I wanted to share with you something I learned to do this summer, something I never thought I would do at home myself and that is canning my own strawberry jam! Making homemade strawberry jam is so satisfying to me, you know exactly what's in it and it's cost efficient especially when the fruit is in season, I suggest you jam anything that's in season and cheap. You can make a big batch and store it long term or even give them out to your friends as gifts! Who wouldn't like fresh jam as a present?
Before I started I did my research, found a pressure canner/cooker on Walmart's website which I can double up as a regular water bath canner. I got it for around $75-$80 + free shipping which is relatively cheap considering the versatility of it. Strawberries were on sale during the early summer months so I bought boxes and crates full of strawberries to jam.
This is my version of strawberry jam. I've tried different ways of hulling, mixing and canning and came up with this very simple and easy to make "non-recipe recipe" so let's get started!
- Wash your strawberries, pick the ugly ducklings out then hull them. I had about 6 of the 1lb boxes you can get from Walmart. There are different ways to hull a strawberry, I like to cut my strawberry tops right off since I was making a lot of jam and it saved me tonnes of time. (If you compost, don't waste those precious hulled tops!) If you wanted to can your jam, you would start your water bath boiling at this point in your canner.
- Put them in a blender and pulse it until it gets to the consistency you like. I like a mixture in mine so I had some chunks and some pureed. You can even use a potato masher and mash them by hand in a big bowl, do it in batches so you get a good result.
- Add them to a big pot, I used my nonstick wok because it's a multipurpose pot I use for everything and I suggest a nonstick pot because sugar likes to stick. Make sure your pot has high sides because the mixture will bubble when you stir.
- Add about 3-4 cups of sugar (white/brown or demerara) depending on how sweet you want, lemon juice from 2 lemons, and give it a good stir to combine. I added 2 "cups" of brown sugar because that's what I had. (I know liquid measuring cups shouldn't be used to measure nothing but liquid but like I said, I like cooking my way :))
- Bring mixture to a boil. Let it simmer for about 30-35 minutes until the jam reaches the right texture stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom or burning. It should thickly coat your wooden spoon without it running off. I like mine thick so I simmer mine for 35-40 minutes. The mixture will reduce a lot as it cooks more and more. If you wanted a syrupy consistency don't cook it as long and you will have made strawberry syrup, great for ice creams!
- During the wait, prepare your canning jars by boiling jars and lids in a pot of boiling water. You can run them through a rinse cycle in your dishwasher if you prefer.
- Once the jam reaches the right consistency, skim off the foam on top to get that silky smooth red jam. Then spoon them into the jars and cool completely. I find that cooling helps it to slightly thicken a bit more. Also, you wouldn't want to burn your tongue on hot sugary jam.
- If you wish to store it long term then follow the instructions on your canner and continue to can your jars.
I hope this encourages you to go out of your normal routine of buying store bought jam that costs $4 and make your very own homemade, "healthier" version of strawberry jam! Please share this post if you like it or if you think it would benefit someone who wants to give it a go! God bless!