22 June, 2012

I Be Jammin' !

My jam, looking almost too pretty to eat!

We live within spitting distance of a great little country fruit stand, Kruse Farms .  They have delicious locally grown fruits, vegetables and even garden plants.  I have been waiting for the strawberries to come in and they are finally here.  I'm going to make up a big ol' batch of strawberry jam. 

So I walked inside and there they were, my long awaited strawberries, bathed in a heavenly light from above.  I was almost certain that I could faintly hear harp music... 

One particular flat called my name.  

I  was going to check out when I decided to just take a little cruise/Kruse, HA!, through the pie section, just to breathe in the delicious aroma of fresh baked pies! 
Kruse Farms has it covered when it comes to delicious, freshly baked pies.


So I went home and gathered my canning supplies.  Although I am not a jammin' virgin,
 my jammin' skills were a bit rusty.  So I chose a recipe featured at 
The Pioneer Woman website.  There were detailed instructions
 along with LOTS of photos.  The recipe is super-simple.
You should give it a try.  It's not so hard.
your house will smell delicious.

To make your own delicious Strawberry Jam, you will need -

5 cups crushed strawberries
4 T. lemon juice
1 box powdered pectin
1 pat of butter
7 cups granulated sugar
8 or 9 half pint (or 4 or 5 pint ) canning jars with lids and rings.

I personally prefer the smaller jars.
Makes me feel as if I get more if I have more jars.   
Simple. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

 So, I washed the jars and covered them with water in the canner, then heated them up
until the water was simmering, no need to boil.
I also put the jar lids and rings into a saucepan to simmer. 

I washed and hulled the berries...

... then mashed them up on a cookie sheet.  These berries were beautifully red in the center, not like those monstrous, mealy, white-in-the-middle Frankenberries that you buy at the grocery store.  
These bright berries will give my jam great color.

I put the 5 cups of mashed berries in a big pot and added the lemon juice and powdered pectin.
A pat of butter reduces foaming as the berries boil. I turned on the burner high and stirred.

When the mix came to a full rolling boil I added SEVEN, that's right, SEVEN cups of sugar!  
And that.... Dear Reader, is the reason that home made jam tastes so very good.  

After the jam reaches a BIG rolling boil, one that can not be stirred down,
I let it go for one minute, then turned off the heat.  

I skimmed off the foam, which is kind of a frothy, gakky stuff.  But it still tastes good.  
I know... I licked the spoon...

I filled the jars with the hot jam.

Then I wiped off the rims with a clean damp dish cloth 
and put on the lids and rings on the jars.  

It is important not to tighten the rings.  
 Just turn until you feel some resistance.  
The jars have to be able to expel air during the canning process 
in order to create the seal.

Next, I processed the jars in the water bath for 10 minutes.  When the time was up
I turned off the heat and let the jars sit in the bath for an additional five minutes.  
I lifted them out of the water bath and all of the jars immediately popped!, 
which is their own little percussive signal to me that they were properly sealed.  
Music to my ears!

I sat them on the windowsill to cool,
 then stepped back to gaze at just how pretty they all looked.

The next morning Mr. T. and I enjoyed some of my newly made Strawberry Jam on toast.
It was... well, ... it was beyond delicious!

The next time that I'm Jammin', I will be making RASPBERRY JAM!,
and maybe BLACKBERRY JAM !

Update - July 12

DONE! I made batches of both Raspberry and Blackberry.
Strawberry is still my most favorite, but Mr. T. is all about Raspberry.
I think that we have jam for the year!
And at nearly $4.00 per jar at the grocery store, that's like money in the bank.  


 I'm Still Jammin'!  
(Sung to the tune of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing".)

Since my earlier post, I have put up two batches of Red Raspberry Jam
and a batch of Blackberry Jam.  

Mr. T. and I might just have enough jam for the year, that is, if I can refrain
from giving it all away to family and friends.

I have given jars to each of our three children are they are loving my jams.  I'm feeling like
The Bomb Mom!

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