So the other day (okay, more like a month-ish ago) I decided to try canning …because apparently I’m 85 years old – more on that later. I was sitting on the sofa watching Pioneer Woman on TV and she convinced me that I could make some strawberry jam – she has a way of doing that to me…
So on a Saturday afternoon I set out on my canning adventure. First the materials, because why use things you already own to try something you may or may not ever want to do again? A couple of stores later and having acquired a very large pot with canning rack (which incidentally, is an excellent low-country boil pot), several randomly important tools, including a magnet on a stick, some cans and WAY too many strawberries, I ventured into the world of mashed berries.
Canning is surprisingly easy and, once I got past the fear of potentially sharing botulism all that tried my jam, it was a very relaxing evening. You get to mash lots of strawberries, which is good for aggression, and it is just repetitive enough to lull you into jamming bliss. After I mashed more strawberries than I’d like to admit, into the pot they went! Add some pectin and lemon juice, for acid, then…a little…sugar.
Nah, a lot – no reason pretending on this one…like 7 cups. Exactly 7 cups actually – to the 5 cups of strawberries. Mmmmmmm, no wonder jam is so delicious!
From there it is all about adding some heat and waiting for the boil. Meanwhile the lovely jars are taking a little hot bath to ready themselves for the jam – don’t want shattered glass in the kitchen.
After filling all the jars with the delicious, crazy hot, liquid – they go for a dip together in the boiling pot for heat-processing – around 10 minutes. This kills the bacteria in them and seals the top making it last for a year. (sweet!)
I had no idea how satisfying the popping sound of jar lids could be – it really made me feel like I had accomplished something. I made that and it is going to be delectable!
Next is the hardest part of the entire process – seriously. The jars then have to sit on the counter untouched for 24 full hours. (this helps to make sure that the seal solid and there won’t be any botulism shared with the deliciousness of the jam)
SO WORTH THE WAIT! Once you’ve tried homemade jam you will never go back!
And, by the way, I have made more jam since the first experience – it was so good I had to make some more and it was easier the second time too. The materials have already paid for themselves in saved money on store bought jam.