August 15, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Jam

In the last couple of months I have been making an effort to try to cook as many things from scratch as possible. My whole family does better when we stick to homemade foods, so to keep my family's budget down and for our health I have been making as many things as I can. This year I have had a number of very nice friends give me an abundance of garden veggies, so I have been canning up a storm. I now have a large shelf full of pickles, which makes my two sons very happy. Besides canned vegetables, canned homemade fruit is delicious and making and preserving  it can save a lot of money during the winter. One of my favorite canned fruit products is homemade strawberry jam, which is easy enough that a cook with minimal canning experience can be completely comfortable.

Making homemade strawberry jam is very easy to make. It only takes three ingredients, sugar, pectin and fresh strawberries. I use classic pectin because it has a great flavor and sets the jam quickly. I find the full sugar jam to be a little too sweet for my tastes, so I follow the reduced sugar directions. For every two half-pint jars you will need the following:
  • 1 1/3 cups prepared fruit (hull and crush the strawberries with a potato masher)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp classic pectin
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
In order to make homemade jam you need a water bath canner. I purchased a new one this year and it was less than 20 dollars. You will also need canning jars, rings and lids (don't re-use lids). I boil my jars for 10 minutes in boiling water since I don't have a dishwasher. Make sure to keep the jars warm while preparing the jam, or the jars will crack. Combine the fruit and pectin in a saucepan, I add a 1/4 tsp of butter to reduce foaming, but it isn't necessary and can be left out if preferred. Bring to a roiling boil, then add sugar and bring to a roiling boil once again and boil hard for one minute. I use a thermometer, once it reaches 220 degrees (if your at sea level) it's at the jelling point. If you don't have a candy thermometer you can also use a metal spoon, dip it into the boiling mixture. If the mixture is done two drops will hang off the edge, then run together in a sheet.  Skim foam if present and pour into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Wipe tops and place lids and bands on jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Make sure there is at least an inch of water covering the top of the jars. Remove jars from heat and let cool. After 24 hours check jars and make sure that they have sealed. Don't use any jam that the seal has not sealed. It can take as long as three weeks for the jam to fully set.

Homemade jam is a great way to enjoy fruit throughout the year and is much cheaper than store-bought. Leaning to can well only takes a little effort and its a great way to save money. If the water bath canning scares you there are also fresh jams, which is the same recipe except without the water-bath, they just go straight into the fridge and have to be used within 3 weeks. Water-bathed canned jam can last up to a year, so when strawberries go down to a dollar, I make a bunch at one time. One of my favorite things is homemade jam with fresh bread, a delicious combination!





23 comments:

  1. I really wish I could learn more about canning! I am sure it could save us a ton of money!

    Thanks for sharing. Stumbled your post!
    http://beautybrite.com

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  2. @DisneyMom It's actually pretty easy once you do it a few times. It does save a lot of money!

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  3. Congrats! You've won The Versatile Blogger Award!

    http://smn0409.blogspot.com/2011/08/wow-i-won-award-versatile-blogger-award.html

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  4. Hi there - love how simple this recipe is. I made homemade plum jam but it didn't set up. I still use it anyway because it tastes so good. I will have to give your strawberry recipe a try. I'm a new follower from the Sunday blog hop. Have a great week.

    Dayna

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  5. Oh have you done Pumpkin Butter? That's my favorite to fix. Jacob dont like strawberries :(

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  6. Great blog! Someday I will do some canning, lol. I'm following you back from the weekend hop!

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  7. I have seriously considered making homemade bread, but luckily, I know myself well enough to know that would be a bad idea. I would just bake it all the time and then I would have to eat it all the time. LOL...it looks good :)

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  8. I enjoy reading your blog and would like to award you the Versatile Blogger Award. Please read the details at http://kat-makingthemostofit.blogspot.com/2011/08/versatile-blogger-award.html

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  9. @Dayna Jam can be a little fickle sometimes, if the temp doesn't get to the gelling point, it won't set. Plum jam sounds yummy!

    @Renee I love pumpkin butter! I haven't made it in a while though, maybe this year!

    @cssolomon Homemade bread is yummy, luckily I have a lot of people in my house to eat the bread :)

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  10. Thanks for recently following me! I'm now following you and I think you are amazing to make so many things from scratch for your family!!!!!!!!!!!! So great!

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  11. All I can say is YUM! My mouth is watering now! :)

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  12. Such a yummy and healthy post! Jam and Bread is just perfect.. Thanks for following my site...

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  13. We did strawberry jam back in may. It didn't set up very well, but we're still using it.

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  14. @kristi Thanks, I try to cook as much as I can from scratch, the pre-packaged foods makes my oldest cranky and hyper.

    @Jodi and Melynda Thanks!!

    @Lisa Sometimes jam can be hard to set, it still tastes yummy though :)

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  15. It isnt just the homemade jam...it is your daily blog posts...You are My HERO and I am always Amazed at your talents and goings on. Did you know that you are an influence on my life? I take away things from your blog (and twitter) that affect my life and I appreciate you for that! Thank You!
    jenny at dapperhouse

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  16. @jenny You are too sweet, thank you :) I try to do my best with my cooking and blog posts, this week I haven't been keeping up as well, since my oldest started kindergarten on monday and my whole schedule has gone crazy! I found myself making canned peaches at 6 in the morning on tuesday :)

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  17. Sounds yummy! One day I hape to learn to can. Love your blog!

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  18. @Party of Four It's actually pretty easy, especially if you use a good thermometer to make sure it's the right temp. Thanks for the sweet comment :)

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  19. I love making homemade bread - but I only do it in the winter ... Stopping to Friday Follow. Hope you can visit my place and return the favor soon.
    http://www.shaunanosler.blogspot.com/

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  20. @Shauna I make a lot more bread in the winter. It's hard having the oven on a long time in the summer, but the bread rises so much easier :)

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  21. Great colour. Thanks for joining the 'jam'. Cheers

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