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How To Make Strawberry Jam

| May 21, 2012 | 29 Comments

How To Can Strawberry Jam
We’re canning and preserving Strawberry Jam today on Taste of Southern.  This recipe is one of the best ways to get started in the home canning and preservation of jams and jellies.  It’s really easy and produces a treat that the family can enjoy anytime of the year.  Only a few special tools are required and you’ll be on your way to making jams and jellies just like grandma did.

 

How To Make Strawberry Jam
Recipe:  How To Make Strawberry Jam
How To:  Can Strawberry Jam

 

Strawberries pretty much got me started in the processes of Home Canning and Food Preservation.  And, I started pretty late in life with doing it.  But, since then, I’ve become an Award Winning Food Preservationist.  How cool is that?  Does that mean I know it all?  Absolutely not…and…I highly suggest that you read my little Disclaimer at the bottom of this post. 

It does however mean that, I can at least maybe get you started or perhaps even offer a bit of a refresher on this fascinating world of making your own Homemade Jellies and Jams…..just like Grandma use to do…..maybe even better. 

I was going to say that I wasn’t really sure what peaked my interest in home canning but, then I remembered exactly what it was.  For years I wanted to make sweet pickles just like my mother use to make.  I loved her sweet pickles.  I didn’t actually eat a lot of them but, they were just so good.  The best part was that I knew that those sweet pickles were pretty much the “Secret Ingredient” in many of the dishes that my mother prepared on a regular basis.  She used the juice of those pickles in her Chicken Salad, Deviled Eggs, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw and other such things.  They were just flat out awesome if I must say so myself.  Apparently it wasn’t just me either.  Everyone loved my moms cooking.  I just wished I’d paid better attention to what she did when she was with us.  Still, that’s what our Taste of Southern home on the Internet is all about, trying to save what little I DO know about not only mama’s cooking but, other family and friends as well.

So, a few years back, I finally gave it a try.  I made my first batch of sweet pickles based on her recipe.  It was a 3 week process overall and that sort of got me thinking about trying some other things.  Yep, the pickles turned out pretty good and certainly brought back a good number of memories for me. 

I started reading about canning and preserving here on the Internet and, as I did, my interest peaked into giving some other things a try.

A longtime friend told me about some Strawberry Freezer Jam she had made and how simple it was.  She gave me the recipe.  (You can find the recipe all over the Internet it seems.)  I purchased my first bucket of Strawberries and gave it a try.  The Freezer Jam turned out to be really good and I was pretty proud of what I’d done.  But, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about doing some actual canning with a canner and, that Water Bath Process I’d watch mama do and, that recently I’d been learning about.

Before long, I’d purchased my own canning pot, a few canning jars and the other needed ingredients.  I think I studied the process of how to make the jam for days before I actually got up the nerve to give it a try.  I made sure I had everything I needed then….I bought more Strawberries.

I sweated it out in the kitchen that day, working through the entire process, reading notes taped to the kitchen cabinet above the sink as I went.  Then, as I lifted the jars out of the Water Bath Process canner, I started hearing those familiar “PING…PING…PING” sounds that instantly took me back to days in the kitchen with mama.  I think I was totally hooked based just on hearing that sound of success.

As it turned out, I must have got lucky because my very first jars “set” properly.  I was SO PROUD.  Ha!!!  From there, I went on to making Fig Preserves..several times….and far more than I could ever use.  Amazingly, I got a little more comfortable with it and, it got just a little easier each time.

I could go on and on much longer but, you’re here to see how it’s done.  Again, I urge you to seek out more than just the information I’ve included here.  Learn as much as you can if you have no prior experience but DO….dive on in and give it a try.  Fortunately as it turns out, Strawberry Jam is one of the best recipes you could probably get started with.  I do hope you’ll give it a try and I also hope you’ll leave me a Comment below and share your thoughts, memories and, experiences with me and our readers here at Taste of Southern.

So….if you’re ready….Let’s Get Cooking!

 

Strawberry Jam ingredients.
Strawberry Jam:  You’ll need these ingredients and a few recommended pieces of equipment.

 

Strawberry Jam, setting up the equipment you'll need.
This is pretty much my typical stove setup for most of the items that I can and preserve.  On the back left side burner, I place a smaller pot for warming up the jar bands and lids.  On the front burners, I have a large pot to cook the jam in on the left side and,  on the right front burner, that’s my enameled canning pot.  The canning pot has a rack that fits inside to hold the jars and a lid.  It’s a fairly simple piece of equipment that can be found in the South in places like WalMart, some grocery stores or hardware stores.  You could also just use a large stockpot if that’s all you have.

Sometimes you might find one at a Yard Sale or Garage Sale.  If that’s the case, make sure the pot doesn’t have any holes or chips in the enamel surface.  The enamel can sometimes chip off and the pot could have started to rust or even rusted out long enough to form a hole.  Just check it carefully before you purchase it and , check it each year when you start canning your fruits and vegetables.

 

Strawberry Jam, water level in canner.
I begin by filling the canning pot about 3/4ths full of water.  Then, I’ll place it on my largest burner and turn the heat up to about medium and let the water start warming up.  I’m going to need a little time to prep the Strawberries so, I can just let the water heat up gradually for the time being.  Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the pot has been washed well in hot, soapy water and is as clean as you can get it.

I’ll be using this pot to sterilize my jars once the water gets up to boiling temperature.

 

Strawberry Jam, getting the lids and bands ready.
I fill the smaller pot just under half full with water and place it on the lowest heat setting my stove has.  Then, I add the jar lids, placing them rubber side up and just let them gradually warm up.  The red ring is the rubber part of the lid, the rest is metal.  The rubber needs to be softened a bit in the warm water to insure a better seal.  When the lid is placed on the jar, the rubber part comes in contact with the top rim of the jar.  The band is then placed on top of the jar and screwed down finger tight.  This rubber ring is what seals the jars tight in the process and must always be handled with care. 

Jar lids, pictured above, should NEVER be re-used to try and seal jars again during canning of something else.  They are a one use only product.  Of course, you’ll keep them to close up the jar as long as you have your jam or jelly, that’s OK…just remember you can’t use them again to seal jars.  You’ll need brand new one’s for that purpose.

