Strawberry Jam

For the record – 4 gallons of strawberries is a lot of strawberries. I had to find a way to use them and lots of them. What could be better than Strawberry Jam. One problem, I have never canned anything in my life. What is one to do but search the internet. It is full of tips and makes it seem so easy. I decided I was up to a challenge and conquered the fear of making jam with a lot of success I might add.

Strawberry Jam

After reading a dozen plus websites I found The Pioneer Woman’s Canning 101 and Strawberry Jam blog entry (here). I read her posts multiple times.  And made a few changes so here we go.

STRAWBERRY JAM
2  1/2 cups smashed strawberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
5  1/4 teaspoons fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter
3  1/2 cups sugar

Begin by cleaning a batch of strawberries and smashing them with an immersion blender. Now measure the strawberries and add them to a pot with the lemon juice and pectin. Stir until well combined then add butter. Bring to a boil. Then add sugar and return to a rolling boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute.  Then remove from heat. Use a spoon to remove any foam that has formed on the top.

Pour jam into warm jars, that have been sterilized, leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Add jar lid and ring and submerge in a large pot of water. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 12 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit in the hot water for 5 additional minutes. Remove jars and allow to cool. Once they have cooled check to ensure the seals.

NOTES: The immersion blender gave me less chucks of fruit than I intended but it works great (a food processor would also work). The final jam was a little on the sweet side so next time I will reduce the sugar added, but don’t worry it was still good and my family cannot get enough. The butter is supposed to reduce the amount of film that forms during the boiling stage.

Updated on 7/15/2013: here is a printable recipe card Strawberry Jam

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Strawberry Topping

As I posted on May 29th with the help of my family, I have 4 gallons of Strawberries (see here). I used some of them to make strawberry ice-cream topping.

Strawberry Topping

STRAWBERRY TOPPING
2 cups diced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons water (in addition to 1/3 cup above)

Wash and cut strawberries into small pieces. Combine berries, sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. In a small bowl combine corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water. Add cornstarch to the boiling berries. Reduce heat and continue to boil for 4 minutes until it is thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool before using. Store in fridge until ready to use.

NOTES: Upon researching this I found many recipes that were basically the same. Some say that you can freeze the topping for future use. I did freeze one batch. After I finish the batch in the fridge I will update to let you know how it worked.

Updated on 7/15/2013: here is a printable recipe card Strawberry Topping

It’s Strawberry Season

How did you spend Memorial Day Weekend? Family? Bar-B-Que? Swimming Pools? Remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom?

memorialdayFirst, let me begin by saying. I am proud of our military personnel. When these men and women enlist, they are willing to give their lives. They agree to serve us 24 hours a day. Unlike most of us, if we don’t like our jobs we can change, but these brave men and women sign a contract that they will serve for 4 years, sometimes longer. They will do whatever is asked of them, regardless to the cost to themselves or their family. They will pick up and move upon request and leave behind friends and family. They will put themselves in harms way regardless to whether they agree with the cause or not. They agree to die for us and our freedoms, and many have. How can words ever express our appreciation? For their is no way to repay them for all they do.

But I digress, I was able to spend Memorial Day Weekend with my family. We spent the first part of the weekend at the NCHE Homeschool Convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was nice to get away for a few days. When we returned we went and picked strawberries. Four gallons to be exact. This means that Memorial Day was spent processing strawberries.

What did I do with 4 gallons of strawberries you ask. Here is a list of things that I did with them.

  • Fresh Strawberries topped with whipped cream by the bowl full
  • Angel Food cake with fresh sliced strawberries
  • Dehydrated strawberries for later use (great for cereal – think Special K with Strawberries)
  • Strawberry ice-cream topping (recipe to follow)
  • Homemade jam (recipe to follow)
  • Real fruit snacks (recipe to follow)
  • Froze the rest for later

I thought I would spend the next couple of days sharing these recipes so stay turned.

Strawberries

But don’t worry I did get some bar-b-que (smoked chicken to be precise).