Monday, May 28, 2012

We Made Homemade Strawberry Jam

 I made homemade strawberry jam today with the kids.  Kaela was busy cleaning her room so she started to help but disappeared.  I got Daeton to push up his sleeves and help me.  I try to make jam once or twice a year but this year I read up more and bought some more tools.

When I made strawberry jam last year I had entered some in the Ventura Country Fair and got a 'do not pass go' ribbon due to mold on the seal.  MAJOR bummer.  I've never had that happen, ever.  So, this year I started following a fan page on Facebook called SB Canning.  Then I bought Ball Blue Book: guide to Preserving.  And I've been studying.  One thing I never did was totally process in boiling water for 10 minutes after the jam was jarred.  I purchased (at the same time as the Ball book) a large pot with a metal shelf-thing to easily drop down or pick up all the jars in the hot water.  I also purchased a lid and ring magnet wand.  WHAT a great invention!!! I'll post the links of these below.

So, to catch up with the photos.  I have clean rings and lids in the boiling water.  Clean jars in hot water in the sink and strawberries that were 99 cents-a-pound at the grocery store (half the price of the roadside stands but still local strawberries).

I bought three pounds of strawberries.  :-) YUM! 

Daeton helped chop them into a squishy mess.
I put them in the pot and started the mixture.  Pectin, lemon juice and sugar are the other remaining ingredients. 

The WHOLE house smelly like sweet strawberries.

Cheese from me too!

So, when it was all mixed and at a rolling boil for a solid minute I had to do speedy things so wasn't able to get pictures. 

I removed the pot from heat.  Skimmed the foam.  Ladled into clean jars.

Wiped the top and put on the lids and rings then I put them into the pot of hot water to water process them.  THIS was my first time, but it seemed to work well.  I got the water boiling and left the jars there for 10 minutes, removed from heat, let cool down for five minutes then removed, dried off and put all the jars on a dry towel.
 I filled one large jar, two medium, three small and had some left over do to 1/2 of another large jar (and I put that one in the fridge right away).

I love how beautiful they look in the sunlight.

Can't wait to taste it with breakfast in the morning.  Definitely rewarding work.

Tomorrow I'm going to see if I have time to buy some vinegar, onion and garlic to make homemade ketchup with tomatoes from our garden.

Also itching to try the recipe for homemade vanilla extract.  Would be great to make now and put in pretty jars to give away at Christmas.
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