 

Strawberry Jam, washing the jars prior to canning.
While the water in the canning pot is heating up and, the bands and lids are slowly warming up, go ahead and place the canning jars you’ve selected in a sink of hot soapy water.  Canning jars are another part of the process that can be re-used from one year to the next.  Whether you’re using new jars or old jars, carefully inspect the tops and the entire jar for any chips or cracks.  Again, if in doubt, throw it out.  Better to err on the safe side.  Scrub each jar very well both inside and outside, making sure you remove any leftover jams or jellies etc., that might have been hiding in the bottom or around the rims of the jars.

You’ll also want to wash the jar BANDS that you’ll be using.  Jar bands CAN be re-used from one year to the next, as long as they are in good condition.  If using older bands, check them for rust and overall condition.  If in doubt, discard it.  You’ll want to wash them in hot soapy water before using them to make sure no food particles are on the inside of the band.  You should also wash any new bands you might be using.  Only takes a minute and worth the safety factor. 

 

Strawberry Jam, rinse the jars along with the bands and sit aside.
Once they’re good and clean, set them aside on a clean towel.  I didn’t have them all in the picture above during washing but, these are the jar lids and jars I’ve prepared.  I think it’s better to prepare more jars, bands and, lids than you think you might actually use.  It doesn’t hurt to have them handy and ready at least.

 

Strawberry Jam, sterilize the jars.
Once the water in the canner has got up good and warm, I use some tongs and carefully place each jar in the water.  You just want some warm water at this point.  Once all the jars are inside and fully covered with water you can increase the heat and bring the water and jars up to a rolling boil.  We need to let them boil for a good 10 minutes or longer to STERILIZE them prior to adding the cooked Strawberry Jam. 

 

 

Strawberry Jam, preparing the jar bands.
I put my bands right on top of my lids and let them warm up gradually right along with the lids.  You don’t want to boil the lids as this could severely damage the rubber seals on them.  Just get them warm and let them stay in the water until needed.

 

Strawberry Jam, prepping the Strawberries.
While the jars are warming up, you can go ahead and start the prep of the Strawberries.  I just place a colander in my sink and dump the Strawberries right along side of it. 

 

Strawberry Jam, removing the caps from the berries.
Use a paring knife and carefully remove the green cap from the berries.  Cut right beneath the cap and try not to cut too deep into the berry.  You’ll also want to cut out any bruised spots you might find or, just discard any bruised or bad berries you might come across during this process.

 

Strawberry Jam, remove all the caps from the berries.
Remove all the caps and throw them away.

 

Strawberry Jam, wash each berry under cold running water.
I’ve said it before, YES, I wash each berry one at a time.  It’s quicker than you might think.  I just hold each one under lightly running cold water and gently scrub it between my fingers to remove any dirt or leftover caps and stems.  It’s also a great way to find any badly bruised spots that might need to be cut away.  Place the washed berries back in the clean colander.

 

 

  Strawberry Jam, rinse and drain the berries.
Lightly rinse the whole thing once again and just let them drain for a few minutes. 

While they drain, make sure the water temperature of the jars in the canning pot has come up to a gentle rolling boil.  Also, make sure ALL the jars are completely under water.  Add more hot water from your sink faucet if needed.  The jars will need to stay at this boiling point for at least 10 minutes or longer.  While that’s taking place, we’ll start cooking up the jam.

 

Strawberry Jam, add the berries to the pot.
Place the berries in the pot you’re going to be cooking them in.  Make sure you’re using a large enough pot for the job.  A good rule of thumb is that the pot should be just about halfway full.  Now, lets get ready to mash up some berries…ready?

 

Strawberry Jam, mashing up the berries.
There are certainly more ways than one to mash up the berries.  You could do it with something like an old fashioned potato masher.  You could also place them in a food processor or blender and pulse them for a brief moment or two.  Even a large slotted spoon would probably work, anything to break up the berries.  Here, I’m using an Immersion Blender that I had recently purchased at a local auction I attend.  I got it new for just a dollar or two and it made quick work…very quick work….of mashing up the berries.  I may have even gone a bit too far with this…I was just having so much fun with it.  Seriously though, you don’t want to PUREE the berries, jams normally have some pieces of fruit in them. 

Food Preservation Lesson:  Jam is described in the dictionary as “a preserve of whole fruit, slightly crushed and boiled with sugar.”  What it doesn’t say is that PECTIN is added to the sugar to aid in the proper set or gel of the fruit, in this case…Strawberries. 

Pectin is a white carbohydrate that occurs in ripe fruit, especially apples.  Most of the powdered Pectin you’ll find at the grocery store is made from apples.  Thus, it’s a natural product that you’re adding to the berries.  It helps to thicken or “gel” the jam or jelly.

Jam is typically made with the fruit or berry being crushed and allowed to remain in the finished product along with it’s juices.  The degree to which the berry is crushed is up to you.  You may like some chunks of berries in your jam or you may not.  Jelly on the other hand, is normally made by straining out just the juice from the fruit or berry being used.  Jellies are free of any pulp of the fruit.  

End of lesson.

…..

 

Strawberry Jam, measuring the pulp.
Once the berries are crushed, you’ll need to measure the pulp to see how much sugar you’re going to need to make the jam.  Pour it into a measuring cup, make note of the amount and pour that into another container.  Do this until you have an accurate measurement of all of your fruit pulp.

 

Strawberry Jam, measure out the amount of sugar you will need.
Using the number of cups of fruit, measure out the proper amount of sugar that you need.  You’ll want to work with small batches of Strawberries as you make your jam, so use the ratio included in the pectin box recipe to determine how much sugar you will need based on how much crushed fruit you have.  I’m not listing an exact amount because what I made and what you will make might differ.  Use the info in the recipe and you’ll be fine.

NOTE:  Most boxes of Sure-Jell or any pectin you use will have a simple recipe on what proportions of sugar, fruit and pectin are needed.  Consult that information for making your jam.  I’m just trying to give you a visual idea of the process it takes.

