Sunday, June 7, 2015

Oh Hot Damn, This is My Lazy (Strawberry) Jam (More Like Syrup)

Never in my life did I think I would be going to a hardware store to buy small canning jars and canning tongs, then skimming foam off of strawberry jam guts. Never. I was never interested in such things and then married a man who was a cook my profession when I met him. And he also loved to cook at home, so I was like SCORE!

Babies changed that dynamic a little bit and also the man I married ended up having to travel quite a bit so cooking became my thing. I have my staples like lasagna, spaghetti, tacos, meatloaf, chili and such. Things the kids will eat but that are not exactly gourmet. I leave that to the Mister.

I have also always left things like gardening and canning to him. But recently we went strawberry picking and I found myself with a surplus of berries and my man was out of town. What to do with them? My friend over here made some jam and I figured maybe I could give it a shot also. I don't have babies on my hip anymore so an undertaking like this should be easy, huh?

So here's the recipe I used from over here at this site. Immediately I was like, "Okay, so this chick doesn't have kids yet and has all the time in the world to spend 5 hours making jam and I don't have that luxury so I'm going to take some shortcuts." And it worked out just fine. So here is MY version. You decide which one to use!

  1. Boil 12 8-ounce canning jars and the flat lids all together. I didn't separate them.
  2. Cut the green tops off 13 cups of strawberries. I did not hull them because I didn't have an extra hour to spare. I hoped for the best and it turned out fine. Who cores a tiny little strawberry?
  3. Put all berries into a large pot and simmer over medium-low heat while mashing them up with a potato masher. 
  4. Add 6 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Here I should have used real lemons and the rind and taken the rind out later. I did not use pectin because I wasn't running all over Creation to find it and Stacey says it's full of junk anyway, so what's the point?
  5. Boil that pot of goodness, skimming the foam off. (yes, we did eat it later), stirring and watching the whole time.
  6. After half an hour it should be getting thick. Should be. Mine wasn't even 10 minutes later (do that trick where you put it on a plate and if it's runny you're not done). So I grabbed a box of strawberry Jello-O I just happened to have and put in 6 teaspoons. Shoulda put in the whole box because it thickened it a little bit but not enough.
  7. Remove the jars and fill with jam but leave 1/4 inch at the top. Put the lids on and the screw lids.
  8. Put jars in boiling water in a huge pot for 15 minutes a batch.
  9. Listen for that lovely POP that means they have sealed properly. One one of my 12 did not ... BAM! So we are eating that one immediately straight from the fridge. The rest go to friends or into the pantry.
I could see myself doing this with peaches and more strawberries and even blueberries and stocking up on jams for Christmas gifts. Twelve jars with lids and screw lids were only like $11 so those are about a buck a piece. Then count in the cost of your fruit, sugar and lemons and you have a cost-effective, healthy, yummy gift.

Like I said, mine did not get thick so I'm heading for the pectin next time. For now we are calling it canned strawberry syrup and putting it on waffles this morning!

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