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Make it Yourself: Honey Berry Jam

The strawberry dilemma of a few weeks ago was solved this Wednesday when we got another six quarts of berries from our Wayward Seed fruit CSA.  I was thrilled!! yes, that is a fruit thief hand

In the span of a few hours on Thursday, I made three quarts of berries into jam. Many people bemoan jam making, but it really is quite simple.

Over the last few years I have developed a recipe using honey instead of refined sugar for the sweetener.  Honey is arguably healthier and provides a delicious compliment to the tart strawberries.

Here's how I jam:

1) Wash three quarts berries

2) Remove stems and chop into pieces (I do this in my hand dropping pieces right into a ten quart cooking pot )

3) Place eight pint jars in your canner (I use our pressure cooker pot), add water, and bring to a boil.

4) Place lids (new) and rings (can be reused) in a smaller pot, fill with water and bring to a boil.

5) Back to the berries: Mash with potato masher and add one packet of Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin, Low Sugar.  Mash more until all large pieces are broken and Sure-Jell is well mixed.

6) Put strawberries on a burner set on medium and bring to boil.

(Yes, you now have three pots on the stove.  I suggest doing this on a cool day.)

7) (Meanwhile) Once jars are boiling, carefully lift out and place on a towel next to strawberry burner.  I use cooking tongs in one hand to grab the jar and a towel in other hand to hold it as soon as it is out of the boiling water.  Dip a ladle into boiling water to sanitize it too.

8) When strawberries are at boil, add in four cups of honey.  Stir frequently.

9) Allow strawberry/honey to return to boil and then keep at boil for five minutes.  Stir frequently.

10) Turn off the heat.

11) One at a time, fill jars:

  • Funnel jam into santized jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of the top. I use a Stainless Steel Wide-Mouth Funnel to make this easier.
  • Wipe rim with clean towel
  • Place lid centered on top
  • Screw on lid to finger tight
  • Carefully place into canner

12) Fill canner with enough water that all jars are covered by at least one inch.

13) Return canner to high heat.  Boil for ten minutes.

14) Remove jars to a towel.

15) Allow to cool completely (24 hours).

16) Remove rings and wipe away any jam that may have escaped to the sides.

That's it!  I know 16 steps sounds like a lot, but it really isn't hard and only takes about two hours start to finish.  The quality is astounding compared to store bought jam.

Making jam is an investment initally.  Thrift stores often have appropriate pots and sometimes pint jars too.  You can see that I don't use or recommend a canner specific pot - any tall sided pot will do.  Jar tongs are handy but not necessary.  You do need to buy new lids each time to create a proper seal.

Do you make jam? What's your favorite kind?