 

Strawberry Jam, heat up the berry pulp.
Place the pulp back in your cooking pot and place it on medium heat on the stove top.  Keep a close watch on everything at this point. 

From here on out, things are going to start happening quickly and need to be worked on as quick as possible.  The first time or two you can any type of things, it can start feeling a little hurried or rushed.  Just relax and follow the directions and you’ll have Strawberry Jam in no time.

Your jars should be boiling gently at this time with a timer counting down that they have been sterilized for a good 10 minutes or longer.  The bands and lids should be in warm water, not hot and ready and waiting to be used.

Your work area should be clear and setup with enough space to work with.  Towels should be handy, along with mitts, to handle the hot products.  Planning ahead for this moment will make things go a lot easier….trust me.  Just don’t let it get the best of you.  You Can Do It!!!!

 

Strawberry Jam, adding the pectin.
Now, open the pack of pectin and slowly stir it into the berry mixture.  Add it slowly and stir it briskly to keep it from clumping up.  Sprinkle a little in at a time and stir it until it’s mixed or dissolved into the mixture.  

Note:  It’s also possible to mix the pectin in with about a half cup of the sugar you’ll be using and slowly stir this in.  Some recipes on the pectin boxes might recommend that you do it this way.  They say it helps to keep the pectin from clumping.  I think you’ll be OK either way, as long as you just….keep stirring away.   

 

Strawberry Jam, keep stirring.
Raise the heat just a little above medium and keep stirring.  You’re going to bring the berry pulp up to a full boil, one that can’t be stirred away.  I use a wooden spoon so I can safely scrape the bottom of the pot and keep anything from sticking or burning.

Please note that the pectin can easily be overcooked and lose it’s ability to thicken…according to the experts.  I’ll take their word for it.  Again, pectin is a naturally concentrated apple product and some jams, jellies or preserves can be prepared without even using it.  If you left it out, you’d have to cook the berries longer to reduce the liquid down to a thick mixture.  The longer it’s cooked, the more flavor and vitamins are lost in the process.  Adding the pectin reduces the cooking time needed.  It’s sort of like adding flour or cornstarch to your gravies to thicken them up. 

We could go on and on about pectin it seems.  You’ll find it in both powdered and liquid versions.  You’ll also find some that says No-Sugar-Needed or like what we’re using here….with sugar.  Pectin can help reduce the amount of sugar you use.  Thus, you could use the No-Sugar-Needed version if you’d like to make it as sugar free as possible. 

You’ll find lots of information on canning and freezing here on the Internet and through the local Cooperative Extension Agency in your area.  I highly suggest that you read up and learn more about the whole process, using a reliable source for your information.  Many local Cooperative Extension Services offer classes in canning, jam and jelly making and other home food preservation.  Check your phone book or the internet for the office nearest you.  You may also find restaurants or chef’s in your area that offer classes.  They’re fun, plus they’re a great way to learn and share with others.  It’s not necessary that you take a class but it IS necessary that you follow all the suggested guidelines so you can SAFELY prepare and store your homemade goods.  You’ve gone through the process of making it….make sure it’s safe and will have a good shelf life. 

 

Strawberry Jam, adding sugar and cooking properly.
Once the pectin and fruit has come to a full rolling boil, ADD the Sugar.  Do it gradually, stirring it as you go…but at the same time…do it quickly.  (Does that even make sense?)  In other words, add a little sugar, stir it to let it dissolve or mix in then, add a little more and repeat.  Just keep stirring it as you go.  It’s fixing to start REALLY happening now.

Once ALL the sugar has been added in, bring the mixture back up to a hard boil.  Do this fairly slowly, over medium heat as opposed to a higher heat.  Working the heat up slowly helps to keep the mixture from foaming so much.  You’ll have some foam, that’s expected.  By bringing the heat back up to a rolling boil slowly, you should be able to reduce the amount of foam you’ll have though. 

BOIL IT HARD FOR ONE MINUTE:  As you stir the sugar and all, the mixture will start coming back up to a good rolling boil.  Again, that’s a boil that you can’t stir away.  You’ll see it continue to boil as you stir.  At that point, start a countdown of 60 seconds and continue to let it boil as you stir it for ONE MINUTE.

Remove the jam from the heat and set it on your counter top where you intend to fill the jars. 

FOAM:  I didn’t get any good pictures of it but, the foam will be easily visible in your jam.  It’s that lighter colored pink stuff you see in the picture above.  It’s not a problem and it is edible….it’s just air bubbles after all.  Most people prefer to skim off as much as possible just for appearance sake.  Use a ladle or large spoon and skim off as much as possible and place it on a plate or saucer.  It’s hot so don’t just toss it in the trash right away.  It’ll melt a plastic trashcan liner so just let it cool for now.  It’s time to start filling the jars.

 

Strawberry Jam, remove the sterilized jars.
By this time, the jars in the canner should have had plenty of time to boil and become sterilized.  Use some sterilized tongs (I just slip mine in the water for a few minutes with the jars) then, carefully lift the jars out of the boiling water. 

 

Strawberry Jam, set jars on a towel.
Place them on a folded towel on your counter, near the area where you will fill them.  Go ahead and remove them all and sit them on the towel, then start the next step.

 

Strawberry Jam, set jar on a plate to fill it.
I like to sit my jar on a plate.  Strawberry juice and jam can be messy and hard to clean up.  Place the jar on a plate, then insert your funnel.  Funnels are relatively inexpensive and highly recommended for filling jars.  You can thank me later.

 

Strawberry Jam, ladle the jam mixture into the jar.
Use a ladle and carefully add the hot jam into the jar.  Being careful means making less of a mess.  Again, you can thank me later.  I haven’t even mentioned yet that this stuff is sticky now.  Try not to let it drip on your jars.

 

Strawberry Jam, allow for proper headspace.
Headspace:  The space from the top of the jam in the jar…to the top of the jar….is called “Headspace.”  This space may vary depending on what type of jelly, jam, fruit or vegetable you’re working with.  Always consult your recipe for the proper amount needed for what you’re working on.  You can just “eyeball” it if you’re a pretty good judge of measuring.  Or, you can purchase a tool that you can measure it with.  As a matter of fact, you can purchase a canning “kit” that has a jar lifter, magnetic wand to lift the lids with and, a plastic measuring tool that will measure the amount of headspace.   I’m seriously considering making that purchase. (Smile)  Strawberry Jam normally calls for a Headspace of 1/4 inch.

