Strawberries…they just say “SUMMERTIME” to me! They are the “first fruits” of canning season (I can year round, but strawberry jam seems to me, to “begin” the real seasonal canning blitz!) and there is nothing like real, fresh strawberry jam! BONUS ? It is SO very simple to make and can up!
Homestead Strawberry Jam
8 cups of fresh strawberries, stemmed, cut and washed up
2 Packages of All Natural No Sugar Pectin
2 cups of real grape juice
1 cup of organic sugar
Just dump your stemmed, washed and sliced strawberries in a big enamel or stainless steel pot, turn your burner on medium to medium high, mash them up quickly with a potato masher!
Then, add in 2 packages of Sugar Free Pectin, 2 cups of grape juice, sugar and stir. Last year I was making a batch and found I was out of grape juice (the horror!) and so I just omitted it and dumped in a half cup of water. My family declared that batch to be their new favorite! So, just note this recipe, is very forgiving. Bring this to a rolling boil for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring all the while so it doesn’t stick. Turn off your burner and remove from heat.
This is where a good canner has her canning jars, lids and equipment all ready to go! Or you have wonderful children who gather it all together and prepare it for you! Canning is a ‘must have’ skill at our homestead, so I involve the children and we all work together! Ladle your hot jam mixture into your prepared jars, leave 1 inch head space, and wipe the rims of your jars down good with a clean damp cloth. Jar rims must be clean. If not, food on the rims can prohibit a proper seal. ALWAYS wipe down your jar rims. Now, put on your lid/ring (tighten just slightly—do not wrench down on them) and set all your jars in your canner rack. Lower your rack into the boiling water, making sure the jars are covered with water. Once your water gets to a rolling boil, start your timer. Check your Ball Blue Book for times related to the size of jar you are using and your elevation. I like to use pint jars or smaller, primarily, for jams. For me, at my elevation that means I am going to process my jam (“process” = keep jars in the full rolling boil water) for 20 minutes. Once time is up, I turn off my burner, and let the pot just sit for a few minutes prior to removing my jars.
Once I start removing my jars, I place them on the towel I have set out on my counter or tabletop (a place out of direct sun, drafts and that your jars will not be disturbed for 24 hours) and let them sit. If I don’t have more jam to process I clean up and get my canning equipment put away, so it’s easy to be ready for the next canning session. This recipe makes PERFECT Jam! You can omit the sugar if you want, it is DElicious jam, a tiny bit tart with no sugar–but we like it that way, too! If you want to add the one cup of organic sugar, it sweetens it just perfectly! There is no need for those overkill, “10 cups of white sugar” recipes, unless that is what you want to make. Not only is this version cheaper, it is SO much better for you and, we think, it tastes better, too! I did this entire batch (with my children pitching in, cutting and washing berries & getting together canning equipment) from start to finish in less than an hour.
In season, local produce (from your garden is the cheapest and freshest way to go!) is the time to stock the pantry! Plan ahead this year to line your pantry shelves with home canned food–it doesn’t get any better!