Please note, I'm not calling you idiots; I'm the idiot. I could never make a jam that would thicken properly, and it was always so sweet that it hurt my teeth just to smear it on some toast.
For years, I made easy freezer jam, but I really wanted a jam that would hold up to canning, as freezer space is a finite thing. Thankfully, at the Mother Earth News Fair last year, I was introduced to Pomona's Pectin thanks to Sherri Brooks Vinton, author of Put 'em Up! Making strawberry jam with Pomona's was love at first bite.
First, a little tutorial on Pomona's, cause I couldn't figure out how to use it at first. Pomona's comes with two little packages; calcium powder, and pectin. Most pectin which gives jam the "jell" to make it jam, needs insane amounts of sugar to create that perfect jell. Pomona's pectin is activated by the calcium with just a touch of sugar. :confetti:
This is the calcium powder. You mix 1/2 tsp of it with 1/2 cup of water. It's gonna last you a long time!
This is the pectin.
This, is a knife.
Now that we have that cleared up, let's get to the jammin'.
Strawberry Jam For Idiots
8 cups of strawberries, tops removed
2.5 tsp Pomona's Pectin
2.5 tsp calcium water
2 cups of sugar (I used organic evaporated cane juice from Costco)
1/4 cup lemon juice
Prep for the canning part
1) Prepare your water bath canner buy filling it with water, and setting it on the stove.
2) Wash and sanitize the jars. I put them in a lasagna pan with 2 inches of water, and then put everything in the oven at 250 degrees.
3) Wash your lids, and put them in a clean crockpot filled with 4 inches of water. Set the crockpot to high.
1) Rinse the strawbs.
2) Remove the tops, and place in a heavy bottomed saucepan. I adore my dutch oven for so many reasons, and jam season is another one of those reasons!
3) Heat the fruit until the juices start to bubble. At this point, you can mash the fruit with a potato masher, but I prefer to be lazy and use my immersion blender. The goal isn't to puree the fruit totally; I leave some chunks in there for delicious effect.
4) Mix the sugar and pectin, set aside.
5) Add the lemon juice and calcium water, stir. Add the sugar/pectin mixture, and bring to a boil. Stir constantly for 3 minutes.
6) Remove from heat, and stir for 5 more minutes. At the end of the 5 minutes, remove any foam that remains.
7) Add the jam to your prepared jars, and leave 1/4 inch of headspace at the top. Headspace is the amount of room between the top of the food, and the rim of the jar.
8) Wet a clean rag, and wipe the rim to make sure there isn't any sticky jam on there.
9) Add a clean lid to the jar, and tighten a ring around the jar.
10) Add your jars to to the boiling water, and put the lid on. Process (boil) for 10 minutes.
11) Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars to some place where they can be unmolested (hee hee) for 12-24 hours.
12) Check the seal by pushing down on the middle of the lid. If it doesn't give way, it's sealed. If the lid bows a little bit, put that in the fridge and use it within 3 weeks.
13) Label the jar, and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.
Side note, in our house, we call jam "jam on" because when Troy was little, he thought jam was called "jam on". His mom would make sandwiches and say "Troy, do you want some jam on it"?
This recipe is a bastardized version of recipes from Pomona's Pectin, Put em' Up, and Food in Jars.
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Always use a trusted source when canning and preserving food. I am not a trusted source. I've yet to ever make anyone sick, but yo' trust the experts.
Labels: Canning, Canning for Dummies