 

Strawberry Jam, working out the air bubbles.
You can easily see in this picture that my jam is fairly thick at this point.  The next step is to use a knife or skewer to remove any air bubbles that might be in the jar.  Just slip a butter knife in the jar…or in this case, the skewer….and slowly work it around the edges and middle of the jar.  This will allow any air bubbles trapped inside to rise to the surface.  A few bubbles aren’t going to hurt anything so not to worry about those.  Still, you wouldn’t want a LOT of them and it really depends again on what you’re making as to how many air bubbles you might encounter.  Some things seem to have more than others.  Just look for them as you’re working and try to work them up to the top so they can burst. 

 

Strawberry Jam, wipe the top of the jar until clean.
Use a clean damp cloth and carefully wipe the entire rim of the jar.  Work all around the very top part because that’s where the rubber seal in the lids needs to rest.  Any jam on the rim could keep the jar from sealing properly, which in turn, could result in the loss of that jar of jam.  You’ve worked too hard to do that so, wipe the jar until it’s good and clean….and not sticky.

Also, wipe the outside of the jar around the threads to remove any jam that might have dripped on them.  While any food particles on them might not affect the seal, it could cause the band to stick so tight you can’t hardly remove it.  Do your best now for best results later.

 

Strawberry Jam, center the lid on the jar.
Carefully remove the warmed lid from the pot and water it’s been in.  They make a really neat tool called a wand that has a magnet on one end.  You just use the wand to pick up the lid.  Seriously, I’m saving up for one of those, I think it will be a nice investment.  OK….you got me.  I already HAVE all this stuff.  I was just moving a bit too quick to get a few pictures today and I don’t actually have one of me using it…OK?  They do work nicely though.  I used my tongs until I bought one…it came in that kit I mentioned.

Carefully center the lid on the jar, making sure it settles down on top nicely. 

 

Strawberry Jam, apply the band, tighten finger tight.
Use the same wand with the magnet to remove one of the jar bands from the pot of water.  Lower the band over the lid and make sure it’s seated correctly on all the threads.  Don’t force it….just work it gently until it feels right.  Then, use your fingers and snug it up.  They say to finger tighten the band and not use all your strength to tighten it.  You just want to snug it down…finger tight…then you’ll know everything is adjusted properly as we head into the water bath process of canning.

….

 

Strawberry Jam, place the rack in the canner.
Place your rack in your canner.  The rack keeps the jars from sitting directly on the bottom of the pot, which could cause them to break from overheating.  The rack also is designed so you can hook the handles over the top of the canner until you get the jars all situated in the rack.  Then, you lift the rack handles and lower them all into the water at one time so they all process evenly.  How cool is that?

 

Strawberry Jam, place jars in rack.
Place the sealed jars in the rack.  As you can see, they are only part way submerged at this point.  You can mix the sizes of the jars as long as the canner is big enough so that they are fully under water when you lower the rack.

 

Strawberry Jam, submerge the jars.
Lift the handles and lower the rack down into the water.  The jars need to be fully submerged with at least TWO INCHES of water covering the tops of all jars.  Canning pots come in different sizes so make sure your pot is big enough for it’s intended purpose.

Be sure to check the package of pectin that you purchased for the proper amount of processing time you need.  For jam, it’s probably going to be at least 5 minutes or maybe longer.  I’m not including an exact time because the time will vary, strangely enough, depending on the altitude of where you live.  It will change from sea level to higher altitudes as to the number of minutes needed for processing during this water bath method.

WATER BATH:  The process we’re using to make our Strawberry Jam is called the Water Bath Method.  It’s fine for most jams and jellies.  Another process uses a Pressure Canner to can the jars under pressure.  For safety reasons, some produce and meats being canned require the Pressure Canner Method.  We could go into a lot more detail about it but, I suggest you seek more detailed info from your local Cooperative Extension Service or your local library…or hey…maybe here on the Internet using some reliable sources.  We’ll probably be doing some pressure canning later on during the summer for beans, tomatoes etc.  We’ll save the more detailed info on Pressure Canning for those recipes. 

 

Strawberry Jam, cover and boil.
When the water gets back up to a rolling boil…cover the canner and start the timing process.  As I said, for our Strawberry Jam, the pectin box recipe suggests we go 5 minutes, based on our altitude.

 

Strawberry Jam, raise the jars and let them sit a few minutes.
Once the correct amount of time has passed in the water bath process, use some tongs or a couple of large spoons and grasp the canning rack handles.  Carefully lift the jars back up out of the water and hook the handles on the top of the canning pot.  Just let them sit here for a few minutes and rest.  You may or may not hear some of the jars ping as they seal at this point.  It’s OK if they do. 

Prepare a spot on your counter where there is no draft or air conditioning vent nearby.  The jars need to sit for 24 hours undisturbed in a draft free location.  It’s best to NOT sit them directly on the counter, especially if you have marble or granite counter tops.  The jars are very hot and if you place one on a cold counter…it could break.  That wouldn’t be good.  Fold a towel into about 2 layers of thickness and just set the jars on top.  If you have some water on the tops, don’t worry about it, it want hurt anything.  I use a folded paper towel sometimes to carefully wick the water up off the lid but, it really want hurt the next step.

PING. PING. PING.  I love that sound.  I love it when I can count the number of pings that I hear as the jars complete their sealing process.  The “ping” is the sound made by the top center button of the lid being sucked down as air is pulled out of the jar.  It’s an awesome thing to hear them all as they happen. 

RESIST the urge to press on the top of the jars for at least 24 hours.  If you press on the top, it could keep an unsealed jar from sealing.  After 24 hours you can safely press the center to see if the button in the middle of the lid is down.  If it is, you’re pretty much assured of having done it all right.  Shelf life for jams and jellies may vary but, they normally are safe and good for at least one year…maybe longer. 

