It helped me get through the winter, I tell you.
I originally decided to make a batch of water-bath processed jam and a batch of freezer jam, with the intention of giving some of these away. I also wanted to see which I liked better--freezer or processed. However, when I got down my enameled water bath canning pot, I saw, right there on the label, that it said "Not for use on glass/ceramic cooktops". I wasn't sure why, but after a quick search online, I found the answer--and there were a couple of reasons. One, the glass cooktops tend to have sensors in the burners that keep them from heating the cooktop surface up too much, which prevents the glass from cracking. Because of this, the burners will not keep a consistent temperature needed to properly kill any bacteria in the jars. Second, the enamel pot did not have a smooth, flat bottom--it had concentric inverted rings that extended into the inside bottom of the pot. Having less surface contact meant an uneven heat, and that's a no-no. So, sadly, not having all of the equipment to substitute another pot for the enamel one, I decided to just make freezer jam. Besides, it sounded easier!
After a fun trip to Suter's, the nearest u-pick strawberry patch, I had all of the strawberries I could ever want or need.
Once we got our pails home, I gathered my supplies and then I began the tedious task of washing and hulling every. single. strawberry. known. to. man.
|To my husband--I heart you berry much!|
I crushed the berries, a layer at a time, with a potato masher. It leaves larger chunks of strawberries, but still mashes them well. I also tried a pastry blender, but didn't like the results quite as much.
After I accumulated four cups of crushed berries and juice, I added two tablespoons of lemon juice.
After washing the jars, rings and lids, I lined them all up on wax paper on the table (just to protect the table, no other reason for the paper). Then, using a canning funnel and ladle, I scooped the jam into the jars up to the bottom edge of the funnel. I consistently got 6 half pint jars with each batch. I let them sit, uncovered, for 30 minutes to thicken.
After 30 minutes, I couldn't help it--I had to taste my creation. I loved it! I spent the rest of the afternoon eating spoonfuls of the jam out of the tester jar while I prepared a total of two dozen half pints of freezer jam. Easiest jam I ever made! I already gave three jars to our neighbors. I hope they like it!
I used one full bucket of berries to get the two dozen jars of jam. And this is still what was left!