I know, I know, most of my blog posts recently have been canning related. But there's just so much to learn and know about the art of preserving. I recently joined a preserving online community, Punk Domestics, and submitted one of my apple posts (see here).
I have also been brainstorming canning related Christmas ideas, as my family members and friends know by now that some of their gifts will be canned. I'm thinking some cranberry sauce, chutneys and possibly canned bruschetta (would be great for Holiday party appetizers). I have already given away most of our apple butter and apple pie filling jars because sharing something you made with others is the best part of the process.
Once upon a time we had a crazy idea to make strawberry jam favours for our wedding. The idea sounded neat at the time, but we slowly learned that making 100 jars of jam takes a lot of work. We were lucky to get a good deal on strawberries back in July while they were still in season, but then came the task of finding freezer space and storage space for all of the berries and jars. Our wedding venue fell through a few months ago, so we decided to put off the wedding for awhile while we figure out what to do.
We don't know what we're going to do with all of the jam we made, as I'm not sure how long self-preserved jam lasts, but I'm sure the jam will find a good home eventually.
The jam is actually one of the easier canning recipes I have come across. You don't have to cook the mixture for hours or add a lot of fancy ingredients. The only laborious part comes in de-stemming the berries, which did take quite awhile considering we bought 8 flats (36 quarts) of strawberries...
Strawberry Jam (from BHG's Canning Magazine)(Makes 6-8 jars)12 cups strawberries (3 quarts)
1 1.75 ounce package of pectin
1/2 tsp butter
7 cups of sugar
Directions:1. Place berries in a pot and mash them with a potato masher as you bring them to a boil.
2. Stir in the pectin and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
3. Add sugar all at once. (Yes, there is a lot of sugar in jam recipes, so don't be alarmed. This is what seven cups of sugar looks like)
4. Bring mixture up to a rolling boil again and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon.
5. Ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
6. Process jars in a canner for five minutes.
Considering the high sugar content, the jam only has about 38 calories per tablespoon according to the magazine. There are also many fruit combinations you can use to make the perfect jar of jam. I have also tried rhubarb, as well as black cherry, and had great results. To me, a good jar of homemade jam is a canning classic that will never go out of style.