We are having an amazing flush of fall strawberries this year, and the colder nights make the berries super sweet. Given the state of the economy, I feel more pressed to preserve the abundance of food growing in our garden. Making organic strawberry jam is easy, and it is one food item I can easily provide our family a year’s supply of with the help of my children. This recipe makes about 5-6 cups of jam, so I like to double it. You don’t need a pressure canner to can jam; just a big pot will do. You will need to purchase pectin; I like sugar-free, citrus-based Pomona’s Universal Pectin.
Organic Strawberry Jam
In preparation for canning:
Sterilize your jelly jars. You can do this by placing them in boiling water or in your dishwasher. Also, heat up the rings and lids in a pot of water until little bubbles begin to appear, but do not boil. Heat a really large pot of water for canning. The jars must be completely covered by the water. Place a lid on the pot to help the water heat faster.
To make the jam:
- Pick or buy 2 quarts of berries
- Clean the berries, remove the green tops, and mash gently.
- Add 2 teaspoons of calcium water (included in pectin package) to mashed berries
In a separate bowl combine:
- 1/2-1 cup honey, 3/4 cup-2 cup organic sugar, or the equivalents of stevia, sucanat, or maple syrup (the amount of sweetner should be adjusted for the sweetness of the berries you are using. I used one cup of sugar).
- 2 teaspoons pectin powder
Bring mashed fruit to a boil. Add pectin/sweetner mixture. Stir vigorously for two minutes, return to a boil, then remove from heat.
Canning the jam:
- Fill each jar to 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rims clean, then add the lids and screw tops.
- Place jars in the big pot of boiling water so that they are completely covered. Boil for 5 minutes (add 1 minute for every 1000 feet of elevation above sea level).
- Let jars completely cool. The jam will not solidify until cool. Check lids to make sure they are sealed/sucked down.
We estimate we have saved our family $70 by canning a dozen jars of organic strawberry jam. Even better, we know where the strawberries were grown and the hands that have tended and harvested the fruit from start to finish. My daughter ate four pieces of toast and our homemade jam for breakfast this morning!
Image: Jennifer Lance