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Friday, May 10, 2013

Strawberry Jam

A few weeks ago my daughter, some friends, and I went and picked strawberries at our local berry farm.  We picked four pounds and I only payed $4, so awesome!!!  I froze the berries because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them.  Today I decided to try my hand at making homemade jam a process which has always kind of scared me.  So I went in search of a recipe with no pectin (I didn't feel like going to the store).  I found this recipe and halved it and hubby, kids, and neighbors have been enjoying it.  Trust me it wasn't nearly as intimidating to make as I had pictured in my mind.  :)

5 C. crushed strawberries*
4 1/2 C. granular sugar
1/3 C. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, scraped (I used a teaspoon of vanilla extract)

Gently wash berries, cut off the tops, and place in a large bowl to mash up with a potato masher or large fork. ( I used my hands)
Measure out berries into a very large heavy pot to confirm you have five cups.  (This is after you mash them)
Use a very large pot because the jam will expand while boiling. 
Add the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean scrapings.
Place three small plates in the freezer.
Stir mixture and set over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. 
Increase the heat to high and stay with the pot because the jam will begin to intensely boil. 
Stir regularly to keep the bottom from burning. 
Boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until you notice some resistance when stirring.
Place a small amount of jam on one of the cold plates and place back in the freezer for a minute. 
Run your finger through the middle of the dab of jam. 
If it doesn’t run back together, the jam is ready. 
If it does run back together, continue to boil the jam for another minute or two and try testing it again.

*This is for canning

Transfer jam to hot sterile jars (simmer jars in a large pot of water while making the jam), leaving a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar. 
Seal with sterile lids and turn upside down on a dish towel to cool.
When jars are completely cool, test the lids.
If they spring back when pressed, they have not sealed; store those jars in the fridge. 
Jars with taut lids are sealed and can be stored in the cupboard until opened.

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