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