If after the 24 hours have past and, you happen to find a jar that did not seal, just go ahead and place that jar in your refrigerator and use it first.  It will be perfectly OK.  There could be any number of reasons as to why that one specific jar didn’t seal but don’t fret…just go ahead and enjoy it first.  All the other jars that have sealed properly can now be stored away in the cupboard or your pantry if you have one, until needed.

 

Strawberry Jam, Serve and Enjoy!
Congratulations….you’ve just made your very own Homemade Strawberry Jam.  Print yourself up some labels and mark the jars as to their contents and when they were processed.  They also make great gifts for family and friends.  You may not want to giveaway any from your first batch since you worked so hard on them but, you may just find yourself back at the Strawberry Farm…getting some more and doing it all over again.  I must warn you…home preservation of foods can become a little addictive.

See my label?  I printed up some, wrapped the tops of the jars with those little fancy cloth jar toppers, tied the labels on with string…and gave them to my family at Christmas.  I included several different jars of stuff I’d made last summer and tried to make them all look “gourmet fancy.”  Ha! 

I can’t help but think during the process of canning, about all the stuff that my mom and dad prepared as I was growing up.  I’d be in and out of the kitchen and just catching glimpses of mama as she worked with her canner.  Sadly, I can’t say that I ever gave any real thought to how much time and effort she put into making all those great things for us to enjoy year round.  She did it because she loved us.

Having canned some items of my own, I quickly came to realize that if someone gives you something they have canned themselves….they must think you’re…very special.  There’s a good deal of time, effort and love inside those jars.   

Again, canning is something that you’ll find gets easier the more you do it.  Just do your homework, use this recipe as a guide if you will…then go out and get some of the best, freshest Strawberries you can find.  You’ll be very happy to tell your friends that you did it yourself and, your family will enjoy your efforts for months to come.  There’s just something special about Homemade I think.

Let me know how it turns out if you give it a try.  I’ve got a section below just waiting for YOUR comments.

Enjoy!

 

How To Can Strawberry Jam

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 8 Cups

How To Can Strawberry Jam

This is the one of the best ways to get started in the home canning and preservation of jams and jellies. It's really easy and produces a treat that the family can enjoy anytime of the year. Only a few special tools are required and you'll be on your way to making tasty jams and jellies just like grandma did.

Ingredients

  • 2 - Quarts of fresh, firm, ripe Strawberries.
  • 7 - Cups of Sugar, approx., based on final measured pulp amount.
  • 1 - Box of Sure-Jell or similar fruit pectin

Instructions

  1. Prepare Canning Pot, Cook Pot, and pot for Lids and Bands
  2. Fill canning pot about 3/4ths full of water. Set on medium heat.
  3. Fill pot for lids and bands about half full of water. Set on low heat.
  4. Add new jar lids to the pot setup for lids and bands.
  5. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water. Rinse, set aside.
  6. Place washed jars in canning pot to sterilize them.
  7. Place washed bands in same pot as the new lids, leave on low heat.
  8. Prep the Strawberries by removing the caps, washing the berries and letting drain for a few minutes in a colander.
  9. Place washed berries in cooking pot. Mash berries with a fork or potato masher..or..use an Immersion Blender to break them up.
  10. Measure the amount of berries to confirm about 8 cups. Note amount.
  11. Pour the mashed berries back into the cooking pot set on medium heat.
  12. Slowly add one pack of Sure-Jell pectin, stirring briskly to keep from lumping. Stir in well.
  13. Bring the berry and pectin to a rolling boil, one that can't be stirred away.
  14. Quickly stir in the exact amount of sugar needed, adjusting as needed based on how much pulp you had measured out.
  15. Continue to stir as you bring the berries and sugar back up to a full rolling hard boil.
  16. Boil exactly ONE MINUTE. Remove from heat.
  17. Skim off any excess foam and discard if desired.
  18. Ladle cooked jam into jars, allowing 1/4 inch of headspace to remain.
  19. Insert a butter knife or skewer and move around inside the edges of the jar to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  20. Wipe the rim and threads of the jar to remove any food particles.
  21. Center the lid on the jar.
  22. Place the screw band on top of the lid and thread it down, making sure it is correctly placed, then twist finger tight. Do not use full strength to tighten the band.
  23. Place canning jar rack inside the canner pot, resting handles on top.
  24. Carefully lift each jar and place in the canning rack.
  25. Once rack is loaded, lower the rack into the canner. Fold down handles.
  26. Make sure the jars are under 2 inches of water. Add more hot water from the faucet if needed.
  27. Quickly bring the heat back up to a rolling boil. Cover the canner with a lid and start the timer.
  28. Process in this water bath for 5 minutes or the proper time recommneded for your specific altitude. See the info inside the Sure-Jell or pectin package for more exact times.
  29. After the water bath time is complete, remove the lid, carefully gather the rack handles and raise the rack, placing handles back on top of the canning pot. Let jars rest for a couple of minutes.
  30. Use a jar lifter and carefully remove each jar.
  31. Sit the jar on a folded towel, out of any drafts or away from any air conditioning vents.
  32. Let the jars sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
  33. DO NOT press on the center of the lids for at least 24 hours.
  34. After 24 hours have passed, press the center button of the lid to be sure it is down and doesn't move up and down when pressed.
  35. If the seal buttons are down, your jars are complete and ready to be stored in a cabinet, cupbard or pantry for up to 12 months.
  36. Any jar that doesn't seal should be refrigerated and used first.
  37. Some jams may take up to 2 weeks to properly gel or set.
  38. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service for more detailed instructions or classes.
  39. Enjoy!
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Your Comments:  Have you done any canning or freezing before?  I’d love to hear how it’s been going for you.  Are you a newcomer to the whole process and still can’t get up enough nerve to give it a try?  Maybe we can help.  Whether you’re an old pro and have canned all your life or, maybe you’re just a beginner…I’d love to hear from you in the Comments Section below. 

It’s always great to know that you stopped by and unless you leave us a comment, I’ll never know that you’ve even seen our site.  It will only take a moment.  I promise you that I read each and every one of them and, will try my best to leave you a reply as a way of saying Thank You for your visit.  I know we have lots of visitors that will never take even 60 seconds to type us a note, I hope you’re not going to be one of those.  Your thoughts and comments keep us encouraged to keep adding more to our Taste of Southern home.  I look forward to reading them. 

