Being a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn’t just wing it and have the jam turn out a little different every year. I wanted it to be exactly right … not too sweet, not too hard, not too runny. . . so I've worked on it over the years and got it to where our family likes it, runny enough to use a spoon to spread a scone or fill that little hole on a Zwieback for Sunday Faspa.
- blender or immersion blender
- good quality, large stainless steel pot
- wooden spoon
- canning funnel
- clean jars and lids
- 1 15lb flat of strawberries
- 4 kg sugar (10 lbs)
- 3 pkgs. Certo light brand pectin OR 4 pkgs (other) regular pectin crystals
- 4 tsp margarine
Ahead of time: Wash jars and rings. While jam is cooking, sterilize jars by heating in a 225 F oven for 10 minutes and keep warm until needed. Heat rubber lids in a small pot of boiling water and keep hot.
Berry Prep: Wash berries before stemming. Crush about 3 cups of berries at a time. With a good blender, pulse for 5 seconds, stopping to shake fruit to the bottom so as not to over-blend OR fill an ice cream pail - a third full - and use an immersion blender to crush. If berries are very ripe you can use a potato masher. Pureed berries should still be of a thick and slightly chunky consistency. Collect crushed berries in a lard bowl or ice cream pails until done. I usually do this in the evening and refrigerate the berries to cook the next day. (15 lbs of berries will make 4 batches - or about 30 cups jam)
Measure and set aside seperately:
- 6 cups mashed berries
- 4 1/4 c sugar
- 3 Tbsp Certo light OR 1 pkg regular pectin crystals mixed with ¼ cup sugar
- Place fruit and pectin crystals mixed with 1/4 c sugar into a large pot. (Pot should only be about 1/3 full.)
- Place over high heat on an element that keeps the most consistent heat, and stir constantly with wooden spoon, until it comes to a bubbling boil.
- Stir in remaining sugar. Continuing to stir, add 1 tsp margarine to keep the foam down and cook until mixture comes to a full, rolling boil again. (you can hear it) Set timer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat down slightly if it splatters too much, but keep the boil.
- Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes until clear and shiny. Crush any large floating berry pieces with a fork against the side of the pot if needed. Ladle hot jam into jars until 1/2 inch from rim. Cover with lids and screw rings to seal.
* The jam will be runny until it's completely cooled.
* Important note: Freezing the jam (once it's cooled) keeps it fresher tasting and it’s not necessary to seal the jars. Even keeping sealed jars refrigerated keeps the flavor fresher tasting than just having it sit in the pantry.* You can freeze blended berries in 6 cup proportions, ready to cook in the winter, but you will need a bit more certo. (I freeze in 9 cup proportions, add 6 cups sugar and 1 pkg pectin with thawed mixture. This makes about 12 small jars)