- 7 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- White vinegar to clean jar rims
Measure 7 cups of sugar into a bowl and set aside. You want to have this ready for the recipe ahead of time.
Prepare the waterbath canner by adding enough water to fully cover the jars by 1-2 inches. Place clean jars into the canner and heat water until ready to use. Wash lids and bands and set aside.
Get your berries ready
Wash your berries gently under cool water and drain. Remove green tops and place the berries in a stock pot. If you have chickens, they LOVE strawberry tops! Crush berries with a potato masher.
Add 1 packet of powdered pectin and butter. The butter can be omitted, but it helps prevent foaming. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, or a boil that does not stop when stirred. Add sugar all at once and stir continuously until mixture returns to a hard boil. Boil for one full minute then turn off the heat.
Skim the foam
Use a large metal spoon to remove any foam that occurs on top of the mixture. Don’t worry if you don’t get it all off. It’s all good!
Fill those jars!
Remove jars from canner and fill them immediately with the strawberry jam. Leave about 1-inch headspace between the jam and top of the jar. Wipe the rim of the jars using a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar to remove any residue. Place a lid on the jar and screw on the band to finger tightness. You don’t want to crank it on. Place jar into waterbath canner.
Processing preserved strawberry jam
After all jars are filled and placed into canner, bring canner to a boil. Once at the boiling point, set a timer for 15 minutes. When done, turn off the heat and remove lid of canner. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing jars.
Using a jar lifter, remove jars and place on a towel lined counter away from drafts. You will hear the distinctive “tink” of the jars sealing. That’s my favorite part! Allow the jars to completely cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
After fully cooled and set, remove bands from the jars. Check for proper seal by pressing down on the center of the lid. There should not be any “give” or movement of the lid. If there is, place that jar into the refrigerator for immediate use.
Storage of strawberry jam preserves
Strawberry jam lasts 12-24 months on the shelf when stored in a cool dry space. It is best to not stack jars on top of each other to ensure the seal is not broken.
Label your jars with the date and contents. I hope you enjoy preserving strawberry jam as much as I do. Let me know in the comments below how you enjoy your strawberry jam, and as always, thanks for stopping by!
Strawberry Jam Preserves
- 8 cups strawberries
- 1 packet powdered pectin
- 7 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- Fill waterbath canner with enough water to cover jars completely by 2 inches. Place on stove and heat the water.
- Remove tops of berries and crush with a potato masher in a large stainless stock pot.
- Add 1 packet of powdered pectin, 1 tbsp butter and combine.
- Heat mixture until it comes to a rolling boil. Stir continuously.
- Add sugar all at once and stir to combine.
- Continue to heat until mixture returns to a rolling boil.
- Boil for 1 minute then turn off the heat.
- Remove any foam on top of mixture with spoon and quickly ladle into jars.
- Wipe rim of jars with a clean rag dipped into white vinegar.
- Apply lid and ring to finger tightness only.
- Place jars into canner and process for 15 minutes after water comes to a boil.
- Remove lid of canner and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing jars.
- Place jars on a towel lined surface and allow to cool for 24 hours.
- Check jars for proper seal. Remove rings and label your jars.
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