Making Strawberry Jam

Today I’m gonna do something a little different.  My son and I have always loved challenges, especially when it comes to cooking.  We have tried all kinds of recipes and made up several of our own.  Sometimes the dishes turn out good; and other times, well, let’s just say they needed something (throwing out would be a good thing).

So, last year we decided we would make some apple butter.  In one of my earlier posts, I told you about going to the mountains with a couple of my friends and buying apples.   Joel and I got all the fixins for canning and one day we tackled making apple butter.  The directions said to let it come to a hard boil and I don’t think we got that right because the apple butter turned out more like spiced applesauce and still tastes good.  I also use it when I make applesauce bread.  I dried some apples and have made fried apple pies with those – you talk about yummy.  I pickled some green tomatoes and made green tomato relish and both of those turned out good.  But I digress.

This year we decided to make some strawberry jam.  I bought a book from Ball and it really has some great recipes in it.  So, a couple of weeks ago, we set up to make our first batch of strawberry jam.  We put the jars in a hot water bath and heated the lids like the directions said.  I washed the strawberries, capped them and mashed them with a potato masher.  We added pectin and lemon juice and let the berries come to a rolling boil.  Now, the directions said to bring the strawberries to a boil on high heat; I’m here to tell you that is wrong because we almost burned them.  Once it started boiling, we had to add several cups of sugar all at once and and again let the berries come to a rolling boil.   So, after the mixture boiled for a minute, we put it into the jars, made sure the rims were clean before we put the lids and rings on them and moved the jars to the hot water for processing. We ended up with 11 jars of strawberry jam.  And, they turned out beautifully.  After we finished, we went for some barbecue.

Since we had such a good time making jam the first time, we decided we would make some more this past weekend.  Joel got the strawberries this time.  Actually, he and Amanda picked them at a U-Pick farm on Saturday.  He came over bright and early Sunday morning and the adventure began.  It was basically the same process as before, but he brought a bigger pot for boiling the berries.  We made 12 jars of jam.  But, since this went so fast, we decided we would go buy more berries from the fruit stand up the road and make another batch.  We got what we needed and came back and ended up with 13 more jars of jam.

We totally trashed my kitchen.  There were strawberries and strawberry juice everywhere, especially on us.  But you know, that’s why God made soap and water. And no matter how big of a mess we made, we had a great time working together, trying to figure out how to make the jam and getting everything done the right way.

And guess what — we’re gonna do more canning this summer.  We plan to can some soup, tomatoes, veggies and meat.  Joel is gonna get a pressure canner for these so this will be another new adventure for us.  Hopefully this time, Amanda will be able to join us.

See ya next Wednesday.