Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberry Time!


I love, love, love fresh picked strawberries.  The family goes to the strawberry patch once or twice (or three times) during strawberry season. That's because we do so many things with our fresh picked berries. Everyone has their own strawberry specialty. Granny's specialty is Strawberry Jam.
I am not an outdoorsy person, but I will go out and pick some berries!
Growing up I don’t think I knew jelly was sold at the grocery store.  That’s because all the jam, jellies and preserves I had ever had were made by Granny.  So imagine my surprise when I opened up Granny & Paw’s refrigerator and saw this:

Granny & Paw use the blasphemous jelly on PB&J sandwiches (and now I do too).
Everyone seems to think making jellies, jams and preserves is a ridiculously hard task, but trust me it’s not that hard.  In fact I’ve been making it myself for years now (I can say years because it’s more than one and that makes it plural)! It only takes a few ingredients.
The recipe comes in the box of Sure-Jell.
I thought this was one time when Granny actually used a recipe…thought.  It turns out Granny has been making the cooked strawberry jam recipe so long she no longer needs the recipe.  I’m almost that good.  I think I only had to look at the recipe 39 times this year. WhooHoo! Way to go Me! 

Granny and I do things a little different when we make our jam.  Although the results are the same, I wanted to help watch Granny do things her way. 
We started by washing the berries.
Granny’s next steps are to slice and mash the berries.

I agreed to mash the berries Granny's way.
I prefer the much more tedious task of putting my berries in the blender and crushing them for less than 15 seconds. Whew!... I know it sounds exhausting, but it’s not that bad.

Granny prepares her jars by putting the jars and lids in a metal baking dish filled with a little water and heating them on the stove.  I never knew what the purpose of heating the jars. Granny said it’s to get the jars warm slowly so they won’t break when the hot jam goes in.
The next step (for both of us) is to put the mashed berries in a large, deep pot.  Mix in the Sure-Jell and butter and bring it to a boil.
As soon as it’s boiling add in all of that sugar and let it boil again.
It only has to boil for 1 minute.
Granny removes the hot bubbly mixture from the heat and begins removing some of the foamy bubbles from the surface.  I hate this part of the process, but Granny makes it look super easy!
See that foam? Granny skims it off using a spoon.

Foam removed from the surface of the jam
Once the foam has been removed start ladling the jam into the prepared jars.  Granny used ten 6oz. jars.

Now here is where Granny detours from the recipe.  Sure-Jell suggests using a canning contraption of sorts and boiling the jam in the jars for a few minutes.  Granny's way around this step is to screw on the lids and put the jars upside down for 5 minutes.  

When the 5 minutes are up flip the jars right side up.  As a kid I would always hang out by the jars to listen for the magic pop. The popping lids indicate the jam is all set and ready to be devoured.
 I'll post some of the other ways we use our fresh picked berries soon! Right now I need to learn how to make biscuits so I can eat some of that jam!


  1. Yummy! Bring some of that too on the 22nd!

    Going Nutty!

  2. and I know you have plenty to spare....bc I see the pictures!

    Going Nutty!

    1. What you see are Granny's jars, but I'll bring you a jar of mine :)
      Can't wait!!!

  3. Yummers! Your pictures are so good, I wanted to lick them!! I could almost smell the strawberry goodness! But I agree - bring on Granny's biscuits!! Another great post!!!


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