I guess it was only a matter of time before our gardening led to canning.
With so much produce coming into season at once, we had to figure out a way to “put it up.”
Luckily, we were able to get some canning supplies for not too much money and set out to use the fruits and vegetables of the season.
First up was hot pepper jelly, a recipe for which can be found here. But what we were really excited about was homemade strawberry jam.
Just like my grandma makes!
The recipe is not too difficult:
- 5 cups strawberries, hulled and mashed
- 5 cups sugar
- 4 Tb. lemon juice
- 1 package low-sugar fruit pectin
To start, we laid all the strawberries out on a baking sheet and took off the tops and bitter white hulls with a spoon. Then we smashed them with a potato masher until only little bitty pieces of the strawberries remained.
Transfer the strawberry mash to a big soup pot and add in the lemon juice and pectin (make sure it’s low sugar, or else the jam won’t set right). Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil; add sugar and return to a boil for just over a minute. Remove any foam from top.
Now, it’s time to can, can. There are lots of web sites and books that can show you exactly how to do this. It’s important to keep everything not only clean, but sterile, and to follow directions exactly. That said, if you’re organized and have the right equipment, it really isn’t hard at all. But, it will make your kitchen a little steamy.
We filled 8-ounce mason jars with the jam, leaving about 1/4 inch of head room (space to the top of the rim), then sealed the cans and let them sit overnight to cool off. One little jar’s seal didn’t take,and was deluged with water, so we had to toss it. Another jar wasn’t quite full, so we devoured it right away. The rest are going to some lucky friends and family.
But there will be more batches of this and other preserves. Stay tuned!