One berry, two berry, pick me a…

Hello again, this is another “catch-me-up” post!  I had totally forgotten about these photographs taken early last year, until Jason unearthed them.  Every year my family preserves things like peaches, tomatoes, and strawberries, my favorite being the strawberries that we make into strawberry jam.   Seriously, the stuff is like crack, you will want to put it on everything plus eat it with a spoon like a goop.  To be honest  I need to get the instructions from my dad on how we make our family jam.  HOWEVER, in lieu of this I will include, at the end, another recipe for jam from awesome blog Food in Jars.  Their recipe is almost exactly like the one my family goes by.

We literally use the exact same mason jars every single year, cleaned out and stored in the basement since the last year’s supply was eaten.  The canning process is long and hot… it takes a long time to chop all of those strawberries!  I recommend making a coffee cake before hand to munch on, and to cover with the cast-away strawberry foam that forms on top of the boiling sugar and strawberries and is skimmed off and kept aside in a bowl to a) fill any empty space in an almost full but not quite full  jar of jam and b) be eaten on top of said coffee cake.

Basically, jam is a combination of sugar, strawberries, and pectin combined at high temperatures and poured into sterilized jars that are ready to be immediately sealed, boiled and then cooled.  You really need to make sure that you follow your instructions to sterilize your jars appropriately; food stuffs not preserved properly can result in nasty nasty sickness that I don’t even want to think about.  This being said, canning is nothing to be afraid of!  I highly recommend checking out the blog Food in Jars for further ideas and instructions.

STRAWBERRY JAM

* verbatim from  Food in Jars *

10- 11 cups of chopped strawberries

5 cups of sugar

2 lemons, zested and juiced

2 packets of liquid pectin (1 box total)

1 large stock pot

multiple clean dish towels

14 half pint mason jars + lids

1.)   Fill your canning pot 2/3 with water and put on the stove to bring to a boil (I used a large stock pot for this much jam).

2.)   Put berries, sugar and lemon zest/juice in a large pot and cook over medium high heat for about fifteen minutes. You want to really boil the fruit down so that they begin to look syrup-ish

3.)   Bring to a rolling boil and squeeze in the pectin.

4.)   There will be a bunch of pink foam on top of the jam. Skim this off with a large spoon and put aside in a bowl.  Let the mix boil for approx. ten more minutes until the jam again looks very syrup-y.

5.)   Lay out your clean jars. Put you lids in a saucepan of hot water to soften the sealing compound.  Bring a kettle to a boil now as well, in case you need more boiling water for your canning pot.

6.)   Fill the jars.  Wipe the rims with the edge of a towel dipped in boiling water.  Top with lids and screw on sealer rings. 

7.)   Put a rack or folded towel into the bottom of your canning pot (you don’t want jars to be in direct contact with the bottom). 

8.)   Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water.  You can stack them on top of each other if necessary.

9.)   Process for ten minutes in the boiling water.  When the time is up remove the jars and put them on a towel on the counter.  When the lids make a ping noise it indicates that they are sealed.  If there seems to be an air bubble in the lid (it goes up and down when you press on it) they aren’t sealed.  Jars that don’t seal need to be refrigerated immediately.

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