Sixteen pounds of strawberries is a lot. When I went strawberry picking, I really didn’t know how much I needed. Now I know. So far, my mom and I have made three batches of jam. In between each batch we washed the utensils and saucepan. Apparently this is important. I photographed the process, so with any luck, I’ll be able to do it myself one day.
First, it took me a few hours to wash and hull all of the berries.
Mom suggests using the recipe that comes with the Sure-Jel package. Sure-Jel is fruit pectin. There are a few different kinds. The pink box required less sugar than the yellow box. I liked the flavor of the less sugared jam, so I’d use that one the next time. We used a small food processor to chop up the strawberries this time – instead of a potato masher. This worked well. Note to self: Don’t over chop.
This recipe called for the strawberries and pectin to come to a boil. We also got the jars ready by boiling them in water, upside down.
After the fruit and pectin came to a boil, we added the sugar. Once it dissolves you need to have it at a rolling boil for a minute. Mom showed me how to watch for the way it drips off of your spoon to really tell if it’s ready. So we boiled it for about 30 more seconds…
After that, you take it off of the heat and skim off the foam. The foam is just put into a bowl and you can use it right away for jam.
Then you use a funnel type of device to ladle the jam into the jars. My mom melts wax in an old coffee can and then pours it on the top to seal it.
We also made freezer jam which has a different process to it. You don’t have to freeze it in glass jars. We actually ran out of jars today. I chopped up 8 more cups of strawberries to make two batches of strawberry-rhubarb jam later. I need to get some rhubarb still – and more jars and sugar.
I mainly wrote this post so I could have a reference as to what to do in the future. But the pictures are pretty cool and it’s fun to see the process. In the meantime… I have jam coming out of my ears!