Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tutorial: Making HOMEMADE strawberry jam

I have a friend allergic to strawberries.

Yep...you read me write...
What the heck???
that was "heck" I said.
Am an old stick-in-the-mud.
(said quite proudly)
I retired the potty mouth when mySamuelson was born.
These days, "hate" is a bad word in our household.
Not that I'm a "bleeding heart".
FAR from it.
(Verification here and here.)
Hearing such a strong, negative word on the lips of a child is akin to seeing a picture of said child holding a machine gun.
So sadly, that is the state of many parts of our world today. :(

I wish I could share memories of making jam with my mother, grandmother, an aunt...someone...anyone.
Alas, that is not the case.
I am blessed, however, with heart-warming memories of learning to grow and tend a vegetable garden at the hands of my Memaw.
I can distinctly remember kneeling beside her with a plant in our hands...

As Sugar and I discovered a few years back when we started making jam, the process is simple and yields a better tasting jam then any manufactured you buy off the shelves.
All of those additives they use: preservatives...artificial flavors...etc., etc. might serve a number of purposes, including longevity of the jam and of course, decreasing overhead.
There is a costly exchange, however.
It rapes the jam of its natural flavors and health benefits.

We happen to be in a part of the country with conditions (rich soil and warm spring temperatures) that make it relatively easy to grow strawberries.
For some reason, though, my green thumb just refuses to cooperate in nurturing this fruit.
Strawberries and roses.
What on earth is it about these two plants that makes it impossible for me to grow???   
And I'm not talking practically impossible.
I'm talking outright impossible!

Fortunately, we have a few farms within a 30 minute drive that grows strawberries.

Each year we make a trip out to one of the fields.

We've grown especially fond of "Stewarts Farm".
Good pickin' and warm, friendly farm staff faces.

It's time well-spent.
Any time spent together as a family in pursuing honorable, basic & simple pleasures is time "well-spent".
And "God-blessed" with HIS stamp of approval.

***I know...Giddy-up, Cleo!
On to the tutorial!!!***

Ingredients & Items Needed

5 cups mashed strawberries
7 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 box of Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
5 pint-size Mason jars
5 Mason jar lids
5 Mason jar bands

*WalMart, Big Lots, Target...just about any store sells canning equipment: especially at the height of the season. (NOW!)
*Sure Jell can be found at any grocery store.


Wash strawberries.
 Allow me to offer a little clarification here.
We don't actually wash each strawberry.
With the large quantity we're working with, we would be there an hour!
 We put them, all at once, in a sink full of water and allow them to soak for about 15 minutes.
What this method misses in removing dirt, bacteria, etc., boiling them at an extremely high temperature manages to get.
That "15 minutes" also gives you time to start working on the rest of the prep.
Sterilize your Mason jars.
(I always sterilize one extra jar: just in case.)
We put ours through a wash cycle, by themselves, in the dishwasher.  The temperature gets high enough to accomplish the task, and it avoids the more involved process of a water bath on the stove.
God Bless the man/woman who invented the dishwasher!

Sterilize the lids and bands stovetop.
Do not put them in the washer with the jars, for they need to be moist and hot in order to create a good seal.
A condition (i.e. moist & hot) boiling them on the stovetop creates and is easy to maintain until you're ready to use them.

Cut the tops/stems off the strawberries.

Using a knife you can slice them off.
Or Pampered Chef has a gadget...
that I love, for it cuts back on waste.
When you slice the stem off of a strawberry, inevitably, a good bit of the fruit goes with it.
We don't like "waste" round here.
I don't remember the name of this tool, but know it's a "corer".
 Have had mine for 5 years now.
I went to Pampered Chef's website and found an upgraded model with two different "corers": one at each end!
Cost - $10.50
Obviously some inventor's been hard at work in the lab. ;)

Mash the strawberries, a handful at a time.
 Or you can throw them all in a food processor.  
I prefer the "mashing" method, for it seems every time I use the processor I end up pureeing them.
"Pureeing" is good if you're making jelly, but this is a jam recipe!
Jam should have bits-and-pieces of the delectable fruit!


Pour the exact amount (5 cups) of the prepared fruit in a 6- or 8- quart saucepot.

Stir one box Sure Jell Fruit Pectin into prepared fruit in saucepot.
Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming.

Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring frequently.
While waiting for the fruit mixture to boil, pull your mason jars out of the dishwasher and set them up on a flat, heat/burn-proof surface.

Measure exact amount (7 cups) of sugar into a separate bowl.
***IMPORTANT NOTE: Reducing sugar or using sugar substitutes will result in "set" failures.***

Once the prepared fruit mixture reaches a full rolling boil, stir in sugar- quickly.
Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.


Ladle quickly into jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.

Screw the lids on, over the bands, tightly.
Let stand at room temperature 24 hours.

Store unopened jam in cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year.
We put them in that small cupboard above the refrigerator: you know, that one that stores stuff you hardly use because it's so blasted hard to get to!
Refrigerate opened jam up to a month.



  1. ok. I am SO trying this. I don't know WHEN but I'm book marking and doing. I think it would be so freakin cool, to be like, "yup I made this. Yeah yeah I know I gots skillz" Thank you!! And the pictures are absolutely adorable!

    Does the ripeness of the strawberries matter?

  2. Oh! Yeah! The secret recipe!!!

    I have to come back to catch up on the rest...been away and had a busy week.

    Right now.......I am off to Stewarts Farm!

  3. Just went strawberry picking last Friday, unfortunately, don't have enough strawberries left to make jam, but maybe a return trip to the farm is needed. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. You wont believe this BUT! I am trying very hard to get the award you gave me weeks ago on for tomorrow...Yes! It's true!....We will see how it goes.

    I just wanted to say LOVE! the big pictures!

  5. Visiting from Follow Me Back Tuesday...I'm now following! Love for you to come visit and follow me!

    Have a great night,
    Shelley @ Shelley's Swag


  6. Stopping by from SITS.

    Mmmm... strawberry jam!

    We made red hot apple butter last fall. It took us FOREVER to get it all made. (we had 2 BUSHELS of baskets!) The house smelled great forever!

  7. I have never made strawberry jam before and (don't shoot me) we live in the strawberry capitol of the world!!! :) I'm determined to make it now and I think a trip to the fields is in order now.

    Hey...rib away my friend!! :) Can't believe those teeth on my girl either and yes Big J was a mess when it came to teething, so this little cricket is making it SO much easier on me! YEA!! I'd love to see a pic of your Samuelson with them chompers at birth.

  8. I know...how about if you just send some to me! I love strawberry jam!! We actually just planted strawberries! I'm excited!

  9. Just made the jam. Hoping it is delcious. Waiting is so hard!


PLEASE remember:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
Take a moment and share some "life". :)