Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Easy All-Natural Strawberry Jam

Strawberries are everywhere right now... cheap and delicious. I've been making this succulent strawberry jam on a weekly basis since moving to Houston. I thought it would be fun to share the recipe I use with anyone interested. It would be a super fun activity to do with the kids in your life! I bet they would love to decorate some labels for the jars too!

I'm particularly in love with this recipe because of it's simplicity. It doesn't call for artificial pectin, but instead uses the natural pectin found in apples to jell the fruit. I think the apple adds a yummy twist to the jam as well.

Also, it uses a very basic method of "processing" the jars which means you don't need to invest in a large canner or many other canning supplies to make this recipe. This recipe comes from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook, so I trust it to be safe. (Note: It is not safe to make changes to canning recipes. Professionals out there test them to make sure they are safe. Always use canning recipes from a trusted source.)

Here are the only "tools" you'll need to make this jam: 
- Kitchen Scale- Weighing ingredients will ensure the success of yours jam.
- Grater 
- 4-5 half-pint canning jars with self-sealing lids that have never been used and metal bands 
 * Make sure to use clean jars. Hand wash them in warm soapy water, or run them through the dish- washer. Do not put lids in the dish-washer. 
- Canning Jar Funnel- This is optional, but makes the job much easier. Find them at Wal-Mart. 

two pounds of strawberries 
Weigh berries after they have been washed, hulled, and sliced. 
one and one half  pound of sugar 
1 green apple - Skin and Flesh grated, but no core
One forth cup fresh lemon juice -  free of seeds

Let your kids help you prepare your ingredients! They can pull the leafy parts off the berries and slice them with butter knifes. Let them help you measure. Teach them about cooking, math, and opposite flavors! (Strawberries are sweet, green apples are sour) 
Let them be amazed as they watch the mixture transform! 

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive 5 qt. heavy bottom sauce pan or pot. 
(I like to use my dutch oven.) Use a wooden spoon as you go on with your jam.

Bring it to a heavy boil over medium heat. (A simmer doesn't count!) Stir often and remove pink foam that rises to the top. It takes about 25 minutes for mine to get to a heavy boil. Depends on how fast your stove it! 



This is a nice heavy boil. It's what your looking for! Listen as the bubbles change from boiling bubbles to plopping bubbles. Let it boil for about 15 minutes. It smells so wonderful! Embrace the strawberry sauna and stir constantly

This is looking wonderful. The color is dark and rich and the jam is very thick. 

Test your jam on a chilled plate. If juices run from the jam when the plate is tilted, as shown below... then you need to wait another 5 minutes to test it. 

This is how your jam should be. It will go down when tilted, but it all stays together. It's ready now! 

Ladle the jam into the jars one at a time, leaving about a half inch of space. As soon as you get the jam in the jar, wipe the rim with a damp cloth if needed, top it with the lid, and screw on the band. Turn the jar upside down. The scalding hot jam will seal the lid. 
Repeat until your jars are full. 

 Let your jars sit upside down until they are completely cool. Then turn the jars right side up and press each lid in the middle. If the lid stays depressed (firm and doesn't pop when pressed), then you successfully made a jar of jam! If your lid does pop when pressed, then you need to store it in the fridge and use within two weeks. (This method has never failed me yet.) 

Keep your sealed jars in a dark cook place for up to one year! 

This jam is good for so many things, but my favorite way to eat it is 
on a warm, fresh biscuit! 

From start to finish, it takes me about an hour and a half to make this jam. It's simple and fun, and a great way to use those delicious strawberries we see at the grocery store!
 Enjoy it some time, I think you're gonna love it! 

*Recipe from Maria Helm Sinskey 
Williams-Sonoma Family Meals 

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