Today I went strawberry picking with my mother-in-law, Lola! The end of the season is quickly approaching here in SC, but we were still able to pick nearly 12lbs of the brightest, sweetest berries in the hot morning sun.
As soon as we brought them back to my house we got to work making strawberry jam. **Disclaimer: if you are an experienced canner, please don't laugh at us with our wok and our too-small pots. Lola was gracious enough to agree to teach me to make jam though I lacked proper equipment.**
The first step was washing and halving 4 cups of berries and combining with 1 cup of sugar in a medium-large pot (we doubled it so each of us could take a batch). After letting the mixture sit for 15 minutes, we brought it to a boil, stirring consistently.
Then we added more sugar. LOTS more sugar. Like, 6 cups more! Yikes! Along with a box of pectin, this is what helped the jam stand up. Once we added the pectin it didn't take long to finish the process--the jars and lids had been sterilized and were sitting in the hot water waiting for the jam to be poured in. Once we filled all 9 jars, we lidded them and waited for the seal.
The jam is absolutely delicious. I can't wait to share with friends and family and eat large amounts of peanut butter and homemade jam sandwiches. This was actually my first canning experience, but it was so easy I can't wait to do more. I have plenty of strawberries left--some already stashed away in the freezer to enjoy long after the season is over--so I'll have to think of other things to make with them. Until then, I'm going to enjoy them with cereal and yogurt and pop them like candy.
**Disclaimer 2 If you're going to can without proper equipment, be aware that you might make a huge mess and at one point fill your house with smoke. Bear in mind it's all worth it in the end.**