Last weekend I went out and picked a bunch of strawberries. I tried to keep some sort of track of it, but somewhere around 9 quarts I lost count. I filled a market basket and then some. I know you should always put berries in shallow containers to prevent smooshing (yes technical term) but I knew they were just going home to be made into jam so I wasn’t terribly worried about it. The season here is just about over for strawberries so the U-Pick field for my CSA was pretty well picked over but that didn’t stop me!
I plugged in my headphones and sat my butt down and picked every decent berry I could reach. Then I’d scoot forward and pick some more. I got super lucky, since it was the 4th of July I didn’t have a whole lot of company out in the field, and the breeze kept most of the bugs off me! It took about 2 hours to pick all my berries and I was quite happy with my haul! (and my 10% off coupon I got to use for being a member).
Luckily I have the most amazing partner in crime (I mean homesteading) and he helped me sort and process ALL THOSE STRAWBERRIES!!
By the time we were done it looked like we had both gone on a berry killing spree. But we had a great big bowl of process and cut up strawberries ready for the jam pot. Which took me two days to get too! Sometimes life gets busy! But eventually they went on the stove.
I like to use pineapple juice as my liquid, it gives the jam a little bit of extra flavor and keeps it from being too overpowered by the sugar. Which I also added a lot of, and pectin. I know I know jam is precise and you have to add perfect amounts….eehhh. Not how I roll in the kitchen. I try, I really do try to keep track of things and such but it’s just not how my brain works. Fortunately, I have always gotten away with it, baking, jam making, lotion making I generally have really good results even with my less than precise rule following.
So anyways, back to the jam. I got to do some more smooshing and since the berries had sat in the fridge for a few days they had really gotten a chance to give off some extra juice! I don’t like super big chunks so I brought out the handy dandy immersion blender (which for some reason sat in a box in my pantry for about 5 years after I got it as a hand me down) but now I have conquered my fear and we have become good friends. Stir, Stir, Stir, Stir, scooped off the foam and went about finding all the jars I would need. I don’t have a dishwasher (major bummer) so I have to wash them all by hand so my preferred method is filling the sink with extra hot water and letting the clean jars soak while the jam (salsa, veggies, whatever) cooks. The tops went in a boiling pot of water and after drying the jars I got to fill them with yummy goodness. Next step was processing. At least 5 minutes (yay for living in the lowlands) and listening for that beautiful ting! I’d say we’ll be good for jam for a while, and the beautiful thing is, if it isn’t perfect than we will have plenty of strawberry sauce for ice cream, angel food cake, and pancakes/waffles!
Nothing more satisfying than filling my pantry with home made goodness.
We’ll be set for at least a year and all the little jars make great thank you presents for co-workers, friends and anyone else you like enough to share the bounty with! A couple more weeks and blueberry season will be in full swing and we’ll do it all over again (luckily blueberries will be a lot easier to process since we’ll be getting twice as many for my blueberry loving man). We’ll also be making blueberry muffins, blueberry bread, freezing whole blueberries and I’ll be trying my hand at blueberry jam for the first time!! Can’t wait. So what’s your favorite jam? In the fall we’ll be picking apples and I’m going to try jelly for the first time. Eek 😉