Canning, for some, may sound a little bit difficult, but it's really not. It's actually quite easy once you get into a groove, and you build up confidence. There are lots of ways to jam... as there are lots of canning recipes out there, period. Chris (my mother in law) and I prefer to go whatever route uses the least sugar. Why take all that yum-tastic fruit and turn it to sugar? No, no. That won't do.
If you are thinking about canning, you should definitely check out Ball's website. It's chocked full of great calculators, recipes, and other goodies to get you on your way. We generally follow recipes when we can, and on some points we are so good we just go with it--no recipe required. With the jam, we used Ball's recipe, which I have included at the bottom.
There is just nothing like freshly picked strawberries! We picked 17 pounds... which was a lot. We got 3 full batches of 10 half pints. That's 30 cans of jam!
So you gotta take off the tops of the berries, and then wash 'em real good!
On one layer, you wanna mash them. And by one layer, it means place them in a single layer and mash them up; then repeat until you have a while batch mashed. For one batch you need 6 and 2/3 cups mashed strawberries.
In a pot you place your strawberries, water, and pectin. You bring it to a real rollllllllling boil and then add the sugar and boil again for a minute.
Then you pour it into your half pint jars. Cover with lids and bands and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes!
Remove them from the canner after the 10 minutes and allow them to cool. Try not to disturb them, but do make sure that they are sealed. Out of the 30 cans, only one of ours didn't seal! That one we used right away, but you could also just reprocess the can again for 10 more minutes.
Strawberry Jam (from the Ball website's pectin calculator for 10 half pints)
You Will Need:
6 2/3 cups strawberries
1 2/3 cups water
7 1/2 tablespoons low or no sugar pectin
2 1/2 cups sugar
Dab of butter
10 half pint canning jars with bands and lids
1 water bath canner
jar grabber (for removing cans from water bath)
First you need to sanitize and heat your cans. We have found that the best way to do this is to put your jars in the dishwasher while you are doing everything else. If they aren't clean, run a full cycle. If they are clean, just run the rinse cycle.
This is also a great time to get your canner going too. Fill it with water
For the lids and bands, we like to place them in a small pan filled with water and bring it to a boil over the stove. This way, everything is pretty much ready at the same time.
For the jam:
Remove the tops from the strawberries and rinse them.
In single-layer increments, mash the strawberries with a potato masher until you get your desired texture. We like our jam a little fruity, as it were! Mash and measure 6 and 2/3 cups strawberries.
Add your mashed strawberries to a large pot. Add water and butter. Slowing stir in your low to no sugar pectin.
Stirring constantly, bring the jam to a rapid boil. Once at a boil, stir in the sugar and bring once again to a boil. Boil for one minute.
Remove the pan from heat and fill your jars leaving about an inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Wipe the tops of the jars clean. Secure with lids and bands.
Place the cans 5 at a time in the bath canner (which should be boiling). Process for 10 minutes. Remove from bath.
You should hear a "pop" sound when the cans are sealed. And there should be a smooth top where the pop top was sucked toward the can.
Let the cans cool about 24 hours.