Be Blessed!!!
Steve

Disclaimer:  The steps listed in our canning and freezing section are to be used as guidelines to help you make your own Homemade Strawberry Jam.  The Water Bath canning process has been around for a long time.  Times change, procedures for safety change.  This information is the best we can provide at the date it was first presented.  I highly suggest that if you have an interest in preserving foods for you, your friends and/or your family, that you seek out more information that just what we’ve presented here.  Stuff happens.  Things go wrong, errors are made, sometimes jams and jellies don’t set.  There’s more information available than what we have given here.  Seek it out and learn all that you can about safe and proper home preservation of foods.  If your jam doesn’t set, it could possibly be processed again and given a second chance of doing what it’s suppose to do.  More information, even classes, are readily available through your local Cooperative Extension Service location.  You’ll find one pretty close to just about anywhere you live.  Even though I’ve won some awards for my Food Preservation, I do not hesitate in encouraging to learn all that you can and proceed with safety….knowing you’ve done all you can to protect anyone that you share your goodies with.  Thank you once again.

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Category: Canning-Freezing

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Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (29)

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  1. Count Down To Canning | August 6, 2012
  1. Angib says:

    Have used your recipe-it is fabulous! Thank you for the easy to follow directions and pictures. I have a burning question-request for help! I recently got 20 pounds of jam strawberries, right from the fields. I used half rigjt waway. I cut the others up and froze them to make next week. When I go to thaw them though, they end up being extremely juicy. How do I adjust for that amount of liquid? I’m pretty new to canning-I follow directions well but am not good at any changes!! Thank you!!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Angib, Thank you for your question. I don’t think you’ll need to worry about any extra juice. Unless it’s just ice crystals that melt, it should contain a lot of flavor. Are you adding sugar to them after you cut them up? The sugar would pull out a good amount of juice. I rinse my berries, remove the caps, and then freeze them as whole berries. Perhaps you should try that next time as it should eliminate the extra juice problem.

      I’m glad you’ve tried the recipe and hope you’ll find some of our other recipes of interest. I do appreciate your comments and trust you’ll stop by for another visit with us… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  2. Pat says:

    Steve ~ Your kindness, humor, and knowledge of jam-making more than offset a grammatical error or two! I haven’t tried the recipe because strawberry season ends in late June or early July here in Upstate NY, and I am not inclined to buy ‘imported.’ I did prepare four batches of pectin-free Concord grape jam a few days ago.
    Also made several batches of bread and butter pickles when cukes were in season. For years, I have made them the way my Mother did, taking vast amounts of time and labor. Now that I have discovered Mrs. Wager’s bread-n-butter pickle mix, the procedure is FAST, the results delicious.
    Thank you for the gracious reply. I will be back again to visit, looking for more recipes, canning tips, and pleasant conversation. Oh, but the way, do you own or have you tried a metal strawberry huller? It is a tiny, but very useful gadget, that makes speedy work of removing stems with a minimum of berry waste. Just curious! ~Pat

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Pat, Thank you for sharing your comments and your question. It sounds like you have been very busy with your canning adventures. Keep it up.

      I have a recipe for Bread and Butter pickles that I’ll be posting soon. It will be too late for most to use this year, but maybe next year. I prepared the recipe for the Our State Magazine website, where I’ve been posting a monthly recipe for the past several months. It’s on their site, but I’ll have to wait awhile before posting it here on Taste of Southern, per our agreement. I mention it, because I entered one of the pints of pickles into our North Carolina State Fair this year (2013) and they won First Place. Also, another recipe that my mother always used to make a Brined Sweet Pickle won First Place. Pardon me for bragging a bit, but I was very happy with both.

      As for the strawberry huller question… I’ve never purchased one but have seen them. Its just one of those gadgets you never think to buy and don’t have around when you actually need it. Maybe next year.

      Thank you for visiting our site and for sharing your thoughts and comments. I do hope you’ll visit often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

      • Pat says:

        Hello again Steve ~ Congratulations on winning first place for the bread and butter pickle entries. I went to the NC magazine site and found your recipe. Seems like a relatively easy procedure that results in a delicious outcome. Since there is no late (“through mid-November in NC”) cucumber season here in Upstate New York, will give it a try next summer. The only veggies remaining for harvest in ny small garden are parsley and kale<~~lasts all winter even under snow, with parsnips and carrots left to dig up as needed through to early spring.

        I am beyond impressed with the exceptional clarity and vibrant colors in the photographs accompanying your recipes. Since only one hand shows in a number of the shots, wonder if you multi-task with a camera in the other hand? For the photos showing two hands, maybe a helper, unless using a time-delay camera setting.

        Regarding the strawberry huller gadget, I have a spare with your name on it. If not appropriate to provide a home address, how about I send it (c/o) to a church or store in the vicinity where they know who you are. It truly is a handy, efficient gadget that prevents wasting any part of the berry.

        Wishing you a happy, blessed, and bountiful Thanksgiving. ~ Pat

        • Steve Gordon says:

          Hi Pat, Thank you for your compliments on the pickles and on our website. The pickles are pretty straight forward and easy to make, so I hope you’ll get to try them next year. I went looking for some at the NC State Farmers Market this past week and they are just all but gone. The few that I saw were wrinkled and the price was up to 1.95 per pound. I paid just over 1.00 per pound back during the late summer. Wishing I had bought more now.

          Thank you for your compliments on our photos. That is one thing that I constantly struggle with. I can never get them to turn out like I want them too. Maybe one day. I shot wedding videos and news video for years and thought I was doing pretty good with that. The still photos still elude me.

          You’re pretty observant with your comments. To answer your questions… I keep my camera on a tripod at all times. I have an extension for the shutter and press that with my right hand to take the pictures. I’m actually right handed but it appears I’m doing all the work with my left hand. As for the rare two-handed shots, I do set a timer on the camera for a 10 second delay. You’ve got me all figured out it seems. I’ll have to be sneakier from now on. Smile.

