I had literally just finished washing the dishes I sullied from the Nazook extravaganza (a previous post) when my dad walked through the door: with probably 5 pounds of strawberries!
My dad is the ultimate Costco guy: he LOVES the place. We get everything at Costco, my optometrist even works there! But there is one thing my dad does not buy at Costco and that is strawberries from the guy who sells them down the street from Costco. The Strawberry Man gives him a great deal for a lot of strawberries, hence my astonished expression when the strawberries were set in front of me. What ever would I do with all of these strawberries before they go bad?
My mom had the solution: homemade strawberry jam! Jam is a great way to make a fruit product that lasts, and it can also make a nice gift when made beautiful with a decorated Mason jar!
Homemade Strawberry Jam
7 cups strawberries, chopped
2 cups sugar (you could add more sugar; our strawberries were just very sweet and we like our jam tart)
1 packet pectin
1. Cut strawberries into at least quarters, then throw them into a pot
2. Turn stovetop on, let strawberries warm
3. When fully warmed, macerate strawberries with a potato masher. Stir in sugar.
4. Add packet of pectin, stirring it fully into the mix
5. Let fruit mixture continue to warm and boil for about a minute more.
6. Take pan off of heat and ladel in clean, sanitized Mason jars (sanitize Mason jars by putting lids and jars into a pan of boiling hot water). Fill jam until there is about a half or quarter of an inch to spare from the lid.
7. Twist on lids (be careful with this step as you have to touch the jar and the lid: the jar will be filled with hot jam and the lid should be pretty hot from the sanitization process)
The beauty of sanitizing the Mason jars this way is that if you have a nice, dry jar when the lid is applied, the heat trapped inside creates a vacuum-like seal that preserves the jam. In fact, about 15 minutes after my mom and I sealed our jars, we could hear “pop!” noises from the kitchen as our Mason top’s tabs pressed down, sealing the jar.
Variation: because of the large amounts of strawberries at my disposal, I also opted for a strawberry/blueberry jam. I simple went 50/50 on the amount of each fruit and followed the same directions. The flavor is slightly more tart, and the color of the jam is beautiful.
So go on and get jamming! Your PB&J sandwiches will reach a whole different level of gourmet.