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Do-It-Yourself: How to Make and Can Organic Strawberry Jam

organic strawberries from my gardenWe 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

Comments

  1. You can also seal the jars by placing them upside down after sealing. Allow to sit upside down for five minutes, turn upright and let sit until cool. The buttons should then pop down and not come back up! (We use this method because I didn’t have a large enough pot to boil or jar tongs to lift hot jars.)

    We made strawberry and blackberry jam this year, it was a first for us and it was really easy and great fun to take the kids out to pick the berries!

  2. After using the Eco-Friendly products mentioned, how do you control unwanted pests in your home? Many people use chemicals and pesticides, because they feel that those products are the only thing available.

    We use PEST OFFense® and have been pest-free for years.

    PEST OFFense® is the only US University Tested Pesticide Free indoor pest control system for your home, business, school, etc. PEST OFFense® is a plug in unit that uses the existing wiring in your building to prevent pests from living and nesting within your walls. The result is pest free living without the use of harmful pesticides where you live and work. It has a Money Back Guarantee and a 1 year Warranty. One unit covers one level of an average size home. Includes a built in night light!
    Uses pennies a day in electricity, and is only $29.95.

    You can get more information at http://www.pestoffense.com

  3. Does anyone know where I could find calcium water? I’m attempted to make berry jam using stavia extract in place of sugar.

    Thanks!

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