Monday, June 25, 2012

Call Me Martha

This is not a cooking blog. 

But today it is.

Last Friday I was out of jelly.  I noticed this 3.409809 seconds after returning home from Aldi.  Fail.

Rather than drive 10 minutes to get one item and armed with my newly purchased mason jars (for charming, summery drinking glasses, of course!), Rachel Ray's recipe for canning/jam, and two pounds of $0.99 strawberries, I decided I would give it a whirl.

Rachel Ray's Steps for 1st Time Canning- Strawberry Jam

Step 1: Wash mason jars in hot soapy water (or run them through the dishwasher if time allows.)

Step 2: Rinse and hull 2 pounds of strawberries and fill a large pot of water.  You will boil your jars in this pot to sterilize them.  (If you have a canning rack, use it.  I didn't and found I didn't need it.)

Step 3: Place jars and lids in the water and bring to a simmer.  Keep them in simmering water for at least 10 minutes.  Jars must remain hot until you're ready to fill them.

Step 4: In a nonreactive pot, add strawberries, zest from one lemon, and about 1 tbsp of lemon juice over high heat, stirring and mashing constantly. 

Step 5: Stir in 1 packet of fruit pectin (I used the low sugar variety) and bring mixture to a rolling boil.  Add 1 cup of sugar until the mixture thickens and darkens in color, about 20 minutes. 

*I used 1/2 cup sugar because I thought 1 cup was a lot.*

Step 6: Use a pair of tongs to lift jars and lids out of the hot water and set on a clean towel.  Ladle jam into the sterilized jar, leaving 1/4 for head space.  Seal.  Allow jam to cool for 12 hours.

Now here's where I stopped.  However, if you planned to store your jam (i.e. not eat it right away) you'd need to put the sealed jars back into the pot of simmering water for another 10 minutes.  This ensures that it won't spoil when sitting on your cabinet shelf.

After checking with some experts in the field of canning, I found that if the jam would be residing in the fridge for us to eat right away, I could skip this step.

From start to finish, this recipe took approximately an hour, but required 12 hours of cooling time.  It made one pint size jar of jam and it tastes great!

So there you have it. Jam making was a relatively painless process and I have the added benefit of knowing exactly what ingredients are in our food!



  1. I have no idea what fruit pectin is, but am impressed you do and had it! Looks yummy!

  2. Until I looked it up, I had no idea what it did either. It's an extract from apples that helps things thicken and it allows you to use less sugar.

  3. Wow! Color me impressed! Sounds yummy! :)

  4. Thanks Melissa! I was pleasantly surprised by how much better it tastes than store-bought.