Recipe: Strawberry Jam

I had to throw The Legend in there, I just had to =)

Now go put on the track, and make this recipe before strawberries are out of season!

Ingredients:
3 pints of strawberries
1 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
2 Tbs cornstarch
4 8oz. canning jars

Wash the jars and lids with hot, soapy water.  In a large pot, place the glass portion of the jars in the pot then fill the pot (not the jars) half-way with water.  Do not get water inside the jars. We are preparing them for the hot jam because as we all remember from grade school, if you put hot water in cold glass what happens?  Bring the water to a boil then turn off the heat.  Let the jars stand in hot water until they are ready to use.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, rinse the strawberries.  Cut off the stems. Put the strawberries in another large pot under medium heat.  Add sugar.  Let it simmer down for 20-25 minutes, or until the strawberries have broken down.  The strawberries will release their juices.  Then take a potato masher and mash the strawberries down to break them even more.

Did you turn off the boiling water with the jars?

 While your strawberries are simmering, zest and juice 1 large lemon into a small bowl.  Add the cornstarch to the juice and whisk with a fork.  The cornstarch will help thicken the jam.  This recipe will not make the jam into jelly consistency, but it gets to medium consistency.  Add the cornstarch/lemon juice mixture to the strawberries and bring the pot to a boil.  The cornstarch will activate after it has been boiled.  After it has come to a boil, bring it back down to a simmer.  Taste it (careful! it's extremely hot!) to see if it needs more sugar.  The riper the strawberries are, the less sugar you will need.  

Now you are ready to jar.  Carefully take out the jars from the warm water.  Fill them with the jam leaving 1/4 inch at the top of the jar.  Clean up any spillage.  Seal the jar not screwing the lid on too tight so extra air can escape.  Return the jars to the water bath and boil for 12-15 minutes.  

Take the jars out and let cool.  The top of the lid should not flex when you press down on it.  You know how jars say, "Reject if button is up."  If it's up, refrigerate and use that one first.  It should be good for 7-10 days.  If your buttons are down they are good for up to a year.  To open jars for use, screw the lid belly off and take a jar opener and pry the lid open.

Here is a full guide to canning if you are interested in more information: http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.aspx

I added a tag and a spoon to my jars and gave them away as gifts.  Hope you get to can other fun things to take advantage of the summer produce... and I hope you like jammin' too.


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