• Strawberries
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Pectin

Oh my gosh you guys, I did it!…I switched to pectin…Holy Cow, what was I waiting for ?! This stuff works wonders. Instead of cooking the hell out of my berries for 45 minutes, I cooked them for like 10 minutes. Yes! Well, you have probably ALL done this already, so this will be nothing new as far as recipes go…but I’ll share it anyway. strawberry jam 4For those of you who already can foods, you know the immense joy of seeing your creativity and hard work, (often sweat, sometimes tears and burns, and sometimes broken glass, messes, splatters, & failures) in that little jar that just went *ping* and sealed. For those who don’t put food into glass jars, you have no idea how precious these are to us.

Well for me, it’s even more precious because before the cooking and canning, I grow most of my produce too. I kneel for months on little foam pads, or just directly in the dirt and I pull every weed. I fertilize, I use rain barrel water (which means pouring water into cans and then transferring all over the garden, it’s tiring!), I plant seeds.

These strawberry plants have been with me since I started my first garden. It was one week post college. I graduated, moved into a shared house with 5 roommates and immediately dug up some grass and made a garden in the backyard. I bought 10 little strawberry plants and got them going. Later they moved into planters along the porch. They got totally dried out and hardly made any fruit that year. They never did much other than survive. But I kept moving them along with me from shared house to apartment to marriage, to home ownership. They were planted in the worst spot in my yard at the new house, they hardly lived. The I moved them, and moved them again.

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Finally 3 years ago, I figured out what they needed and gave them their own spot, bordering my front yard garden on all sides. Over the past 2 years, they have finally THRIVED. Growing quarts and even gallons a day.

So I’m not kidding you, these strawberry jam jars are precious to me for so many reasons, including the berry plants which have been with me for 12 years, producing new babies every year and giving me food for my family. I am feeling satisfied, gazing at these cute jars and I look forward to every lick and spoonful. I will surely share a few jars with those closest to me. Number One on that list is my Grandma, who is turning 96 next week, who taught me to can, and who loves jam.

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Alright, here is the recipe:

I picked, washed, and hulled 8 cups of strawberries. (Once crushed they probably measured about 6 cups, but I had already moved them into a pot by then and did not re-measure).

I put them into a glass bowl with a lid and added 2 cups white sugar, one teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon. I left them overnight in the fridge like this. Next day I put into a large, deep pot and turned on to low heat for 30 minutes to soften up.

Next, I crushed them with a potato masher and also pureed a little bit with my immersion blender. After letting them cook down for 30 minutes on low/warm, I turned them up to high heat.

Once boiling (about 5 minutes time) I added 3 cups of white sugar and one packet of Sure Jel Pectin. I brought that to a high boil (another 5 minutes wait time) and boiled for two minutes, stirring constantly with a long handled wooden spoon.

Turned off the heat and processed in jars.

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For the half pint sized jars, I got my hot water bath canner boiling, put my jars, lids, and rings in and sanitized them (while the strawberries were boiling). Using tongs, I pulled them out, lined them up on a dish towel and filled them with hot strawberry jam. (Leave 1/8 inch head space in jar and only tighten the rings slightly, not too tight so air bubbles can escape).

After lidded, I lowered them into the canner making sure there was at least 1 inch of water covering them. Brought it back up to a full rolling boil. Processed in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. Removed from water, using my special canning tongs. Heard the beautiful *ping* of the seals, and then left them alone for 12 hours on the counter overnight.

Next I will label them and put them on a shelf in the pantry to gaze at.

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What will you be canning this Spring and Summer? Will you visit a farmer’s market or U-pick farm or grow your own? Who will you give it to and what’s your canning story?

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