Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Jam

It is snow day #82 in 2 weeks around here. Well, maybe snow day #5, but it feels like more. During yet another canned-biscuit-breakfast last week, the kids were lamenting the lack of my homemade strawberry jam since we ran out of the last summer batch a couple of months ago. So, I got supplies when anticipating today's snow day and here we are, making a somewhat summery treat in snowy winter.

My jam isn't truly jam in the pectin, boil-the-jars, way. It's more of a drippy jam made with 3 simple ingredients and then I put it in jars and freeze after it cools off. It only takes overnight in the fridge to thaw and it's really yummy. It's also good on ice cream.

I normally buy a 2-lb basket of strawberries and then wash, hull, and chop them. But it's not good strawberry season and I found a giant bag of frozen strawberries at the sto'. The ingredient list just says: "Strawberries." So, I'm happy with that. In fact, I'm excited! It will get going a lot faster! I would not suggest buying pre-sweetened frozen strawberries.

So, the ratio I like best is about 4 cups of chopped, packed strawberries to about 3 cups of sugar. I will thaw the frozen ones before I measure. You put them in a heavy-bottomed stockpot along with the sugar and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Heat on low until the sugar is dissolved and then turn it up to high. The mixture needs to get to a rolling boil and then ideally reach 220 degrees - I have NEVER been able to both get it to 220 and also have it not burn to the bottom of the pan. I can slowly stir and scrape the bottom while it boils and get it to 215 degrees. So, know that 220 is ideal, but you'll be good either way. It is more important to me not to have to scrape burned pieces of ick from the pan.

It will take a LONG TIME to reach the proper hour or so. Then, when you're done (you'll know because you will swear you never want to see a strawberry again and you will have burned yourself with hot strawberry syrup at least twice), you can ladle into clean jars. I buy the small, pretty Mason jars. Ladle it in, put on the tops and lids, and wait for them to cool. Refrigerate them once cool, and once they're cooled off to refrigerator temp, put the ones you won't eat right away into the freezer.

The bag of strawberries I had today turned this into a double batch, or almost. So, just FYI, these pictures will look like more than I describe above.

This is just getting started.

Rolling boil...

Filled jars - be careful filling them! HOT!

*All Done*

Strawberry Fields Forever,

~ HD

Mom of Fred and Ginger
Wife of Mr D
Jammer of Jamminess