I have been dreaming of making strawberry jam since the start of my homesteading experiments this past January. We tried our best to eat mostly local all winter and that meant, in terms of fruit, we had apples. Now I know we are lucky to have had those all winter long, but even the delicious farmer’s market apples got boring after a while and I began dreaming of spring berries… strawberries. They began their arrival about a month ago but with the unseasonably cool weather we’ve been having they didn’t truly flood the market until this past week. After weeks of busy travel, final projects, and work I finally found myself with a free day this past Tuesday. Much to my happiness, I got to start it off with some much needed girl time at the farmer’s market with my cousin and her awesome two month old daughter… all three of us stood in awe of the mountains and mountains of delicious, perfect looking red berries displayed on the front of what seemed like every single farm stand. An entire warehouse full of strawberries. This was the day. The day I made jam.
A couple of hours later I walked in the door, greeting my husband with a flat of strawberries (9 quarts) and a case of mason jars.
I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I’ve never made jam or canned a single thing in my entire life. My parents have made pickles every summer for a few years now but I was never highly involved in that process. This was an adventure. I will talk more about the canning in a separate post but in terms of jam this both exceeded my expectations and was exceptionally easy to make. All said and done it took maybe 2 hours and I had 10 pints of jam cooling on the counter.
Finally, in case you find yourself asking whether or not making jam is worth it. First, remember that it is paleo and thus not filled with a mountain of sugar and artificial flavoring. Secondly after calculating the cost of the ingredients, jars excluded, we saved about 50% cost-wise by making our own jam compared to buying jam of a comparable quality at the farmer’s market or grocery store.
This jam is the perfect combo of sweet and tart, it is not runny once it is cooled and it was so simple and fun to make! You’ll really have to try hard to convince yourself to save it for later.
6 cups of chopped fresh strawberries
2 boxes of powdered fruit pectin
2 TBS of lemon juice
1 Cup of Honey
(makes 2.5-3 Pints)
Cut the tops off your strawberries, cut them in half, and measure them. Using a food processor or a potato masher crush the strawberries until they are well mashed but still pulpy with small chunks. Pour your strawberries into a large sauce pan and stir in your pectin. On high to medium heat bring the strawberries to a slow boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat and mix in your honey and lemon juice. Then, bring the mixture back to a boil and stir constantly for five minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. It will thicken slightly but still be runny. Pour your jam into sterilized jars, sealing them tightly and boiling in a water bath canner for 8 minutes. Remove the cans from the water and let them cool on the counter until the seal pops. Store at room temperature until you are ready to use it, and then put the jam in the refrigerator and it will set nicely. Enjoy 🙂