Strawberry Jam Making

I have done some canning over the years, primarily pickles. Recently I made some jam that came out well and had several requests to show how it's done. I've tried to delineate the steps used. I have also included a youtube video (not by me) showing the steps, specifically the canning portion: Youtube Canning Strawberry Jam video.

Caution: Do not adjust the sugar, acid ingredients (lemon juice or vinegar), fruit, or pectin. While the lemon juice and vinegar are interchangeable, the recipe is designed to have a specific amount of sugar, pectin, and acidity. Changing this could result in jam that goes bad quickly or doesn't jell. Even changing fruit can alter the pectin and acidity levels, so if you want a jam with different fruit, search for a different recipe online - they are everywhere. Google is your friend.

Altering spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, etc can be increased, deleted, substituted with impunity.

If you have never canned before, just follow the directions. I taught myself and if I can do it, anyone can.

One final word about any canning. After the canning process with the jars cooled, the tops should be dented in, i.e. will not flex when pressed. If they flex in then they were not processed right. Either open them up, clean the rims and tops and go through the heat bath processing again or just put the offending jar in fridge and comsume within the same period of time as you would if just opened.

The Recipe - Balsamic Strawberry Jam

  • 5 Cups Strawberries, crushed (approx 5 lbs)
  • 3 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl Lemon Juice
  • 6 Tbl Pectin, Ball RealFruit classic
  • 7 Cups Sugar, granulated
  • 8 half pint (8 oz) glass preserving jars with lids and bands
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg, ground fresh (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger, powdered (optional)

Needed Items:
  Large pot(1) for heat treating the jars
  Large pot(2) for boiling jam (not shown)
  jar tongs (optional, but strongly advised)
  Wire basket fitting into pot 1 (optional)
  wide mouth funnel (optional)

0. This step is optional. I premeasure all ingredients prior to starting. This reduces the chance of error when things start boiling/canning/etc.

1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Boil ladle and wide mouth funnel, set aside in sanitary area. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.

2. Wash, core, and slice strawberries in half.

3. COMBINE strawberries and lemon juice in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly. Some will add a tsp of butter to aid in keeping it from foaming up.

It is important that it's concentrated enough, so ensure the foaming cannot be stirred down. Otherwise the jam will be too thin and be runny.

4. ADD entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.

5. LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is barely fingertip tight. THIS IS IMPORTANT, the bands should be only as tight as can be done without holding onto the jar, so air can escape when in the boiling water.

6. PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

*Please note, the pic shows the jars above the boiling water. They must be processed in the boiling water.

7. REMOVE the cans to cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Remember to put the date, and type of jam on the jar.

Putting your name on there reminds people who made the delicious jam, or tells them who to sue if you've messed up processing the jam. :)

This is the basic process for most jam making. Primarily only the recipes are different.


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