This Sunday’s kitchen adventure was something that I’d been wanting to try for a long time-can my own jam, the right way. I know I said my next post would be the bacon crusted mac and cheese stuffed pretzel bites, salted carmel snickers cookies, and zucchini pasta stir fry…BUT this was too good not to share immediately. And it’s what I did today, so you get it first. I’m working on the other posts. Fret not. Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll post a few of them tonight, but I’m not going to promise anything.
Anyway, back to the jam.
So this whole canning idea all started one day while on a lunch time shopping adventure at Paper Source where I found the most adorable ink stamp saying “From the Kitchen of:______”, THAT I JUST HAD TO HAVE. Obviously. I’m a cook. I NEED this stamp. Immediately, I start rationalizing this $7 purchase that I could write myself for free. Canning came to mind. If I can jam, and give them as a Christmas gift, then I’d definitely need this stamp to Etsy-out the presentation. . . .If I leave with out this stamp, my gifts will be ruined and boring. No one wants that. Out came my debit card, and off I went with my little stamp.
Of course, this then snowballed into needing a canning kit, mason jars, a bunch of over-priced strawberries because they aren’t in season, and a partridge in a pear tree. Two months, and about $80 later, I’m ready to can some strawberry jam. Onward with the how to’s.
Nutritionals: Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, but you might need an insulin shot after too much.
Before I confuse anyone in to thinking that I actually just knew how to can, let me route you to the recipe and guidance that I used in order to make these yummy gifts. When searching how to can, I knew right where to go-The Pioneer Woman. I would trust this woman with any of my culinary adventures. She’s never done me wrong, and her witty banter is just an added bonus. Here are the parts one and two recipes that I used from her website.
First off, get yourself a canning kit. I found one on Amazon for about $35 and it worked perfectly today.
Now that you have your canning kit, grab some sugar, lots of strawberries (I used 6 packages), a lemon, and a box of pectin.
That’s my husband in the background sporting his sweet Bill Murray shirt while he cooks us up some breakfast. You know you scored an awesome husband when he offers to make breakfast while his wife conquers canning jam that all started from an impulse buy of a $7 stamp.
Fill your giant canning pot with water and bring it to a simmer. Fill a smaller pot with water and bring to a low simmer as well. Fully submerge your jars in to the large pot and lids (only the lids, not the screw top portion) in the smaller pot and let them sit there and warm up while you start the jam portion.
Let’s make the jam part. Wash your strawberries, and cut off the tops.
Next, get a masher and mash the strawberries up. The Pioneer Woman’s recipe said to put the strawberries in a ribbed baking dish and mash in there. I tried that until a handful of strawberries went flying off of my sheet and directly into my welsh corgi’s mouth. Slippery little suckers. So, I remedied this with getting a pot and smashing from in there. Put some arm in to it and make sure you really mash them. Leave some chunks, but mash, mash, mash away.
Measure out 5 cups of your mashed strawberries and add them to a large pot or dutch oven. Add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Whisk that together. Look at my awesome impulse buy whisk I got from Anthropologie. I know. I make a lot of kitchen related impulse buys, but I love this whisk. Then it broke while I was whisking the lemon juice in with the strawberries. Sorry little whisk. perhaps I shouldn’t have put you in the dishwasher. RIP adorable whisk.
Add your packet of pectin. One day I’d like to be able to know how to make jam have the right consistency with out using pectin, but given there is a lot of room for error, I decided to play it safe this time. I found it at my local grocery after scanning each aisle, only to ask for help and have them find it in about five seconds. Either way, it exists in your local grocery.
Whisk that all together and then add a little sliver of butter. Why? Because the Pioneer Woman says so, and if she says so, we do. In goes the butter.
Now, put your dutch oven on the stove and bring to a roaring boil. Add your 7 cups of sugar all at once. Yes, SEVEN. You can thank me for your diabetes later. This is why this is a once a year, holiday type of recipe.
