Yesterday my sister, nephew, and I visited the Berry Hill Farm in nearby Verona to do some strawberry picking. We picked for about an hour and a half, leaving with just over 21lbs of berries. That is about 14 quarts! Now I know you are thinking, “What in the world are you going to DO with all of them?” Well, we started out with making a big ol’ batch of strawberry jam. This is something that our mother used to make every summer when we were little. It puts Smuckers to shame. So, we decided to conquer our fears and jam on it!
It was definitely a two man operation, but we overcame our fear of the strawberry napalm and came through unscathed. Something that really helped us was that we sterilized the canning jars and then kept them in the oven at 200⁰F. This allowed us to take them out as needed while keeping them warm, while not having to have another enormous pot of water boiling on the stove. We also made an investment in a couple of key pieces of equipment that made our job WAY easier: canning tongs and a canning funnel. I have canned tomatoes in the past and it was not fun juggling superheated glass jars of tomatoes over a boiling pot. The tongs made it easy peasy to transfer the jars in and out of the water bath, making us breathe a sigh of relief. The canning funnel fits in the mouths of the jars perfectly, eliminating the messy strawberry lava getting all over the rims and threads of the jars. (Something you have to wipe down to make sure you get a clean seal.) We filled all the jars and every one of them sealed properly!
And did it ever turn out great! It is sweet, but not too sugary, and the strawberries really stand out. We crushed them pretty good, so there are no major chunks in there. We wanted it to be easily spreadable while still having bits of berries in the mix. I think we hit the nail on the head. And the color! It is a glorious scarlet red. Beautiful!
Now we have a ton of delicious, ruby red strawberry jam to enjoy and share with our family and friends. I’m excited to see what mom’s verdict will be. She was the inspiration for this, so I hope that she likes it.
We’ll be doing some more strawberry experiments in the kitchen, so stay tuned.