April 22, 2012

We Jammin'

 This morning was a beautiful and sunny, so we decided to take a trip to our local strawberry field. Because of the mild winter, strawberries had set on early, and I couldn't resist the idea of making jam. And let me tell you, jam made from fresh picked berries.....omg. So delicious! I set out with the idea that we would have enough jam to last the rest of the year. Hmm....now I'm kinda hoping it just lasts at least till summer?? We might have to go pick more....

On the left here is my bucket. I really had to use self control so I would not pick one for the bucket, and one for my mouth.

 And to the right there is J, working hard to pick me fresh berries :)

 For delicious jam that will last you all year (or make the end of the week?), you do not need to be some expert canner, or wiz in the kitchen. It is probably one of the easiest things I have ever done. However, it does require some time investment, so make sure you allocate yourself a few hours.

You will need:
Fruit of your choice- a lot of it.
Lemon juice
Canning jars, lids and rings

Above you see me prepping the berries. You also see my feet. I'm not a professional photographer, don't judge. Set up a station where you can grab, hull, and put the berries in a collander to be rinsed. You will notice that this is not a recipe. Well, my jam making is not an exact science... I do not like a lot of sugar in my jam, so it is important that while you cook, you taste test (oh, woe is me!) so that you can add things as you see fit. Do not be scared by the creative leeway. Some of the best things I have made in the kitchen were by tasting and changing recipes. Be confident!
Put all of your washed and hulled berries in a pot. I actually didn't hull them, I just cut the tops off. That's fine too. Add in at least a 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 2 cups of sugar. I had at least 12 cups of berries here. Turn on med-high and stir regularly until it starts to look like strawberry slop (appetizing, yes?) and seems to be really runny. You may be freaking out at this point, wondering why doesn't it look like jam?! Stop it. Be patient.

 Now, take a potato masher and mash the heck out of the remaining berries that are intact. See that foam on the rim of my pot? If you are a hater of foam, add it 2 tbs of butter at this point. The milk fat will help cut down the foam. I dont really care about foam though, especially because its strawberry foam :)

Anyways, bring this mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. At this point, add in 1 box (or 6 tbs) of pectin. Stir thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and watch closely for an additional 10 minutes. Pour jam (it may still seem runny, that is okay, stop freaking out) into prepared jars. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Don't know how to prepare jars? Neither did I. Here's a great resource.  

Happy jammin'!

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