Bring this to a roaring boil. The Pioneer Woman describes it as a violent boil, and I’m starting to like that. Anyway, let it boil like that for about a minute or so, then shut off the heat. You’ll see a thick layer of foam on the top of your jam. Skim that off, attempting to only skim foam and no delish jam underneath.
Now we can see all of that gorgeous, sugary goodness.
Now we are ready (finally) to start the canning process. Use your canning utensils to pick up a jar from your water. I started using the canning tools, but kept dropping jars back in the water like a klutz, so I started using tongs instead, which worked wonderfully. Drain all the water out of the jar and set on a surface that you don’t mind getting sticky and messy. I used a small baking sheet.
Set your funnel in your jar and pour in your jam, leaving about a 1/4 inch of headspace.
Take the skinny spatula looking tool that comes in your canning kit and run it along the sides of your jar. This reduces air bubbles and helps distribute the chunks in the jam through out the jar. At least this is what the Pioneer Woman says, so we believe it.
Wipe off the rim of your jar with a wet cloth. I didn’t take a photo of this, but pretend like you can do this task with out visual aid.
Now, take your little magnet canning wand and retrieve a lid from the simmering water. Carefully place your lid on your jar and screw on your lid. By screw on, I mean turn it until you feel the slightest resistance. Then stop.
Repeat. Over, and over and over again until all of your jam is gone and you’ve used all of your jars.
Finally, turn up the heat in your giant canning pot and bring the water to a roaring, or violent boil. Line your filled jars in your canning pot rack (that’s the technical term I’m sure…), then fully submerge them, put the lid on, and let them boil for about 10-13 minutes. Almost done!!
You can see the hubs watching football in the background of the first photo. Hello hubs.
After about 10-13 minutes, shut off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the water for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes, remove them using your handy canning jar retrieving tool and set in a place to be untouched for 24 hours. Now the official sealing of the jars has begun. I heard a few lids popping in to place while they were still boiling, the rest popped shortly after being removed from the water. The Pioneer Woman mentioned the satisfaction she feels from hearing the little “pop, pop, pop” as your jars seal. I have to agree. It’s like they are saying, “pop, congrats, you didn’t f me up, pop, pop”.
After 24 hours, press down on each lid to make sure it’s sealed tight. If it’s not, no worries. Just put it in the fridge and make a batch of biscuits.
Sweet victory is mine.
I think I’ll have a celebratory beer. Thank you jam and thank you jars.
And…Last but certainly not least, if you make this delish dish, snap a photo and share it with me on twitter (@Tummyhasahappy) or instagram (@mytummyhasahappy) with the hashtag- #mytummyhasahappy
I love to see what turned out in your kitchen!
- 5 Cups of strawberries, mashed (about 4, 16 oz packages)
- 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 package pectin
- 7 cups sugar
- Fill canning pot with water and bring water to simmer
- Add empty jars until fully submerged
- Fill small pot with water and bring water to simmer
- Add jar lids to water
- Wash strawberries and cut off tops
- Mash strawberries leaving few chunks
- Measure 5 cups of mashed strawberries and place in dutch oven
- Add 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Mix strawberries and lemon juice
- Add package of pectin and mix well
- Bring strawberry mixture to a roaring boil
- Add 7 cups of sugar all at once
- Mix sugar and strawberries well
- Bring to a roaring boil and allow to boil for 1 to 2 minuites
- Turn off heat
- Skim the foam off of the strawberry mixture and set foam aside
- Remove jar, using funnel, add strawberry mixture to jar, leaving ¼ inch of head space
- Remove lid from simmering water and set on jar
- Screw on lid, tightening very very lightly
- Repeat until all jam and jars are used
- Bring water in canning pot to a roaring boil
- Add all of the filled jars, submerge completely in water and allow to boil with the lid on for 10-13 mins
- Shut off heat and allow jars to rest in water for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove jars and allow to rest for 24 hours