Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Try Something New Tuesday
Making Jam--08/09/2011

Last week when I began Try Something New Tuesdays, I asked for my readers' help thinking of new and fun things to try. They don't have to be all food related. Although, MySarah and I are checking out Russian cuisine next week. This week I am trying my hand at cooking/crafting and making homemade strawberry jam.

Photos courtesy of Darby Doo! I really could not
have done this without her invaluable help.

First of all, strawberry jam just makes me happy. When Daddy would take me to work or fishing with him, he would always start the day with breakfast at Shorty's Diner in Texarkana. He and I would nonchalantly roam from table to sticky table in search of the little one-inch cube of strawberry-flavored heaven. More times than not we were stuck with fruit medley or some peach crap, but every now and again...ahhhh. SMILE! Strawberry!! Secondly, my grandmother used to can vegetables from her garden or make fruit preserves from the fruit she harvested. I never learned this little craft but have always thought of it as the ultimate art of being a good southern woman.

With the help from my lovely assistant, Darling Daughter Darby (check out her take on making jam today as well!), we jumped into this week's adventure with both feet first. Since she and her Daddy Dearest are texture people, we started by using our blender to puree the 6 boxes of fresh strawberries. Then while I constantly stirred the lovely mess over a high heat, Darby measured out the sugar and sterilized the jars. Once submerged in crazy boiling water, darling girl and I were stumped for a moment on how to retrieve the little boogers from their steam bath. However, I have a genius for a girl child, and she jumped in with tongs and an oven mitt to save the day.

Have you ever done something new and been a total rock star at it? I am always amazed at myself when my grandest plans go smoothly. My taste tester, Hubby Dearest, gave me two thumbs way up saying, "Wow! That's really good!" Then HD and Darling Darby just shook their heads and grinned as I ran around the house the rest of the night saying with enthusiasm, "I made JAM! I made JAM! That's just so cool!" My excitement grew each time we heard the little metallic "toink" as the jars cooled and their lids popped. There might have been a happy dance (my former students know what that looks like) or two. I am just lucky Darby is not quicker with her camera or I would be the next great YouTube sensation!

Recipe for Homemade Strawberry Jam
Makes: about 10 cups (about 10 half-pints)
Prep: 45 minutes
  • 3 quarts fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 1 3/4-ounce package regular powdered fruit pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 7 cups sugar

DirectionsPlace 1 cup of berries in an 8-quart heavy pot. Crush berries. Continue adding berries and crushing until you have 5 cups crushed berries. Stir in pectin and butter. Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Add sugar all at once. Return to boiling; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a metal spoon.

Ladle at once into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars; cool on racks.

Tip: Jam may need to stand for 1 to 2 weeks after canning to become fully set. Also, if your fruit separates from the liquid in the jars, invert the sealed jars once or twice a day. Continue inverting until fruit is well distributed.

No comments:

Post a Comment