Goodbye, Summer. You will be sorrowfully missed, let me tell you. Fall is basically here and I feel like I still haven’t eaten my fill of peaches, nectarines, or most importantly strawberries.
On our way back from a wedding in Camarillo last weekend, my Mom and I stopped on the side of the road in Oxnard to snag as many flats of strawberries as I could fit on my lap before we made our way down the coast to our beloved Neptune’s Net for a late lunch. I ate maybe half of an entire flat before we even reached Malibu, so I had to put the boxes of juicy, delicious berries in the back seat where I couldn’t terrorize them for the rest of the drive. I really can’t control myself when it comes to fruit…
I knew I had to do something to preserve the rest of my strawberries, and not just to stop from eating myself sick on them. It’s definitely happened before. I ran by my local library that I haven’t been to since I was in pigtails and checked out a bunch of super duper old books on canning. The librarian seemed confused by my choices, but I was pumped to get home and start the process. Little did I know that it is QUITE the process. Luckily I’ve broken it down here for the average human being who doesn’t own a canning rack or pressure cooker.
Now I can enjoy my beloved strawberries straight through winter!
Makes about 8 half pint jars.
- 4 heaping cups sliced strawberries (about 2 – 2.5 lbs)
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb (4-5 stalks)
- 5 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 tbsp pectin
Kitchen Tools: 2 large stock pots, wooden spatula, jar lifter (aka canning tongs), jelly funnel (optional.. I don’t have one), ladle
Remove tops off your strawberries and slice. Coarsely chop rhubarb. Combine both with 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl and let sit overnight. (This gets the tasty juices out of the berries and makes the jamming process go a lot quicker). Dump berries + rhubarb and their juices into the smaller of your stockpots (if there is a size difference). Make sure you have a good 3-4 inches of space between the top of the fruit and the lip of the pot (things will get foamy).
Place your jars in the remaining stock pot and fill with water so that the jars are just covered. Heat on medium-high heat to a low boil, then lower to a simmer until ready to use. Wash lids and rubber rings (if you have them) in warm water with soap, then lay out to dry top side up.
Heat your fruit over medium heat and add in pectin and lemon juice, stirring constantly so that nothing sticks or burns. Let heat up for about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar 1 cup at a time and raise heat to medium-high. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil and let bubble away for a minute, stirring slowly and constantly. Skim off foam if desired, but not necessary.
Bring heat down to medium and let reduce in it’s bubbly way for 10 more minutes. Use your wooden spatula to smash the largest chunks of the berries. Make sure to still scrape along the bottom to prevent burning. Turn off heat.
Use your jar lifter to remove the sterilized jars from the simmering water. Carefully dump out any water in them and place on the counter. Use your jelly funnel if you have it and carefully ladle the jam into the jars, leaving about a 1/2 inch free at the top. Gently place lid on top (and rubber bands if your jars have them) and tighten with just the tips of your fingers until the top is secure but just barely.
Bring your pot of water back up to a low boil. Use the jar lifter to place your lidded jars in the boiling water (lid side up!) and let them process in the boiling water for ten minutes. After the time is up remove jars and place on counter to cool. You should start hearing the lids make popping noises after a few minutes (they do this in the water bath too sometimes). The pop means that the lid is sealed are your jam is good to go!
Make sure all jar lids are no longer ‘popable’ after another ten minutes of hanging out on the counter. If you can still press the top of the lid in and out, process in the water bath for another 10 minutes. Tighten lids after the jars have cooled for a bit.
Voila! You have officially made homemade jam like a homesteading pioneer.