This giveaway has ended and is closed to new entries.
A couple of weeks ago, I made my first batch of strawberry jam (from the organic strawberries we’d picked at a local farm) and tried my hand at canning for the first time as well. It was a lot of fun, but also a very time-consuming task as I learned the ropes. I decided to write up a how to guide with pictures up the wazoo to hopefully help someone else with their first foray into jam-making and canning. I think pictures would have helped me a lot.
I know some people are firmly against it, but I decided to use pectin in my jam, though not just any pectin. I found Pomona’s Pectin at the farm where we picked our fruit. Pomona’s is a natural pectin made from 100% pure citrus. Its jelling power is activated by calcium, not by sugar content, which allows you to make low-sugar or even no-sugar jam*. For my batch of strawberry jam, I used only 3/4 cup of honey as a sweetener. For the batch of peach jam I made, I used 3/4 cup of agave nectar. I thought it was fabulous to avoid the usual 5 or 6 cups of sugar required to make jam. (My kids don’t need all of that!) Oh, and both taste amazing!
Please note: The step-by-step guide below is for making jam with Pomona’s Pectin. If you have another brand of pectin or are making jam without pectin, this guide to making jam will not work for you. However, the process of canning should still be the same. 🙂
How to make strawberry jam with Pomona’s Pectin:
Get out all of your delicious organic strawberries:
Wash and hull the strawberries:
While you work on making the jam, wash jars/lids in soapy water, then sterilize them in boiling water. The rack I had to put the jars in was too big for the size jars I was using, so I put two cookie racks on the bottom of my pot which kept the jars up off the bottom of the pot:
Mash the strawberries (Cute helpers optional):
Measure out 4 cups of mashed strawberries:
Measure and add 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with Pomona’s Pectin) into the strawberries:
Measure out 1/2 cup to 1 cup honey (or agave nectar) or 3/4 cup to 2 cups sugar. Put in small bowl:
Add and mix 2 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin powder into the honey, agave or sugar:
Pour strawberries into pot. Add the honey/agave/sugar/pectin mixture to the strawberries:
Bring to a boil and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin. Return to a boil and remove from heat.:
Remove hot jar and lid from boiling water. Carefully fill jar to 1/4 inch of top. Use a funnel if you have one. (I didn’t at the time, but I do now.):
Wipe the rim of the jar clean:
Place lid on jar and screw ring on until finger-tip tight:
Using tongs, place the jar into the canning bath. Repeat until all jars have been filled and placed into canning bath. About an inch of water should cover the jars:
Boil 5 minutes (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). (I believe the amount of time varies for each recipe.)
Using your tongs, remove the jars from the water:
Let jars cool completely for several hours. As they cool, the lids will suck down and you will probably hear a popping sound as the vacuum seal forms. Pop!
Once the jars are completely cooled (several hours), unscrew the ring and lightly pull on the lid to check the seal. Any jars not sealed will need to be reprocessed or refrigerated and consumed first.
Admire your finished product. Makes 4-5 cups jam:
No, I’m not giving away a jar of my jam, but I am offering you a chance to make your own! Leave me a comment telling me what kind of jam you like best and you will be entered for a chance to win a box of Pomona’s Pectin. The deadline to enter is Friday, Sept. 19. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and notified via email, so make sure you leave a valid email address or a link to your blog where I can reach you. Good luck!
Pomona’s Pectin is generally available at health food stores, food co-ops or farm stands. If you can’t locate it locally, you can purchase it online. They also have a JAMLINE for questions or assistance with converting recipes. (Doesn’t that rock?) And their boxes are made from recycled cardboard and the paper the recipes are printed on is recycled as well.
* From Pomona’s site: “Some other possible sweeteners are honey, fructose, sucanat, concentrated fruit sweetener, maple syrup, agave nectar, frozen juice concentrate, stevia, xylitol, Splenda and other artificial sweeteners.”