Classic Strawberry Jam
This is the recipe my grandmother always used for her strawberry jam. The taste and color when freshly made can’t be beat. Opening a jar of this in the cold winter months provides the sweetest reminder of summer. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and toast taste so good with a smear of this red spread. It also makes a thoughtful and much-appreciated gift.
Although there is a lot of sugar in the recipe, keep in mind the recipe yields eight 8-ounce jars. Even with some major PB&J fans in my family, one batch lasts for months.
Beside a large, heavy pot, you will need canning jars and lids to accommodate approximately eight cups of jam. It is also helpful to have a funnel wide enough to allow the jam to flow through into your jars–this makes the transfer from the pot easier and less messy. A wooden spoon for stirring, tongs to remove the lids from the simmering water, a potato masher (to crush the berries), and a second large pot or canner are all helpful.
I like to prepare everything in advance. Washing the jars, measuring the sugar, and getting your pot and utensils ready the night before makes for relatively quick work. While I am cooking the berries, I simmer water in a small pot and put all the lids and bands in. When I have ladled the finished jam into the clean jars, the lids are sterile and ready to be screwed on quickly.
- 2 quarts strawberries, washed, stems removed, cut and crushed to yield 5 cups crushed berries (see notes)
- 7 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 1 box fruit pectin (I use Sure-Jell)
- Pour the strawberries into a large pot. Measure the sugar into a separate bowl and set aside. Stir the package of pectin into the strawberries and add the butter.
- Stirring frequently, bring the strawberry mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that does not stop bubbling when stirred), and then add the sugar. Stir to fully incorporate.
- Return the mixture to a full, rolling boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove the pot from the heat.
- Skim any foam from the surface.
- Ladle quickly into clean jars. (I like to use a wide funnel.)
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth.
- Place the heated lids (lids that have been placed in simmering water for at least a minute) on the jars and tighten the bands.
- Place the jars in a canner and process (gently boil) for 10 minutes. The water should cover the jars by an inch or two–add additional boiling water, if necessary. Carefully, remove the jars from the canner.
- Cool completely before storing. Make certain all lids have sealed properly before storing. If the lid springs back when pressed in the middle, it is not sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator.
For many years I used a potato masher to crush the berries. More recently, I chop them and put them straight into the pot. Then, I simply crush the berries with a clean hand. I think this is an easier way to crush the berries quickly and thoroughly.