Home-made Strawberry Jam

A few weeks ago we were in Visalia, California. I was pretty excited even before we set out from Atlanta, because just the fact that we were heading to CA, was good enough for me. It didn’t bother me that Visalia was actually in the middle of nowhere, and not a very popular city at that. Our last visit to the West coast was to San Francisco and I simply loved it! Visalia was no disappointment; in fact it has now made me love ‘Kalifornee’ even more.

The best part was the Orange groves, numerous vineyards and never ending strawberry farms. It has always been my dream to go strawberry picking, well that didn’t happen in Visalia, due to lack of time. But I did get a chance to visit one of the farms which was about a mile from the hotel we were staying in. We bought a huge basket of freshly picked strawberries for 5$bucks…I felt it was a steal considering how much we pay back in Atlanta for not half as good as the ones we were buying. The strawberries not only smelled great but they were so sweet, I can’t even begin to say how good!


All the while we were in Visalia I feasted on strawberries day in and out, from the same basket, because it was a whole lot. By the end of the trip I had almost half of it still leftover and I brought it back to Atlanta. The berries were bruised, but still usable.

If you are picking or buying already picked strawberries, make sure to look for firm, fully ripened strawberries like the ones in the picture above. They should be a nice red colour with bright green stems, which is a very good indication of their freshness.

Not having the heart to throw out perfectly good tasting strawberries, I turned them into a jam. Very simple recipe and great tasting jam.

Jams can be made with just about any fruit as long as you have the right setting agents and ingredients in the right quantities. Pectin is the primary gelling agent used in jams and jellies, which is available in large grocery store.

Strawberry Jam:



You will need:


5 cups fresh strawberries hulled, rinsed

3 tbsp Pectin

3 ½ cups Sugar (see note below)

¼ cup fresh Lemon juice


4oz or 8oz glass jars with lids and rings



First wash the glass jars with hot soapy water. Place washed jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Put the lids into hot water (not boiling) and let sit for 5 minutes.


Remove jars and lids from the water and set aside. These glass jars are available online or in stores.


Mix the pectin with ¼ cup of sugar and set aside.


Partially crush the strawberries using a potato masher; you can leave small pieces if you want your jam to be chunky. Crushing the berries partially releases the natural pectin in them. Measure the crushed strawberries, you should have about 3- 3 ½ cups. Pour into a deep Teflon coated pan. Stir in the lemon juice and the pectin sugar mix; bring the fruit to a boil on medium high heat. Once it reaches a full boil, add the remaining sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for a whole minute.


At this point you can see a lot of foam on the surface of the jam, skim it with a spoon.


Testing the consistency of the Jam:


Have a metal spoon sitting in ice cold water while you make the jam. Once you skim the foam, take a little bit of the jam in the spoon and let cool to room temperature. Move the spoon, if the jam is still runny, then add some more pectin and continue to boil. The jam should set when at room temp, that’s when it is ready.



Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, place the lid on top and screw on the rings. Immediately place the sealed jars in a hot water bath. Make sure the jars are covered with atleast 2 inches of water on top. Let them sit in the bath for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside in a cool draft free place and let the jars come to room temp. The jam is then ready to use.



I gave some of these jars to a couple of friends and saved the rest for us to use. My husband was in Visalia again this weekend, and he came back with twice as many strawberries compared to last time. I am still deciding what to do with all those gorgeous berries.


One last look at Home-made Strawberry Jam...



16 comments:

  1. Wow Namratha, I didn't knw abt Pectin. Your method is so different and detailed with step by step. Strawberry and jam looks so fresh.Your friends are so lucky.:) Wish I get some fresh strawberry or jam here.;)
    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. have never made any jam or any such kind of preserve. The strawberry jam looks just gorgeous and it is my favourite kind!

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  3. Here we get special sugar with pectin for making jams .
    Jam looks so so yum.
    Every year my MIL makes them and give a pot.

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  4. Here we get special sugar with pectin for making jams .
    Jam looks so so yum.
    Every year my MIL makes them and give a pot.

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  5. Thanks for sharing the info about pectin..didnt know this and strawberry jam looks delicious

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  6. all the lovely strawberries in the US -based food blogs are making me so J!

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  7. your jam makes me drooooooool.. great photo clicks.. you have explained the process very neatly.. would love to try them , wish i had some strawberries in Abidjan :-(

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  8. Have never made strawberry jam before and was knowing about pectin also..thanks for sharing..Jam looks perfect dear...nice clicks too.

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  9. looks so yum,...lovely tutorial..;-)

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  10. Lucky you! The strawberries look amazing and the jam is so jewel-like. Stunning! :)

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  11. Awesome creation, love these jams like anything. Sweeeeet!!!

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  12. Love strawberry jam.. Lat spring we had been strawberry picking and bingo, ended up making Strawberry jam and trifle. Though I did not quite use pectin for a lighter and thinner jam. But the trifle was worth dying for. I might just fix one right away...

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  13. Looks just fab...wonderful pics and mouth watering jam...wow

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  14. Hey Namratha,
    I tried plum jam with home grown plums. They taste great, but don't last long either inside or outside the fridge.
    Do you have any suggestions for longer shelf life?

    Thanks,
    R.

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  15. This looks so simple and easy compared to so many I have looked at, and I'm new to canning so I'm excited to try it. Early in the season we get so many berries sent in from Cali that I'm hoping the early ones we get come out as good as yours have. And hopefully our local ones will come out as well, as well!

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