Last year hubby and I transplanted a lot of plants from one of the garden beds to make way for strawberries. We planted 50 strawberry plants of different varieties a year ago. We got only a handful of strawberries last fall, but the past couple of weeks the strawberries have been extremely prolific! The kids and I have been out every-other-day picking two bowls full of ripe strawberries each time. We opted not to use any sprays and were worried because the insects got so many of them last year. But not to worry! While I do wind up composting a fair number (lets say a half a bowl for the two bowls you see in the picture below), it’s peace of mind not to have any sprays (even the organic ones).
There are only so many strawberries we could eat at a time, so we set to work making strawberry jam. I felt confident to give it a go because my folks always made their own jams when I was growing up (mostly blueberry jam). The girls have been eager to help out. Making jam is a pretty easy process. The hardest part is making sure the jars and lids are sterilized and that everything is all laid-out and set to go before you start boiling the fruit.
So what is in jam? There are different versions but in general just crushed strawberries, sugar, pectin (Sure-jell) and a dash of butter to prevent foaming. We also made a version that calls for some lemon juice.
All in all, it takes about 45 minutes from start to finish (perhaps a little longer to wash and prepare the berries. You bring the crushed strawberries to a boil, add sugar and bring it back up to a full boil for just 1 to 4 minutes depending on your recipe. Then you quickly scoop the liquid into the sterilized jars, put on the sterilized lid and screw on the bands. To process the jam, you stick the jars of jam into a pot of boiling water for ten minutes. Then remove it and let it cool. That’s it! The jam is ready to be stored away for up to a year! Anyway, I tell you all this not as a guide (you need to follow the measurements exactly and follow the directions to a T on the amount of time to boil everything), but to show you just how simple it is to make your own jam! I’ve made 15 jars of jam in the past week or so! (Guess what Grandpa got for his birthday?!!)
Maybe you could take the kids to a pick-your-own berry farm and make your own jam this summer! The kids loved making it and our entire family has loved the tasty jam!