Late last week my mother in law stopped by with a large bucket of fresh strawberries that she had picked up.

Since I am on a jam kick these days, I decided to try my hand at making my own. Plus I had a ton of strawberries and didn't want them to go bad!

So I searched online for a simple recipe for strawberry jam. Because I was lazy and didn't want to go to the store for pectin, and since I didn't have any on hand, I narrowed down my search by looking for pectin free jams.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.

Pectin Free Stawberry Jam:

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled (I used 4)
  • 4 cups white sugar (I used 8... thats a lot of sugar!)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (I used 1/2 a cup)
Since I had a lot of strawberries, and the yield for this recipe was only 5 cups, I decided to double what you see above.

Step 1: Mash the Berries

Mash the berries in batches, using a wide bowl, until you have 8 cups of gooey strawberry goodness. I used a pastry blender because it worked well. 

Step 2: Start Steralizing Your Jars

Inspect all of your jars to ensure that there are no cracks or chips, particularly at the mouth of the jars. Wash them well in hot, soapy water, and steralize upside-down in a boiling water bath for at least 10-12 minutes.

Some choose to steralize in a hot dishwasher, or even a hot oven. Do what works for you, but make sure that they are hot and clean when you are going to fill them.

It is also important to steralize your lids. Remember- it is recommended to use a new lid each time to ensure you get a good seal. Rings can be re-used- but lids should be brand new.

Step 3: Make the Jam

Once you have all of your strawberries mashed up, and you have the jars and lids steralizing, it is time to make the jam!

Use the biggest stock pot you have, preferable with a heavy bottom.

Add all of the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice, stirring until all is disolved over low-to-medium heat. Increase the heat to high (incrementally), stirring often, until the mixture is at a full, rolling boil.

Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 220 F (105 C). If you do not have a food thermometor, you can test for jellying using the hint at the bottom of this blog post. (this is what I had to do. I found it took 20 minutes or so).

Step 4: Fill Your Jars and Process

Once you have tested for jellying (see below) or verified that the mixture if hot enough, fill your jars with the jam, leaving about 1/2 an inch of headspace (note that I left a bit too much). The little jars for jams are sooo cute to use and make wonderful gifts- but unfortunately I did not have any.

Note: I did find that much of the fruit chunks floated to the top. One tip I found online to avoid this was to let the mixture cool for a few minutes before filling your jars.

After you have filled the jars, place the lids on top and screw on the metal rings lightly (not too tight!). Process in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes.

Some of you may remember your parents using wax to seal jams and jellys. This is no longer considered safe so processing in a water bath is crutial.

Step 5: Allow to Cool and Check for Sealing

Once the jars have been processed, let them sit on a counter, undisturbed, until they reach room temperature (12-24 hours). Check for sealing by pressing lightly on the lids- they should not give at all.

Note that it will take a full 48 hours for this jam to set- it may still appear very watery at this point. That is ok and does not mean that it will not get thicker.
Most canned goods can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to one year. Since I had never made jam before, and am a little bit paranoid, I decided to store mine in the deep freeze, and just take it out as we need it.

How to Check for Jellying

Place 3 small plates in the freezer. After about 10 minutes of boiling, add a teaspoon to one of the plates. Return to the freezer for just a minute, and try to run your finger through it. If it does not run back together it is ready to be canned! (Use the other plates as needed- if it is not ready the first time).
7/26/2011 06:16:26 am

Note: Not recommended when 37 weeks pregnant. I paid for it big time! I was so sore.

7/28/2011 01:33:06 am

Awesome! Funny thing....I hadn't read this blog post yet,and I just made no-pectic jam for the 1st time yesterday! Weird. I made raspberry & had a hard time figuring out if it was at the "gel" stage or not....it still looked pretty runny, and I cooked it longer than I thought I would have to, so your tip on how to check for gelling is going to be helpful for the next batch! Thanks :-)

7/28/2011 04:06:15 am

YUM! I made raspberry freezer jam the other day and I definitely want to get into making real jam, I just need a bigger kitchen to store all the jars! Your jam looks DELISH.

You're 37 weeks already!? How crow, that baby will be here before you know it. So exciting!!


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