Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week 3: Homemade Strawberry Jam

I had intended to write about how to make homemade butter this week, but I have been having some difficulties and after about an hour of shaking a jar of whole milk, I decided that this was not going to be easy. One of the purposes of this Blog is to find easy homemade things to do and make, not shaking a jar until your arm falls off! So, I need to do some more experiments with how to make butter and hopefully next week I will have an easy method!

Well, this recipe on how to may your own homemade strawberry jam is about as easy as it gets. I found that the jam in the grocery store was okay, nothing special and if you wanted to buy a really good brand of jam or jelly, then you would pay a fortune. My Mom suggested I try making my own, so to the store I went to buy some basic canning supplies and pectin. Well, low and behold, my grocery store did not have any pectin, just gelatin, and no glass canning jars. I then realized that I don’t think anyone in LA makes their own jam. Okay, there may be a few out there, but you really have to go out and search to find some supplies, find pectin, and jars. I did go to another "main stream" grocery store just last week and found a box of pectin. Look for the Sure Jell brand in a yellow box. I found some fancy, crazy pectin at Whole Foods, Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which looks more complicated, but I am sure it will be fine. The other place to find pectin is at a hardware store?! They also have canning jars. We are NOT going to can this recipe, so don’t get scared and think you are going to spend hours in the kitchen. This is actually a freezer jam recipe that you can just stick the extras in a plastic container and put it in the freezer. We will attempt canning in another Blog, as soon as I find an easy method.

Now the fun part, let's make some delicious jam! The box of Sure Jell has a bunch of recipes for all kinds of fruit, so try them based on what is in season or what I did, just buy a bag of frozen strawberries and go.

Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam:

  • 2 pints strawberries (fresh or frozen) If you buy the frozen, you don’t have to de-stem them. Just thaw the berries the night before you want to make your jam. Really simple.

  • 4 cups sugar (yes, I know this is a lot of sugar, but just do it)

  • 1 box of Sure Jell pectin

Special items needed: just some containers to store your jam in.

Step 1: Crush the strawberries in a bowl. I have a potato masher or you can use a fork to get the berries mashed.

Step 2: Add your sugar to the crushed strawberries and mix. The box says to let stand for 10 minutes. I just added the sugar, mix and go to the next step, while I guess the berries are resting & getting jacked up on sugar.

Step 3: Open the pectin mixture packet and mix with 3/4 cup of water into a small saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. Now you just bring the pectin and water to a boil, continue stirring to make sure the mixture is disolved. Boil for 1 minute while stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Step 4: Pour the hot pectin mixture into your bowl of sugared up strawberries and stir. You just want to make sure everything is mixed together well for a few minutes. That’s it! Yes, that’s it. Tada, strawberry jam!!

Step 5: Okay, you need to pour your jam into containers. I put a few in glass jars that I am going to use or give as gifts, and then the rest in a plastic container that will go in the freezer. Make sure to leave some room/space at the top to allow for expansion in the freezer.

Step 6: Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours to set up. Then stick in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks and you can freeze the rest. This can all be done in about 15 minutes plus your resting time.

This makes about 5 cups of jam, so it is great as gifts for the holidays. The jam tastes sooo good! I found that I am using this jam all the time now, on pancakes, toast, etc. I also put a teaspoon on my homemade yogurt from Week 1. It gives it a little sweetness and is all natural. (well there is a ton of sugar, but still natural) I am going to try some of the other recipes in the box of Sure Jell, but this is an easy and great way to have something homemade and boy are friends impressed with homemade jam! Enjoy.

Recipe credit to: The Box of Sure Jell pectin

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