Strawberry Jam

I'm learning so much about how to become more self sufficient and reliant these days. But what I didn't expect was how gratifying and addicting preserving and canning would be. Canning mostly, I haven't tried any other technique to preserving food, like dehydrating, cause I'm stuck on canning! We have preserved a few foods, including some Garlic Dill Pickles, but today I'm jammin'! And I'm sharing my experience with you!

We went on an adventure to an awesome farm close to home, complete with full bellies and a tractor ride to and from the strawberry patch to pick these delicious plump berries! Once we brought the berries home we gave them in a bath with a half full sink with lukewarm water and a cup of vinegar. We chopped them up and removed the stems and any other nasty bits.

Pro tip: {well, I'm not an actual pro, but this tip is gold, baby!} Start boiling your jars and water bath water right away, so when you are ready to process them, you aren't waiting around for a pot of water to boil! 
2nd Pro Tip: When you are heating your seals and rims to ensure proper 'pinging', do not continuously boil your seals, this can damage them and end up spoiling your food, and your day..
3rd Pro Tip: If you set your lids inside your rims, similar to how they sit on top of the jar, when adding them to the pot to heat up, it makes it easier to pull them out with your magnetic wand, rather than chasing them around the pot. 

Once the berries are clean, mash them to leave chunks or use an immersion blender if you like a smoother jam. I did a little of both because I only wanted a few chunks. You will want 4 cups of strawberry mash in the end.

1. Add your 4 cups of strawberry mash with your box of pectin and a spoonful of butter, to reduce foaming, in your pot on medium-high until it is boiling.

2. Once it is boiling well, combine your 7 cups of sugar and return to a rolling boil.

3. Remove from heat and use a metal spoon to remove the foam from the top.

Now that your kitchen smells amazing, fill your hot sterilized jars leaving a half an inch of room, or 'headspace', wipe the rims of the jars and place on those seals and rims.

Tighten them up just a bit and water process for about 10 minutes or longer depending on your elevation.

Water bath canning strawberry jam is a new thing. I remember the days when this wasn't necessary but nowadays, it is recommended to prevent spoilage and botulism. I already had the pot of water boiling from sterilizing my jars, so I went a head and did it anyways!

All that is left to do is listen for the canning 'sounds of success'! If a jar doesn't ping or seal properly, once cooled place in the fridge and enjoy it rather than store it. I usually let my jars sit on the counter until they are cooled, then store them in a dark cool place, away from a breeze.

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