Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Canning Strawberry Jam

According to our local paper, canning is making a comeback! Ball is the largest supplier of canning products in the US and they report a 30% increase in sales over the last year. Current sales for 2009 are continuing to rise.

This is my second year of canning and it's a lot of fun. I really enjoy saving all of the organic summer fruits and vegetables. It's a great feeling to see all of the finished jars lined up on my shelves. And the best part is that it's so easy! So far I've canned plums, plum jam, tomato sauce, salsa, pickled zucchini, and pickled cucumbers. The only real concern is to always follow safe and current canning procedures. There are 2 main methods: (1) boiling water canner (big pot with a lid and rack on the bottom), and (2) pressure canner. The simpler boiling water canner is used for food that have a lot of acid (e.g. fruit), while the pressure canner is used for foods with less acid (e.g. salsa).

High Ground Organics is a great local farm that hosted a strawberry U-pick last weekend. The tasty berries were only $1.50 per lb - a great bargain for making jam! So I bought 25 lbs.

Strawberry Jam Recipe
4-6 half-pint jars (8 oz.), lids, and rings
4 lbs stawberries, wash, hulled, and crushed
1 cup apple juice
sugar (optional, sometimes I use none, sometimes 1 cup)
1 packet Ball® No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin

The fruit pectin is a natural substance found in apples, from what I understand. When you buy the Ball® No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin, there is a handy insert with complete instructions for making strawberry jam, as well as other fruit jams and jellies. These are the instructions that I follow. In addition, there are other Ball recipes and tutorials on their website.

I always get my jars, lids, and rings at Wal-Mart because they are so much cheaper there. This recipe only requires a boiling water canner, which is basically a big deep pot and a lid. Place a rack in the bottom of the pot, so that the jars won't be directly sitting on the bottom. If you don't have a rack, make a layer of extra rings (screw cap thingies). This will prevent the jars from breaking. The pot needs to be deep enough so that the jars will be covered by at least 1 inch of water when sitting on the rack. No fear! You can make jam!


Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Thats what we ought to do... whats left need to be preserved and used later.... our garden produce is little and all used up. I am thinking of preserving roselle, because it looks like the produce is more than needed.

~ bangchik

Michelle said...

Wow, that's a lot of berries! Did you use it all to make jam or did you preserve them in other ways as well?

Got the bean seeds yesterday :)

The post office mangled the envelope though and only a few seeds got here :(

I gonna plant what I got though. Thanks, I'm looking forward to seeing those beautiful beans.

Betsy said...

Jackie's tip about UPick helped us acquire 5 pounds of organic strawberries. The strawberries were ripe and beautiful! We don't have canning equipment (yet!) but we do have a dehydrator. I sliced them then and did three rotations of 4 trays to make chewy little strawberry chips. (and a tray of leather) They're a great addition to winter oatmeal and trailmix. So full of flavor, they're almost better dried than fresh....almost! Thanks, Jackie!

Jackie said...

Bangchik, good luck with your preserving!

Michelle, I also made preserves and dried some strawberries on my dehydrator...had some today in my cereal. Sorry the beans got mangled. I should have used a padded envelope like you did. Next time I'll know better :)

Betsy, glad you joined me on the strawberry "mission". If you decide to get a canner, the best deal is at Walmart. Or at least it was 2 years ago.