A little bit of a disclaimer for this recipe. It’s a universal recipe. Which means that I didn’t create it. Making jam is not one of those things I’m willing to experiment with. It’s a little time intensive and it’s horribly devastating to go through all the work of canning and not have it set. Let’s just say I’ve been there. I can tell you that my family has had some pretty delicious peach and strawberry pancake syrup.
One thing I am willing to experiment with is what I put in my jam. For this batch, I put in lime zest and lime juice instead of lemon. Holy moly, it’s good. The next batch, I put in vanilla bean. Equally as delish.
My favorite go-to site to find canning recipes is the Ball website: http://www.freshpreserving.com/
Go there if you have any questions about canning. They really do have it all. It’s better to get the information from the leading authority on canning than on random blogs.
Step 1: Lots of fruit. No need to measure at this point, but have a rough idea of how many strawberries you bought. Five pounds should be enough. I always over buy my fruit for canning, just in case.
Step 2: Mash away. Here is where you measure. When you are done mashing, measure 5 cups exactly. No more, no less – trust me on this one. It is helpful to enlist the help of a spouse to help mash. You could also just puree these up in your blender. I’ve done both methods and they both work well.
Step 3: Here is my variation. I added lime zest and lime juice instead of lemon juice. I like the tangy flavor. You can just add straight lemon juice though. This step also gets the pectin added. I used 6 Tablespoons.
Step 4: Yep, I know you can’t see it. I don’t want to see it either. This is where it’s boiling like the dickens and I don’t feel like getting burned. Just know that you need to boil this until you can’t stir down the boil. It helps to not have a camera at this step too.
Step 5: And this is the most painful part for me. 7 cups of sugar. Holy Toledo, I just try and not think about it. It must be done though. Don’t think about cutting short on the sugar unless you’re using a low sugar pectin…again…trust me on this one. Who’s the smart girl who couldn’t bare to add this much sugar and then her jam didn’t set? Yep, that’s me. Just do it and remember that you are making it yourself.
Step 6: It needs to boil for another minute after adding the sugar and then you take it off the heat.
Step 7: Skim off the foam. Many recipes will tell you to add butter to reduce the foam, but come on, I just added 7 cups of sugar, do I really need butter? No, I can skim.
Step 8: I do one of two things to my jars before I start canning. I either wash them and leave them in a hot dishwasher, or I use my stockpot that I’m canning in to sterilize and then keep them warm. Both methods work. The rings need to be washed also and the lids can sit in a small pan of simmering water. Don’t boil it. And ALWAYS use new lids when canning. From here, you use your canning funnel and get those jars filled. Leave 1/2″ space on the top.
1/2″ space and wipe the rims clean to ensure a good seal.
Step 10: When jars are ready, remove and listen for the glorious sound of the “pop”. That’s when you know you have achieved canning success. It is a little sound that will allow you to breathe and relax. Be careful about where you set your jars when you remove them from the water. Don’t set them on a cold surface (granite countertop), or the glass may crack. I always use a thick towel and a wood cutting board.
Let’s make some jam!
- 5 cups mashed strawberries, about 5 pounds
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- zest of 1 lime
- 6 Tablespoons classic pectin
- 7 cups granulated sugar
- 8 half pint jars, lids and rings
- Prepare your jars, lids, and rings. Wash and dry jars and keep them warm. Simmer lids in a pot of water, being careful not to boil. Wash rings.
- In a large stockpot, start to heat water. Enough to cover the top of the jar when submerged in water, plus 1″
- Mash strawberries and measure out 5 cups
- Add mashed strawberries, lime juice, lime zest to a large stockpot
- Stir in pectin
- Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down
- Add sugar and allow to boil for an additional minute and remove from heat
- Using a spoon, skim the foam off and discard
- Fill canning jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace
- Wipe rims down with a clean towel to ensure a proper seal
- Add a lid and ring to each canning jar
- Using your canning tongs, place each jar into boiling water and boil for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude)
- Remove from water and set jars on a towel or wooden board
- Listen for the pop
- Allow jars to cool in place
- Fill each canning jar with