It’s that time again…..strawberry jam time, that is! Two days ago, I made my annual pilgrimage to the strawberry fields at C.N. Smith Farm to pick my own strawberries. I did plant some strawberries in a container just outside my kitchen door this year, but every time a strawberry gets close to turning red, the chickens help themselves. By the way, chickens LOVE strawberries…toss some into the yard and it’s a feast!!
So off to the fields I went……..the strawberry fields at the farm are vast. And of course I waited until the middle of the day right in the middle of the summer heat to venture out.
Luckily for me, the clouds rolled in to block out the light and heat of the sun. I picked 6 quarts of beautiful berries in about an hour. But seriously–these berries are gorgeous!
So first, you get the goods home, hull them, wash them, and cut them into little pieces.
Then, you put them in a pot with your sugar and lemon juice. Mash up the strawberries to the chunkiness consistency of your liking. If you like it really smooth, I would suggest using an immersion blender.
Heat this pot of goodness on medium until the sugar has melted, then turn the heat up until you get the mixture to the boiling point. Let it continue to boil at a low rolling state for about 30 minutes.
When it’s ready to pour up, or “set”, it should pass the “crinkle” test. Basically, you put a little plate into the freezer when you get started making the jam, take it out when you’re ready to test and drop a dollop onto it. Let it sit for a minute or two and if it crinkles when you nudge it with your finger, then it’s done. As I neglected to take a picture of this step when I was actually doing it, I’ve nicked someone else’s from the Internet. Thank you to whomever did take this picture. It is from the Food Fanatic website. That is not my finger.
Don’t fret if you have to let it rumble around in the pot a little bit longer than 30 minutes. That’s actually just when I start testing it. I don’t really like to use commercially prepared pectin, and strawberries contain their own naturally. So depending on the amount that is in your strawberries, it is not unusual to require a longer boiling time.
When it’s all set, pour the mixture up into your previously sterilized jars, put the lids and rims on and pop them into a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes. At this point, you can take the jars out and put them on a cooling rack to cool overnight. And this is the best part–you’ll hear the popping of the lids as they seal! I never tire of hearing that. It’s one of my favorite sounds on the planet.
And the 6 quarts of berries that were picked yesterday turned into 6 pints of fantastic jam today. I kept one quart aside for us to snack on, so technically only 5 quarts turned into 6 pints. But you get the picture.
- Wash, hull, chop the strawberries.
- Combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in your pan on the stove. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. You can mash them with a potato masher or use an immersion blender here.
- Increase the heat and boil for 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Skim off the foam frequently, as well.
- Do the crinkle test until you have positive crinkle.
- Pour the jam into hot sterilized jars. Leave about ¼ of space from the top. Put the lid on and the ring on.
- Put the jars into boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Take the jars out of the water and place on a cooling rack where you can let them cool overnight. When you hear the popping sounds, rejoice!! 😀