I was going to title this post, “I am in a jam,” but my wife thought that would be too corny. You are welcome.
So this past weekend, my wife and I made strawberry jam. We’ve made it every year since 2004, before we were even married. My wife has been making jam for even longer, but I can’t talk about that, because I wasn’t there. Anyway, here’s how jam making works.
First, you pick the berries. We like to go down the road from my in-laws house to DeLange’s Redberry Farm, where the berries are big and plentiful.
If I were to eat all of these berries, I would be big and plentiful too.
Maybe just one.
We almost always pick too much.
Here’s a mutant one we found. I assume this one will make its batch of jam extra delicious. Or possibly turn the eaters of said jam into superheros. We’ll see.
To prep the berries, they need to be washed and hulled (have the leafy parts taken off the top). Here is me and my sis-in-law and my oldest daughter. The OD actually volunteered to help and then didn’t want to take any breaks. She has her mother’s work ethic.
Once prepped, the berries must be chopped. The best way to it is with a food processor. Plus, it is fun to push a button and turn whole berries into slurry. Unfortunately, you also make the processor look like a serial killer by then end of the day.
Double check that you have all relevant supplies: lots of sugar, cans, lids, rings (for the cans), pectin, a canning funnel, some just-boiled water in a bowl, pots, a ladle, a washcloth (one that’s okay to get jam all over it), a stick of butter (or margarine), bowls to hold sugar and strawberry slurry, and a magnet. Also, some potholders, unless you like burning yourself, in which case, stop reading this and go get some professional help.
Seriously, you need a ton of sugar. Good jam is 5 cups of crushed berries with 7 cups of sugar per batch. Mmmm, sugar.
Here, we see my wife stirring two batches of jam. Two at once? Oh yeah, she’s pretty amazing. The nearest pot has not had sugar added to it yet.
Here’s the pot that has sugar. 7 cups of it. Dark as sin (and twice as tasty).
After it does a rolling boil for a full minute, you pour it into jars, seal them up, and relax.
A good way to relax is by swimming with the kids. Here’s my OD with an uninflated swimmy on her head. Someday, a potential boyfriend will find this image and not be as interested. Maybe. Anyway, I can hope.
Here’s a gratuitous photo of my youngest daughter. Isn’t she cute?
So can you make jam from these instructions? Probably not. But there are directions in the box of pectin. Oh yeah, you’ll need a box of pectin. I don’t know if I mentioned that or not. Anyway, sorry. Maybe you should just buy some of the jam we made instead of trying to do it yourself.
6 thoughts on “I am the King of Strawberry Jam (Plus a Slide Show).”
Homemade jam is the best, but now I remember all the work that it requires. Maybe I’ll pass again this year. 🙂
If you need a jar, I’ll be coming to Kalamazoo this weekend.
Love the pictures not the picking. What’s the butter for? Never heard of that in the jam recipe. Or your grandma Mosey cheated us to save calories (kind of like her watered down juices to save money). Like the pictures of the girls working especially. They are growing so fast. Good post sounds like a fun-family day and a great tradition.
The butter keeps away the froth that forms in the boiling process. You don’t need much. As for watering down juice, we do that too.
What’s the magnet for??? What are you looking for in the jam that would require you to need a magnet.
It makes the jam more attractive. But seriously, in order to get the lids to adhere correctly to the jars, they need to be placed into just-boiled water. It is a lot nicer picking them up with a magnet than with your fingers.