          Thank you for the offer of the Strawberry Huller. You’re too kind. I’ll send you the address via your Email address… OK? Thank you in advance. I also wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. Do stop by again for another visit… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Pat says:

    Great article, procedure thoroughly described, beautiful illustrations, but I was distracted by a repeated grammatical error. It is PIQUED my interest, not PEAKED.
    Sincerely, in the interest of good grammar, Pat

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Pat, Thank you for pointing out the spelling mistake. I’m glad you took it that easy on me because I know there must have been a bunch more. I’ll try to take a closer peek at my peaks and piques from now on. I hope that maybe you still tried the recipe. I’ll be interested in hearing how it turns out for you.

      Thank you for stopping by today and do visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  4. Maria iasimone says:

    I have never made jams,jellies,nor preserves…a novice am I. Would like to try but need to know if liquid pectin can be used instead of powder. I have searched for powder pectin…to now avail. Was told that using paraffin was essential for some types of jams and jellies. True or false? If true how do I know which ones because many recipes don’t specify. An-n-d many recipes also don’t mention shelving/storing instructions…shelf or fridge?please advise. Also, do you have other great recipes using other fruits .?

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Maria, Thank you for your questions. You shouldn’t have any problems using the liquid pectin instead of the powdered. Just check the package for their instructions and you’ll be fine. As for the paraffin, I know it’s something that was used many years ago, but I think it’s pretty much frowned upon these days as not being safe. Still, I see it in the sections with the pectins, jars and jar lids in many stores. I don’t use it and never have.

      As for storing your canned goods. Most jams, jellies and preserves are considered safe for consumption up to a year or a little longer. They should be properly processed and sealed, then stored in a dark, dry, and cool place. Don’t stack one jar on top of the other when placing it on the shelf. It’s also suggested that you remove the BAND from the jar. That way, if the LID should lose it’s seal, the lid would generally lift up and you could see some of the food product ooze out over time. You would know that jar had spoiled and the contents should not be consumed. Any jars that did NOT seal when you processed them, should be refrigerated and consumed first, usually within several weeks or so.

      You can learn more about the canning process and food safety by visiting this website: http://nchfp.uga.edu/index.html You’ll find some very helpful information there.

      I do hope you’ll try to learn all that you can about home food preservation, especially how to keep it safe. It’s really fun and that way, you’ll know ALL of the ingredients that go into what you and your family are eating. Thank you for the questions, I hope I’ve been some help and that you’ll visit with us again… real soon.

      Yes, I’ve got other recipes for canning on the site and hope to keep adding more. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. donna says:

    I’ve just completed my first batch of strawberry jam. It took me a total of 3 hours! The majority of the time was waiting on my water to boil. You see, I have a glass cooktop, and it takes FOREVER to get water to a boil in a pot larger than 8 qts on that cooktop!. So I did my water bath in 2 batches, one in the stock pot, the other in the 8 qt pot. I heard “pings” from the stock pot batch, only 2 pings from the 8 qt pot batch. They all appear to have gelled pretty thick. The seals from the stock pot all look flat (5 jars), and 2 of the seals from the 8 qt pot(5 jars) look flat. Overall, I’m happy with my jam, and promise not to touch the jars until 24 hours. : ) Thanks for the very detailed instructions. I plan to try again with some raspberries and blackberries when they go on sale. Peaches too.

    Yay! another “ping”!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Donna, I’m glad you have that first batch behind you. Congratulations. I’m sure they will all have sealed and you probably have seen that by now. Sometimes, jars pretty much seal while they are in the canner and you never actually here a ping once you remove the jars. I really enjoy counting the pings as they seal but have learned that if I don’t hear them, not to be concerned. In case you do find some that didn’t seal, you can still use that, just place it in the refrigerator and use it first.

      I had a glass cook top many years ago and thought it was pretty neat at the time. It did have it’s problems though and I was always afraid I might crack it.

      Keep up the great work and best of luck with all of your future canning adventures. I appreciate your comments and hope you’ll stop by for another visit… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Jaimie says:

    Thank YOU so very much this was easy,fast and perfect!! Thank you, Jaimie

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jaimie, You’re very welcome. Thank you for trying our Strawberry Jam and leaving your comments. I appreciate it very much. I do hope you’ll keep up the great work and that you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  7. Cari says:

    Hello my name is Cari and I’m 23. Before I found your website I knew nothing of canning jam. That is other than what I thought to be a magical process when I was a child and only my Granny possessed the power to make it happen! I remember vaguely being young and her picking through green beans while the pressure cooked on her stove. I remember how much it would scare me if it hissed. And then I remember jam! My Granddad fancies blueberry jam and that’s what Granny always makes. Morning’s were the best at my grandparents as a child. I’d always hide under the table and then sneak a bite of Granddad’s toast with jam when I thought he wasn’t looking. Other than that I knew very little of canning or jam. Recently I came into a large amount of strawberries. I didn’t know what to do with them and I hate for food to go to waste so I thought “Hey! why not make jam.” I read your post here 2 nights ago and tonight I made jam. I use the less sugar pectin recipe and with the guidance you have so graciously provided on your site was able to come through with flying colors. When I heard my first can ‘pop’ it scared me, the second and third and so on just brought a wider and wider grin to my face. I was so excited I called Granny and told her and of course she was proud. After I had skimmed the foam I popped it into the fridge to chill, and currently have some jam slathered on some toast and enjoying it thoroughly! It might be the best strawberry jam I’ve ever tasted! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with jam. It was a touching story and helped me get started on a new adventure with canning.

