I’m ticking things off on my Summer To-Do List and just went berry picking with my sister. You can read all about that here. After we picked the berries we needed something to do with them and my sister suggested making this jam recipe. So with our pounds of berries ready to be made into sweet deliciousness we tried our hand at canning jam.
The recipe had for simple ingredients: strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice and sugar. No pectin. This seemed like a good beginner recipe because we were familiar with all of the ingredients and the actual canning part was daunting enough without using some new to us ingredient. We got the ingredients all prepped and ready and put them in a big pot to simmer and cook down.
The original blog post recipe didn’t mention the pink foam so who knows if we had the heat too high, or low or if that is what was supposed to happen. It looked pretty and smelled scrumptious though. When we tasted it, it was sweeter than we anticipated so next time we want to add more rhubarb and maybe a little more lemon. We also had a hard time finding rhubarb (weird) and cleaned out two stores. So we may have had faulty rhubarb, who knows. Side note: we doubled the batch so if you make the exact recipe your strawberry goo might look a lot smaller than ours.
While the jam was a bubbling and a brewing we sterilized the jars, lids and rings in a boiling bath in this big ol’ stock pot. We purchased this set of canning tools to help us set in and lift out the glass jars from the boiling water. You could use tongs, but the jar lifter was a life saver for me because it really gripped the jars. I was pretty worried about exploding hot glass all over the place and this helped ease my mind. Getting the lids off the bottom proved to be difficult when trying to use the jar lifter. Too bad I was not really thinking because the canning tool kit came with a magnetic lid lifter for this purpose. DUH! Apparently I did not have my thinking cap on while doing this because that tool went unused. Well there is always next time. Whomp, whomp.
After the jam finally seemed think enough (after about an hour and twenty minutes of cooking) we were ready to fill the jars. I didn’t get any pictures of this sticky situation, but we used the funnel pictured above to fill the jars and the green wand with the end that looks like stairs to make sure we had enough head space (space between the jam and the top of the jar) before we put the lids on. We were careful to wipe down the edges in case there were any spills and put the lids and rings on.
Then came the scary part, putting the full jars into the stock pot that was full of new, boiling water. We were very careful and nothing exploded, so even if the jam tasted nasty, at least we had that success. Then we waited for the pot to start boiling again set the timer for ten minutes and waited.
Then the second scariest part happened, we had to get the jam jars back out of the boiling water and set them on the counter to seal. Again, we accomplished this without incident which was an excellent feeling. Once the jam was on the counter we anxiously awaited to see if we would hear the tell-tale popping noise that meant they sealed.
Soon after we pulled them out we heard one pop. Then nothing. We waited and then my sister touched the top of a few and they sealed! Then two more sealed on their own. Then my sister tapped on the remaining stragglers and they too sealed. We had successfully filled 7 jars with our homemade jam. My sister waited for the jars to cool down a bit and then took her three jars home.
We had to wait 24 hours before opening the jams and trying them out. That was pure torture. Once we got them all to seal we wanted to see if the flavor had been a success.
When we were finally able to try them out my husband busted out the bread and had a Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich and I had some toast. The jam was sweeter than I anticipated for the amount of rhubarb we put in the recipe. But like I said earlier, our rhubarb game was a little weak, the stuff we got was not the cream of the crop. But our jam was good! It was runnier than store bought, but that is to be expected with the lack of pectin and the fresh, natural ingredients we used. I would call this first attempt at canning a SUCCESS! Now I am dreaming up ways to use this sweet little treat.
Until next time,
I love you more than strawberry jam and attempting to can,