Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Strawberry time

I remember making strawberry jam with my mom as a kid in the summer.
Slicing the red, ripe berries, dumping them on a pot on the stove, stirring in the sugar, skimming off the foam as it bubbled. Then - slathering the jam on toast, or with peanut butter (chunky, please) for the perfect sandwich.

When I made a list of different kinds of jam I want to make this summer, strawberry topped the list. There's something about fresh strawberry jam that you just can't get in a jar from the store.  

On Saturday, I made Chris get up at 7:30 a.m. - although I can't make myself get out of bed before 8 a.m. on a work day and wedrove out to Lakeview Farms in O'Fallon. 
It was the first weekend they had strawberries available for picking. More than once we've woken up late too late to pick at Lakeview Farms. They close the farm down when it's too crowded. 
 But Saturday we made it there in time. The day was gorgeous, warm and sunny. The berries were giant - and a little mutant looking.  Chris found one that looked like it had ears and a tail! But we ate it before we could get a picture. We ended up with 20 pounds of berries - enough for 11 jars of jam, one pie and lots left over.

Strawberry Jam has two main ingredients: berries and sugar - a lot of sugar!
I used the recipe my mom always used- the one on the Sure Jell packet -

Makes 8 (one cup) cans of jam
- 5 cups crushed strawberries
- 1 box SureJell Pectin
- 7 cups sugar
Wash strawberries and place several on the bottom of a cake pan. Crush. Repeat until you have 5 cups prepared fruit, then dump it in an 8-quart saucepot.

Stir pectin into fruit, then bring it to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full, rolling boil and boil for a minute, stirring the whole time. Skim off the foam.

From here, you can immediately can the jam. And since I'm no expert on canning, I'll direct you to the Ball Mason Jar website for a full primer on that one. It's pretty simple, and you don't even really need fancy equipment.
Then enjoy!

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