Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I recently canned some jam. That's right - I made strawberry jam and then I canned it. If that isn't just the definition of domestic, I don't know what is. It all started when Brad and I were grocery shopping one day. We go to the Cobb International Farmers Market to get all our produce and meat because it's so darn cheap (and delicious). Right as we walked in the door we saw strawberries. Two containers for $1! That's unheard of! You can't even find one container for $1 normally. Turns out it's because they were super ripe and were going to start rotting soon, but still 2 for $1! I quickly crossed off Jam from my grocery list and bought 4 things of strawberries, determined to go home and make something yummy with them.
When we got home, I looked up tons of recipes and finally found one I liked. I halved and hulled all the berries per the recipe, and right as I was warming up my sauce pan on the stove I realized that in order to can strawberry jam I would most definitely need CANS! So I placed my berries in the frig and was off to walmart. I got home with my cans (and fruit pectin) and was so excited I could burst. But wait, how do you can things anyways? I found this awesome intro to canning that was totally written for people just like me who have never before in their life canned anything. But it would also be just peachy for those of you who have done this a million times and just need a little refresher course. Are you ready for it....drum roll, please....

Oh, and by the way, here's the recipe:
5 cups crushed strawberries (approximately 3 pounds), hulled and halved
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
7 cups sugar 
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 packet fruit pectin
Combine crushed strawberries and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Still in fruit pectin and butter. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Return mixture to full boil. Boil for one minute and then remove from heat.
Fill jars.

Let's begin.
The very first thing you need to do is wash all your jars and lids in HOT, soapy water. I had Brad complete this step for me. My poor little hands just have such a low pain tolerance when it comes to super hot water. Thanks hun :-)!

The next step is to keep your jars warm. If you let them cool down to room temperature and then put scalding hot jam in them they'll most likely break. (Vice versa as well...Brad once put a glass dish hot from in the oven into the sink and ran cold water over it without thinking and it shattered...oops!) So I just heated up some water on the stove to a simmer and put my jars in there until I was ready for them.

Now for the fun part - preparing the jam! The strawberries don't have to be perfectly crushed. You can still have a few bigger pieces. It'll taste great no matter what.

7 cups of sugar is seriously almost a whole 5 pound bag. Lots and lots of lots of sugar.

The next step is to fill your nice and warm jars with your toasty jam. You'll want to fill them up to about here. Apparently, according to my handy dandy canning guide, the jam will expand in the jar during the canning process, so you need to give it plenty of room to do so. Wipe any extra jam from the sides of the jars and put your lids on. Not too tight though - "fingertip tight" - in order to let the air inside escape while canning.

I don't have any pictures of the next couple of steps...sorry.
So I didn't have many of the essential tools, but everything worked out just fine. You need a pot that is deep enough to cover the jars with at least one inch of water. (I don't have a pot that large, so I used the biggest one I had, which only covered the jars with about 2 centimeters of water. But I definitely suggest using a bigger pot if you have one. In fact, I'll be buying one before my next canning adventure.) Before you put the cans straight into the water, put them on one of these things:
A canning rack. This would have been lovely to have, but if you don't have one (like me) you can still can without it. (But once again, I'll probably buy one before next time.) 
So once you've got your jars in your pot, cover the pot and boil for 5 minutes (I didn't cover the pot because all my extra water would have spilled out and everything turned out fine). P.S. the canning guide I linked to earlier has a chart with altitude adjustments for cooking time.
Next, I had a second pot filled as high as I could with simmering water. I [Brad] moved the jars from the boiling water to the simmering water and let them sit for 5 minutes. Then you place them on a towel or cooling rack and leave them alone for 12 hours.
Sorry for the blurriness.

I baked some homemade bread and we enjoyed our DELICIOUS strawberry jam on fresh warm bread. Yum.

Love, Brad & Courtney


  1. Nice work! Another way to seal the jars is after you've filled them with jam and tightened the bands, flip them upside down for 15-20 minutes. Then when you flip them back up you'll hear them pop, which means they've sealed. Much easier than the whole "bath" process. I've never warmed my jars before, but I keep the lids and bands in a pot of simmering hot water (like you did the jars). Always works like a charm! I love homemade jam. It makes a great visiting teaching gift and is just plain better than store bought.

  2. Oh my gosh! Valeri this is fantastic! Simply turning them over for 20 minutes sounds SO MUCH EASIER than "bathing" them. I'm totally doing that next time! You're the best!