Monday, July 23, 2012

Homemade Strawberry-Raspberry Jam

Well, sometimes you just find that you gotta make the most out of what you got.  And I had a whole bunch of strawberries that were just about to turn.  Tons really.  So, I thought to myself about what I should do.  And the cost of jam occurred to me just then and also about the demand it has in my home.  From PB and J's to my homemade biscuits, we are using it up around here.  Daily.  And with that being noticed and the fact that I had yet to try my hand at a strawberry jam, I had found my next endeavour.  And I am sure that my family and my grocery bill will both be happy at the fact that we now have the next few months worth of jam in the pantry.  And, of course, almost without having to be said, I am happy then. 

3 cups of strawberries (stemmed)
3/4 cups of raspberries
1/4 cup of lemon juice
7 cups of sugar
1/2 T. of real un-salted butter
1- 3oz. package of liquid pectin (I used Ball Real Fruit Liquid Pectin)
8-10 1/2 pint quilted mason jars with new lids/ rings
canning jar tongs (a must for removing the jars from the boiling stockpot)

-First and foremost, wash your jars, lids and rings in very hot soapy water and rinse well.  Place the jars into a large canning stockpot, filled halfway with water and covered with a lid over a high flame.  Let this heat up to a boil and hold the boil for 10 minutes to sterilize them.  Then just reduce the heat and leave the jars in there and also toss in the lids to keep them hot until you are ready to fill them.  Meanwhile, using a hand potato masher, in a large mixing bowl, smash a small handful of strawberries and raspberries at a time.  Stir together the smashed berries, lemon juice and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add in the butter (keeps it from being overly frothy) and stir well.  Bring this up to a rolling frothy boil that cannot be stirred down and stir in all of the liquid pectin.  Return this to a boil, while constantly stirring for one whole minute. Remove it from the heat and using a metal spoon, skim off any froth from the top to discard.  Remove you hot mason jars and lids from your canning stockpot, with your canning jar tongs, out onto a towel-lined counter (right-side up) and return your canning stockpot to a boil.  Go ahead and ladle in the hot jam into each of your hot, empty mason jars.  Leave a 1/4" of head space at the top of each jar (the empty space at the top to keep them from exploding-yep very important).  Place the lids on the center of each top and screw the rings on hand-tight.  Once your canning stockpot has returned to a boil, using your canning jar tongs, return the mason jars to the boiling stockpot (right-side up).  Cover with the lid and let them process in the boiling pot for 10 minutes.  Remove the lid, remove the stockpot from the heat and let the jars continue to sit in the stockpot for 5 more minutes.  Lastly using your canning jar tongs, remove your mason jars to your towel lined counter.  Place them upside down (people have told me that this is no longer 'the way to do it', but old habits die hard and I tend to stick to what works for me) to cool.  Once the jars have cooled down to room temperature, turn them right-side up.  You will hear the lids pop in at this time if they have not done so already (sometimes I will pop the lid down on some of them as I am checking them, that is ok as long as it does not pop back up).  If you follow the directions of this process correctly, you will have properly sealed them.  But, it is still not the end of the world if one of them does not seal.  That is just going to have to be the first one consumed.  For properly sealed jars, they should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place like a pantry (where I store mine) or a kitchen cabinet.  They will be good stored this way for up to 1 year.  For unsealed jars or seal broken jars (like once you open one), they must be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 3 weeks.  Makes 8-10 1/2 pint quilted mason jars of jam.  Enjoy!

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