Canning 101 – Strawberry Jam

This is not going to be a lesson in canning but rather a brief documentary into my life and my recent attempt to can. 

My first foray into canning was Strawberry Jam. I ordered an obscene amount of strawberries from my local produce co-op with the sole purpose of making homemade jam. I then promptly went to the store to get my supplies.  I am sure that I bought many items that are not needed however I am like a first time mother in this arena so if it looked pretty and the box claimed I needed it, then I bought it.

I am amazed by the amount of stuff out there. I bought four different types of pectin.  Did you know there is liquid pectin?  What is that?  Does it work well?  I may not know exactly what it does for canning but I will tell you that I have a big box of the stuff siting in my pantry.

The beginning of the process: I have all my canning equipment prepared. I am ready to jam and make some strawberry magic.

how to make strawberry jam

Core (take the leaves and stems off) the strawberries and place them one layer at a time in a bowl and smush them with a potato masher.

The process of canning strawberry jam requires smashing the berries

After smashing the strawberries I combined them with 6 cups of sugar.  Yes, 6 cups.  8 cups strawberries and 6 cups sugar. This  is the part that stumped me.  I had two recipes in the Ball Canning book, one required pectin and the other did not. I chose the later because I had no idea what pectin to use!

Strawberries are on the stove top boiling ready to be canned for strawberry jam

There is my operation hub. Strawberries coming to a slow boil and my giant pot of water awaiting filled Ball mason jars to boil.

Strawberries on the stove top making the Ball Canning book Strawberry jam recipe

After the strawberries were thick and had come to a “slow boil”, I finally got to ladle them into their jars. At least they look pretty…

Strawberry jam preserves in the Ball canning for beginners basket

15 minutes later I have a jar of Strawberry something.  The strawberries seemed to have separate and congregate at the top.  Is this normal?! I have no idea! All I know is that I have a solid vacuum seal on this sucker and THAT was my major concern. 

Strawberry jam made with the Ball Canning recipe in a mason jar

So after an afternoon of attempting to make Strawberry magic, I have four jars of this slightly congealed strawberry slime that has a great vacuum seal.

This whole experience was enlightening, unfortunately, I am still left with lingering questions.  Did I do this right? Why do you need pectin if there are recipes that do not call for it? Why is this called canning when I am clearly working with jars?!   I am not sure if I will ever find out the answers to all of these questions but I am determined to die trying.  Alright, maybe that is a bit drastic but it sounded good….

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6 responses to “Canning 101 – Strawberry Jam

  • Annie

    Hi Morgan, looks to me like u did it right. They call it "floating fruit" when the fruit sits at the top of the jar. Once you open it, just give it a good stir – it should be just fine.About pectin – sometimes the fruit you use has enough natural pectin in it. Like it you were making crabapple jelly. YOu likely would not need to add pectin, as there is enough natural pectin in the fruit itself. That is why some recipes call for it and some don't, the amount ofnatural pectin has been taken into account.Enjoy your Strawberry Jam!

  • Morgan

    Thank you Annie! I was so hoping you would read this and give me advice. I know you are the expert in this area!!!

  • Wendy

    Totally impressed! I have never done any of that before so I totally do not understand why it is called canning when you use jars. Maybe jarring sounded a little too weird?

  • Michelle

    How cool! Your jam looks great. I've always wanted to make my own, and have been thinking about trying it this summer – I've got tons of apricots on our tree just asking to be made into something delectable.Peace,Michelle @ http://greenearthbazaar.com ~ fellow SITS Girl.;)

  • Shawna

    Following you back. Thanks for stopping by Mommy Who Loves Giveaways blog.

  • Theresa

    It looks a lot like the strawberry jam we made. We tried a recipe using apples for their pectin. It was very loose jam. Can't wait to hear how you like it.A new follower from Time 4 Mommy. Our blogs have a lot in common. Would love for you to visit and say hello at It's a Mom's World http://www.theresagrisanti.com

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