STRAWBERRIES! STRAWBERRIES! STRAWBERRIES!
Here is south central Pennsylvania it is strawberry season!!! We went picking on Saturday because it was overcast and not too terribly hot. The kids are to the age where they are helpful with picking and not just picking to eat. They are understanding the concept of WHY we are picking and WHAT these berries will become when we take them home. They are understanding that a bit of work from them NOW will yield lots of yummy strawberry treats all year long.
But I am STILL on the quest for strawberry jam that is thicker than syrup and will hold up when spooned out. So YOU get to learn from my quest and hopefully you will find a method that will work for your family.
3 Methods: Freezer, Crockpot and Crockpot/Water Bath
Method 1: Freezer
Be sure to check out my other tutorial on doing freezer jam using liquid pectin. It is a video and it was one of my first attempts at an instructional video. I think I sound a little dorky… But I am a little bit of a dork.
Start with 1 1/2 cups of sugar and instant fruit pectin.
Crush enough cleaned and hulled strawberries to make 4 cups. DON’T use 4 cups of strawberries and crush them. Crush them first…then measure your 4 cups. There IS a difference. We used a muddler from the bar set to accomplish this. A potato masher or a pastry blender works as well. OR if you want to get messy…use your hands to crush them. PLEASE wash your hands well first.
Stir together the sugar and the instant pectin.
Pour in the 4 cups of crushed berries.
Stir to combine. Be sure all the clumps of sugar and pectin are completely broken up and combined.
If the berries are too big for your taste use a immersion blender to pulse the mixture a few times.
Ladle into clean pint jars.
Wipe the rim to clean off any drips.
Place on CLEAN, new lids.
Screw on the ring.
Allow to sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours.
Method 2: Crockpot
This is my small crockpot.
Not to be confused with my large crockpot that I use to make home made yogurt.
Dump in 8 cups of washed, hulled and quartered strawberries. NOTE: I did NOT crush these.
Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and a package of the instant fruit pectin. I KNOW it is the instant stuff and I probably should be using the regular pectin BUT bear with me and follow along.
Stir to coat the berries and place the lid on.
Turn on high and walk away for 3 hours. Don’t walk AWAY, AWAY because you should never leave any kitchen appliance unattended but leave it cook for 3 hours.
After 3 hours on high this is what it looks like.
Don’t fret. You have not made mush.
Give it a stir and there is yummy strawberry juice underneath.
Here is where I asked you to bear with me.
I am adding 1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin.
This is my attempts to thicken the jam to the consistency I am desiring.
Sprinkle it over the jam and stir until there are no lumps.
Use a funnel to fill your HOT pint jars.
Trust me when I say this funnel is a good use of your pennies. I canned with out one for years because I was
cheap, crazy, frugal but it is well worth the money for the time in clean up and dripped product you save. p.s. I got one as a gift from my mom who gave pity on me one Christmas.
Place on a hot, new lid.
Screw on a ring and place in a water bath for 15 minutes.
Method 3: Crockpot Only
Method 3 is everything but the water bath.
Once the jelly is in the jars and cooled completely pop them into the freezer for long term storage or in the refrigerator for use this week.
L-R Freezer jam, Crockpot with water bath, Crockpot only.
Note the color difference between the freezer jam and the crockpot jam. The heat changes that color and the consistency of the jam.
Here is the consistency test.
Freezer, Crockpot with water bath and Crockpot only.
My kids like the freezer jam because the strawberry flavor is brighter and sweeter. I like the crockpot with water bath. The flavor of the strawberry is richer and more concentrated. But that makes sense considering it was cooked for 3 hours! The crockpot only is a little too sloppy for my taste.
Trust me when I say that it will ALL get eaten.
What is YOUR favorite method and recipe for making strawberry jam?