With summer finally here, it is time to embrace the fair weather pleasure of the Farmer’s Market. We are very fortunate here in Ottawa to have many different locations to choose from, and Jamie and I are lucky enough to live within walking distance of a few.
Our on last visit I was so happy to see that strawberries are in season! The window for any fresh berry season is very small, maybe two weeks, so when I saw the overflowing baskets of strawberries I knew I had to get some.
Earlier this year, my brother-in-law, Dwayne, and I had discussed the possibility of taking vacation together, going berry picking and doing a lot of jam making. But, unfortunately, we didn’t align our holiday schedules, and we missed our opportunity, but I am sure that we will eventually have a holiday jam session 😉
Just smelling all the strawberries at the Farmer’s Market, I knew that I had to make up a batch of strawberry jam. So I bought four litres of strawberries and headed home.
I have dabbled in canning before, but never have I made a batch of strawberry jam. This seems kind of strange, since it is such an introductory jam, but alas, I have never attempted this decadent spread. A few years ago Dwayne made up a batch of strawberry vanilla jam. I remember when I tasted it; I thought that it was the most delicious jam I had ever tried. I wanted to replicate that flavour, so I took down my Bernardin Canning book to search for the same recipe my brother-in-law had used a few years ago.
I didn’t have to look far, as the recipe for Strawberry Jam was on page 9 🙂
When I was reading over the contents for the jam, I was really surprised at how much sugar it takes to make a batch of jam – seven cups! That is a lot of sugar, and strawberries are already sweet, but I didn’t want to change any of the ingredients or the quantity of them, since I know that if you don’t have the right mixture of preservatives when you are canning, there is a possibility of bacteria. So, I measured out seven cups of sugar and turned off the part of my brain that tries to eat healthy.
The original recipe said that five and a half cups of crushed strawberries (along with all the sugar) would make about eight cups of jam. But I found that I was able to get eleven jars of jam. It took two full litres of strawberries to get the required five and a half cups of crushed berries.
The addition of the vanilla bean, just adds a hint of vanilla to the flavour of the jam, and brings the homemade jam to a whole new level of awesome! This jam is absolutely perfect served over top a warm tea biscuit, fresh from the oven.
Now that I have dusted off my canning abilities, I am already thinking of my next project – Blueberry Lemon Jam!
Recipe Courtesy of:
Bernardin – Complete Book of Home Preserving
- 7 cups white sugar
- 5 cups crushed strawberries
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 package regular powdered pectin
- Place 10 clean 8-ounce mason jars on a rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the jars and canner with cool water that reaches the top of the jars. Cover and bring water to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil.
- Prepare 10 two-piece closures. Set screw bands aside. Place lids in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat just to a simmer over medium heat, but do not boil. Keep lids warm until ready to use. Do not heat screw bands.
- Measure sugar into a bowl and set aside.
- In a colander placed over a sink, wash strawberries in cool running water. Drain thoroughly and remove hulls.
- In a flat-bottomed dish, place a single layer of strawberries. Using a potato masher, crush berries. Transfer crushed berries into a large stainless steel saucepan.
- Add lemon juice and split vanilla bean to the crushed strawberries. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and, stirring constantly, return to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and, using a large slotted metal spoon, skim off foam and remove the vanilla bean.
- Fill one jar at a time. Remove jar from canner and empty hot water back into canner. (Do not dry the jars) Place jar on a try or towel-cover counter and place a canning funnel in it. Ladle hot jam into hot jar, leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Slide a nonmetallic utensil down between the jam and the inside of the jar to release air bubbles. Add more jam if necessary. With a clean damp cloth, wipe jar rim and threads to remove any food residue. Using a magnetic utensil, lift hot lid from water and center it on jar. Place screw band on jar and, using your fingers, screw band down evenly and firmly, just until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Do not over-tighten or use any tools to apply screw band. Return jar to canner rack and repeat until all jam is used.
- When all jars are filled. lower rack into canner and ensure all jars are completely covered by at least one inch of hot water. Cover canner and bring water to a full rolling boil over high heat. Process (continue boiling rapidly) for ten minutes, starting timer only when water reaches a full rolling boil. At the end of the processing time, turn heat off and remove canner lid. Wait five minutes, then remove jars, without tilting. Place jars upright on a towel in a draft-free place and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, check lids for seal. Remove screw bands and press down on the centre of each lid with your finger. Sealed lids will concave (they’ll curve downward) and will show no movement when pressed. Jars that haven’t sealed properly must be refrigerated immediately or reprocessed. Rinse and dry screw bands. Wipe jars, and, if desired, loosely reapply screw bands. Label jars and store in a cool, dry, dark place.