Last week we went strawberry picking with the little ones, my sisters and my mom. Each of the kids had their own bucket for their goodies. It was so much fun!
I highly recommend this recipe but FOLLOW the directions. I got a little carried away and it didn't gel as well as it was supposed to. Also, *USE no-sugar needed pectin* Canning instructions at Back to the Basics!
Homemade Strawberry Jam
from Pick Your Own
10 cups chopped Strawberries
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 boxes Sure Gel (pectin)
If you plan on canning this jam, you'll need canning supplies *bottom of the page*
From Pick Your Own "Strawberry Jam can ONLY be made in rather small batches - about 6 cups at a time - like the directions on the pectin say, DO NOT increase the recipes or the jam won't "set" (jell, thicken). (WHY? Alton Brown on the Food Channel says pectin can overcook easily and lose its thickening properties. It is easier and faster to get an even heat distribution in smaller batches. It takes about 8 cups of raw, unprepared berries per batch. For triple berry jam, I use 4 cups of mushed (slightly crushed) strawberries, 1 cup of raspberries and 1 cup of blackberries. For strawberry-only jam; you’ll need 6 cups of mushed strawberries."
Wash and hull the fruit. You can either chop, crush or mush fruit.
You'll need 4 cups of sugar (or about the same of honey). You can make a strawberry jam with no added sugar if you use the "No-added sugar pectin" but honestly, the resultant jam just isn't as good. It tends to be darker, more runny and less flavorful. But using the no-added sugar pectin with a reduced amount of sugar, about 4 cups instead of the usual 7 cups, works GREAT!
After measuring the sugar, set 1/4 cup aside to mix separately with the pectin in the next step.
If you would rather try to make jam with no added sugar, click here for those directions!
Strawberries don't contain much natural pectin, so you need to add a package and a half of the boxed pectin, or the jam will be pretty runny. Mix the dry pectin with about 1/4 cup of sugar and Keep this separate from the rest of the sugar. If you are not using sugar, you'll just have to stir more vigorously to prevent the pectin from clumping. This helps to keep the pectin from clumping up and allows it to mix better!Stir the pectin into the berries and put the mix in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning). It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get it to a full boil (the kind that can not be stirred away).
Why use pectin?
Another tip: as mentioned above, use the lower sugar or no-sugar pectin. You can add sugar to either and it cuts the amount of sugar you need from 7 cups per batch to 4 cups or less! And it tastes even better!
Remove from the heat.
Notes about "set" (thickening or jell): It takes 3 ingredients for jams and jellies to set: pectin, sugar and acidity. The amount of pectin that is naturally occurring in the fruit varies from one type of fruit to another and by ripeness (counter intuitively, unripe contains more pectin). See this page for more about pectin in fruit. It takes the right balance, and sufficient amounts of each of pectin, sugar and acidity to result in a firm jam or jelly. Lastly, it takes a brief period (1 minute) of a hard boil, to provide enough heat to bring the three together. Generally speaking, if your jam doesn't firm up, you were short in pectin, sugar or acidity or didn't get a hard boil. That's ok - you can "remake' the jam; see this page!
|Strawberry Fields Forever!|
If you need the waterbath as well...This is a great value:
Find out HOW to Can this delicious Jam at Back to the Basics!
I'm linking this delicious recipe HERE.