    Cari

    :)

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Cari, Thank you so much for sharing your story about canning and time with your grandparents. I imagine you put many a smile on your Grandfathers face when you “thought” you were sneaking a bite of his toast without his knowledge. I can just picture all of that happening, what a great memory. Its always good to hear that someone else is learning how to make jam and jellies. Its very encouraging to know that these traditions are being carried forward by a younger generation. I do hope you’ll keep up with what you’ve started and that you will find lots of fun and exciting other things to preserve at home. I’m proud of you for trying, keep it up. Thank you for visiting with us, I’m glad you found our site and I do hope you’ll visit with us lots more times. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  8. Jaimie says:

    So I wanted to make some jam so I went on the internet for a recipe. I printed out your set by set WOW it was so easy to follow. I LOVE IT!!! The Jam was perfect!! My parent,son and myself ate a half pint with our breakfast this is a keeper recipe. Thank you so very much!!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jaimie, It really sounds like you DID like it. It goes fast once you start eating it doesn’t it? I’m so glad you gave the recipe a try and I hope you’ll be able to can up some more if the berries are still available. Thank you for your comments and for stopping by for a visit. Do visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  9. Brandon says:

    Gonna have to try this recipe. Little nervous cause I’ve heard when making jam everything has to be exact or it could come out too thick or too runny. I’ve got 3 flats of strawberries though and darn it gonna make a run of it lol

    One question though. Would you know if its okay to freeze your berries for jamming later? I am thinking for sure I should at least run them through a spinner to remove excess water after washing then freeze individually on a cooking sheet before bagging and freezing in bulk. But like most things berries when thawed out tend to be juicy and watery. I dunno if it will affect the result if the jam?

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Brandon, I congratulate you on your mindset of moving forward and giving the canning of Strawberry Jam a good try. The first few times can be a bit intimidating but as with most things, it gets easier the more you do it. I hope you’ll just jump right in and give it all you’ve got.

      Personally, I would try my best to use the berries while they’re fresh. As things go though, sometimes you just can’t do that. I’ve never tried to make jam or jelly from frozen berries but it can be done. Measure out the berries you will need for a batch prior to freezing them. Trim the tops, rinse them and, dry them before you freeze them so you don’t end up with lots of ice crystals from the excess water.

      As for the too thick or too runny part, I’d prefer coming up too thin than too thick. As long as you’re testing the jam along the way, you should be able to detect when it’s of the proper consistency for a good gel. Overcooking it causes the too thick part. And, if it turns out that it just doesn’t set, well, just tell everyone you’ve created some very delicious Strawberry Syrup that is really good when poured over some Ice Cream. (Smile)

      I’m still in hopes I might get a chance to do a Freezer Jam recipe with Strawberries here on Taste of Southern before all the local berries disappear. I’m sure you can search out a recipe for it on the net and that would be a simple and easy way to use up those Strawberries. Best wishes for some great canning and jamming adventures. Thank you for your comments and questions. I hope it all turns out well for you and that you’ll come back and share the results with us. Do stop by for another visit again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

      • Brandon says:

        Thanks for the response!

        I ended up not really following your “recipe” more than I went straight up off the pectin box for amounts and ingredients. Which looks to be about the same as yours anyways.

        I did follow your steps though. I read through it so many times before I started I think I had the whole process about perfectly memorized lol

        My strawberry jam turned out excellent with a very good consistency :) I went on to make strawberry banana jam, strawberry kiwi jam, and blueberry jam. I followed the same recipe as I did for the strawberries and they turned out just as good!

        I also went and made some mulberry jelly and looked on the ball canning website for a recipe for that. its apparently very hard to find recipes for mulberries. I ended up using the recipe for raspberries. It appears to have set quite nicely, perhaps a little thicker than my previous jams but yet still quite spreadable.

        Just thought you’d like an update and I wanted to say thank you for giving me the stepping stones needed to jump into something new.

        • Steve Gordon says:

          Hi Brandon, Nice going on all the things you’ve been canning. The Strawberry combinations sound very interesting and I’m sure they turned out to be very good. There’s a ton of information inside those little boxes of pectin and I use lots of that myself. I always suggest you use a trusted and tested recipe for anything you might be canning or preserving. Even the old hand me down recipes from years gone by sometimes don’t meet up with todays standards. I congratulate you for taking the step into home food preservation and I know its something you will continue to enjoy in the years ahead. Keep us posted on what you’re doing next. It’s always encouraging to know that the time we spend in creating these step-by-step recipes is actually being put to use by someone else. I thank you for your comments and I do hope you’ll continue to visit with us here at Taste of Southern. Be Blessed!!! And, keep up the great work. -Steve

  10. Nancy says:

    Mr. Gordon, I just wanted to let you know that I tried your recipe for Strawberry Jam. I have canned Blueberry Jam and Apple Butter a couple of years ago, so this brought back fun memories of canning. The Strawberry Jam looks beautiful in the jars. I love hearing the pink, pink, pink! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. It tastes wonderful:)

    Nancy

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Nancy, Thank you for sharing your comments. Only someone that has canned would understand the joy of hearing those pings when the lids start popping on your processed jars… right? I’m glad you gave the Strawberry Jam a try and that it turned out well for you. Now, you can hopefully enjoy it all year around. Keep up the good work with your canning adventures and I do hope you’ll stop by for another visit real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  11. Jennifer says:

    I am going to try this recipe this weekend!! One question….can I freeze the jam when I am finished?

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jennifer. I’ve never tried freezing this recipe although I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I haven’t done it yet as one of my recipes here on Taste of Southern but, there is a great recipe for Freezer Strawberry Jam that you might want to search out and give a try. It uses Jello as I recall and turns out really good. Of course, I’ll be interested in knowing if you do freeze this and how it turns out for you so, please come back and share your story if you have time. I’m glad you found us and hope you’ll stop by again for another visit… real soon. Be Blessed!!! –Steve

  12. Ashley says:

    Hi! Thank you so much for this awesome recipe! I came across it one day after I’d gotten fed up with tasteless store bought jam and decided I wanted to make my own. I was surprised at how simple the process is! I made my first batch today and I’m eagerly awaiting the end result, thanks again! This was such a fun experience, I think I’m hooked :)

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Ashley, Congratulations on giving the Strawberry Jam recipe a try. Canning can turn out to be a bit addictive I think. Once you get past the first one or two ventures, you start looking for something else to can up in jars. I hope it turns out well for you. I think most people that can will agree that we all have some things to go wrong sometimes, don’t give up when that happens… just try again. Thank you for your comments, I hope you’ll continue to explore the possibilities with it. Please stop by for another visit with us real soon. Be Blessed!!! –Steve

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