Wow, it’s certainly been quite some time since I last gathered up my culinary excavation equipment and dug into a good recipe! To make a two and a half month story short, my now old job slowly grew to engulf most, if not all of my free time; and, as my average workday neared the 14 hour mark, my will to cook and write was wholly drained. Now, however, as I enter into a chapter of life that is far richer in time than in money, I’m rediscovering my kitchen and finally digging into some good eating. In celebration of this new era (and this hot, summery weather), I thought it would be fitting to try out a cooking style that’s all about looking towards the future: canning!
While it may seem like the dog days of summer may never end (which may be good or bad depending on your disposition), the chilling reality remains that crisp fall and barren winter will invade our kitchens in time, taking away our immediate access to bright summer fruits and berries. So, in this present time of abundance, it only seems right to set aside some of the season’s eatings for our future selves to enjoy! Because once the doldrums of late January are upon us, cracking open a nearly forgotten jar of summer-infused jam might be all that stands between us and complete hibernal despair.
Dating back to at least the times of ancient Rome, strawberries have long been heralded for being a medicinal plant. However, as the red berry traveled across time and the European continent, the plant’s cultivation changed from a medicinal herb to a garden berry prized by the French kings. And, because of the plant’s unique method of growing via runners, it is believed by many culinary etymologists that the rather odd name “strawberry” actually comes from the pre-modern English verb “strew” (meaning “to spread”). Over time, the original English term “streabergen” gradually evolved into our modern “strawberry!” But, no matter what you call these summery red bells, they’re bound to make a wonderful jam. So, let’s dig in!
Strawberry Jam Recipe
- Boiling-water canner with rack
- 6 – 8 Jam jars, lids, and rings
- 4 pints of strawberries
- 7 cups of sugar
- 1.75 ounces or 1 full box of pectin
- 1/2 teaspoon of butter (optional; including the butter will help reduce foam in your finished product)
- Fill your boiling-water canner halfway with water and bring to a simmer on the stove.
- Sanitize your jars, lids, and rings with hot, soapy water, then rinse with warm water. Place rings and lids in a small saucepan and fill with boiling water. Keep the lids and rings in the hot water until ready to use.
- To prep your berries, remove and discard any fruit that is visibly discolored or moldy, as this could introduce bacteria or spores to your final product that will spread throughout the jam.
- Remove the stems and cores of each berry, and mash one cup of berries at a time until you have exactly five cups of crushed strawberries.
- Place the mashed fruit, pectin, and butter into a large saucepan, and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. You’ll know when you’ve reached a rolling boil when the mixture continues to boil even as you stir.
- When fully boiling, quickly stir in the sugar. Return the mixture to a rolling boil, and cook for 1 minute while still stirring constantly.
- Remove saucepan from heat and skim off any foam that may have formed.
- Ladle fruit mixture into your prepared jars, leaving 1/8 inch (1/3 cm) of room at the top of the jars. Wipe the jars and threads to make sure no fruit will interfere with the final seal of your jars. Tightly screw on the lids, place on the canning rack, and submerge jars into the boiling-water canner (make sure there is at least 1 – 2 inches [2.5 – 5 cm] of water over the jars). Bring the water to a light boil and process for 10 minutes to fully sanitize the jars and activate the lids’ seal.
- Remove the processed jars from the canner and place on a towel to cool completely.
- Let sit for 24 hours, and then move to a dark, dry place, where they will stay ready to enjoy for 1 year!
- Enjoy knowing that you’ve preserved a sliver of summer to brighten the rest of the year!
As always, thanks for stopping by the dig! I hope you’re enjoying the fruits and flavors of summer as much as I am!
Until next time, keep digging!