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Friday, October 3, 2008

Strawberry Jam

New attempts: Jam.

It was pretty simple actually. People seem to be somewhat impressed when I give them a jar of jam and tell them it's homemade but really it was one of the easiest recipe that I have made lately.

What I was most impressed with was the idea of canning itself. I always watched my grandmother can basically everything when I was little and thought it was such an ordeal. But using the oven to heat the jars was the trick. Then they were all sealed and my grandmother was impressed.

Now if only I had some bread to make toast...

Strawberry Jam
2 cups sugar
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. (I keep one in the freezer.) Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated. Use immediately, or follow proper canning guidelines below.

To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.