Easy Strawberry Jam. We be jammin’.
For years, I made Easy Freezer Jam, but freezer space is such a finite thing. What I really wanted was a jam that tasted as fresh as freezer jam, but would also hold up to canning. But whenever I tried canning jam, it would never thicken properly, and it was always so sweet that it hurt my teeth. Thankfully, at the Mother Earth News Fair a few years ago, I was introduced to Pomona’s Pectin thanks to Sherri Brooks Vinton, author of Put ’em Up! Making strawberry jam with Pomona’s was love at first bite. And now I get to make Easy Strawberry Jam exactly how I like it – not too sweet and tasting of spring.
First, a little tutorial on Pomona’s, cause I couldn’t figure out how to use it at first. Pomona’s comes with two little packages; calcium powder, and pectin. Pectin is the component that is added to jam to that makes it “gel”. Most brands need insane amounts of sugar to create that perfect gel. Pomona’s pectin is activated by the calcium with just a touch of sugar. :confetti:
This is the calcium powder. You mix 1/2 tsp of it with 1/2 cup of water. It’s gonna last you a long time!
Can I share a pro tip with you? Yes? No? Oh well, I can’t hear you because this is just a computer screen and I’m sitting on my couch. I really hate canning. Yep, it’s true. But for me, it is one of those things where the good outweighs the bad, so I keep doing it. But, the summer is such a horrible time to can because the garden is vomiting fresh produce that demands immediate attention, and the kitchen is stupid hot. Now, with many items, strawberries included, I simply freeze the berries and wait until fall to can. To freeze berries like a boss, lay some parchment on a rimmed baking sheet, and add the berry in a single layer. Once the parchment is covered with berries, add another layer of parchment and fill that up with berries. Repeat until you have a layer cake of berries. Freeze for 12 hours, and then remove the berries and store in freezer-proof Ziplocs. Since you froze them individually, you can remove as many berries as you want when you need them. Unless of course you like using an ice pick to hack at a giant brick of berries when you just needed 1 cup.
Every year just prior to conference week, Jack’s school sends out a sign-up form for all the parents. They set a theme and ask for food/dish donations for lunch for the teachers and staff. As the daughter of a former elementary teacher, I can tell you long those days are during conference week. And everyone gets hungry, and cranky talking to families day after day. I love how his school handles this, and it’s a fun way for the parents to give back to the people who make the school run. Last fall, their theme was soup and carbs. I sent homemade biscuits and home canned strawberry jam. I went to get the dish the day after and the lovely office staff were raving about the fresh taste of the jam. That is why I will forever use Pomona’s Pectin to make jam. You cannot compare the taste of lightly sweetened jam to the overly sugared product that most people make. Pomona’s allows for the freshness of the fruit to shine. Pomona’s is the secret sauce of my Easy Strawberry Jam, and it owns my heart.
Making this recipe or others?
A step by step tutorial on making your own homemade Easy Strawberry Jam.
Prepare your water bath canner by filling it with water, and setting it on the stove.
Wash and sanitize the jars. I put them in a lasagna pan with 2 inches of water, and then put everything in the oven at 250 degrees.
Wash your lids, and put them in a clean crockpot filled with 4 inches of water. Set the crockpot to high and put your lids on there.
Rinse the strawberries.
Remove the tops, and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. I adore my dutch oven for so many reasons, and jam season is another one of those reasons!
- Heat the fruit until the juices start to bubble. At this point, you can mash the fruit with a potato masher, but I prefer to be lazy and use my immersion blender. The goal isn't to puree the fruit totally; I leave some chunks in there for delicious effect.
- Mix the sugar and pectin, set aside.
Add the lemon juice and calcium water, stir. Add the sugar/pectin mixture, and bring to a boil. Stir constantly for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, and stir for 5 more minutes. At the end of the 5 minutes, remove any foam that remains.
Add the jam to your prepared jars, and leave 1/4 inch of headspace at the top. Headspace is the amount of room between the top of the food, and the rim of the jar.
Wet a clean rag, and wipe the rim to make sure there isn't any sticky jam on there.
- Using a magnetic canning lid lifter, add a clean lid to the jar, and tighten a ring around the jar.
- Using canning tongs, add your jars to the boiling water, and put the lid on. Process (boil) for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars to some place where they can be undisturbed for 12-24 hours.
After everything has cooled, check the seal by pushing down on the middle of the lid. If it doesn't give way, it's sealed. If the lid bows a little bit, put that in the fridge and use it within 3 weeks.
Label the jar, and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.