strawberry jam

i'm a jam snob. i've never ever, not even once, bought a jar of jam or jelly in my entire life. in fact, the only time i've ever eaten non-homemade ham is when i go to a diner and they serve those small, single serve packets with the peel off tops (which half the time are impossible to open). and let's be honest, those aren't even close to the same level as homemade.

i come from a long line of jammers. ever since i can remember, my grandpa makes a few batches of strawberry jam each summer when his berries are ripe. (a month or two later, my mom follows with raspberry jam made from berries she's picked off the side of the road somewhere, growing wild.) i've always had a steady supply of jam so i've never had a reason to make it myself. lame reason? yes, but true.

so this year when grandpa asked me if i wanted to come down and learn how to make jam, i decided it's about time i finally learn for myself and took him up on his offer. and what did i learn?

making jam is easy!

it just takes a lot of fruit, a lot of sugar, some heat and clean jars. that's it. all in all it took us about 45 minutes to make a batch. heck, it takes me longer to make dinner some nights. and now i've got a years' worth of jam!

but i did get some insider tips -
  1. grandpa sticks with the recipe on the sure jell fruit pectin insert. and adds a small, maybe half teaspoon of butter, to keep the berry/sugar mixture from foaming while boiling.
  2. cut the berries into quarters and mash them with a potato masher. measure the mixture. if you don't have 5 cups, add enough water to make up the difference.
  3. you can control how chunky or smooth you want your jam. when the berries are cooking, leave them mashed for chunky jam or use an immersion (stick) blender (or a regular blender, it will work fine, it just makes a mess) to smooth it out. i made one batch pretty chunky and another smoother.
  4. when boiling your lids and rings, put the lids inside the rings in the pot. then you don't have to try to lift flat tops out of the bottom of the pan (which is nearly impossible, without a magnet).
now that it seems so easy, what kind of jam should i make? any suggestions?

homemade strawberry jam
get the recipe from Sure Jell


  1. I NEVER mash my strawberries, I chop them instead with a plain old handchopper gizmo. I think the chopper makes for the best consistency. Plus it is easy to clean.
    Next up will be the red raspberry jam followed with blackberry. If the loaded bushes in my yard are any indication, this will be a great year for the blackberries.
    Keep Jammin'!
    Your Mama

  2. Wow, sounds easy! I might have to try it this summer. I just picked up strawberries for 77 cents a pound, I'll go get more. Yum!


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