Just turn a blind eye to the inordinate amount of sugar in this recipe…preserving your strawberries allows you to enjoy their goodness year-round. Really, this jam tastes like heaven.
I’ve also found that having a stash of fruit preserves in your closet comes in handy when you need a last-minute gift for someone! Truthfully though, you have to be an awfully special person in my life to receive a jar of my beloved jam, with all the time and energy and love that goes into each batch.
Jam, jelly, preserves…the terms seem to be used interchangeably but they each describe a continuum of “pulpiness” if you will, with jelly being made from pure, strained fruit juice, free of seeds and pulp, preserves being relatively intact fruit, and jam somewhere in between.
It is pretty difficult to screw up strawberry jam, and if you don’t plan to can it I encourage you to break free from the constraints of a recipe and just boil some mashed strawberries, sugar and pectin together in a saucepan to your heart’s content. You can even experiment with mixing different fruits and seasonings. It should keep in the fridge for two-ish weeks, and in the freezer for months.
If preserving in a boiling water canner, however, the acidity does matter in keeping bacteria at bay, so it is more important to follow a recipe and keep a specific ratio of ingredients that follows USDA guidelines for safety.
This recipe for basic strawberry jam comes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
makes approximately eight 8-oz jars
7 cups granulated sugar
5 cups strawberries, hulled, sliced once and crushed with a potato masher or fork (do not strain liquid)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 package (1.75 oz) regular pectin
Place clean mason jars on a rack in a boiling-water canner, or a stock pot large enough to submerse jars in water (top of jars should be at least three inches below water). Bring water to a simmer.
Clean lids and screw bands and bring lids to a gentle simmer in a saucepan to sterilize.
Measure sugar in a bowl and set aside.
Put crushed strawberries/juice into a large pot. Add lemon juice. Dissolve pectin into the mixture. Bring pot to a full rolling boil.
Add the sugar all at once stirring constantly. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for one minute.
Remove from heat and skim off as much foam as possible. Your first few jars will probably have a bit of foam; that is okay.
Remove a jar from the canner with tongs. Ladle strawberry jam into each jar, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Wipe rim of jar and place lid on top. Carefully screw on a band until it is tight. Return jar to canner and repeat with the next jar.
When all jars are filled, lower rack into the canner and make sure there is at least 1 inch of water above all jars. Bring to a full rolling boil and then process (continue boiling) for ten minutes. Water must be boiling hard for the entire duration of the 10 minute processing time.
When ten minutes are up, remove from heat and wait at least 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. The next day, check for a proper seal — the lids should no longer be “popped.”
These cans will keep for about a year for your strawberry enjoyment 🙂