My fondest childhood memories are of my grandmother. She was warm, kind, and always smelled of freshly baked bread, real fairy-tale stuff. Grandmommy truly shone in the kitchen. She poured out her love for her family in the form of many, many, many meals. (And I tell you what, with nine children and twenty-plus grandchildren, that was no joke!)
While I’m not planning on having nine children nor ironing the sheets for the bed (why on earth did women used to do that?), one way that I do want to emulate my grandmother is to practice her hospitality in the kitchen. With the summer sun shining, there is no better way to show some love to your family (and others!) by making strawberry jam!
You can purchase flats of strawberries at a farm stand, or if you’re frugal (like me and my grandmother), head to a U-pick farm to pick your own. Kids will have fun filling a bucket, and they’ll be happy to help you taste-test the jam when it’s finished!
Like my grandmother before me, I simply use the Ball recipe (published by the company that manufactures Ball canning jars). Kids can help you pick strawberries, smash berries, and taste test.
You Will Need:
- 5 cups crushed strawberries with stems removed (about 3 pounds)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons pectin (this can be found near the gelatin at the grocery store)
- 7 cups granulated sugar
- 8 half-pint (8-ounce) glass preserving jars with lids and bands
- PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
- COMBINE strawberries and lemon juice in a large pot. (I suggest using one much larger than you need, so you have splash-space. That’s a technical term: splash-space.) Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
- ADD entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
- LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
- PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, at a simmer (180 degrees Fahrenheit, adjusting for altitude). Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Any jars that don’t seal, put in the fridge and use first.
Note: Because of the acidity in strawberry jam, it does not need to be pressure canned, just water bathed, so you don’t need to own a pressure canner.
Tips: When the jam is boiling, it may splatter. Be sure children stay clear at this time, and both I and the blister on my arm suggest that you wear long sleeves.
Once your jam is done, all that’s left is to serve it on hot buttery biscuits! Better yet, wrap a few jars with ribbon and deliver to your neighbors! Kids will love practicing hospitality by helping you deliver them.
Adrienne Hedlund lives in Oregon where she loves all Pacific Northwest-y things like lattes, scarves, and pretending she hikes a lot. She works for a Christian publishing house and hopes to own her own lavender farm someday.
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