While most commercial strawberries are grown in California or Florida, home grown strawberries and “U-Pick-Em” fields can be found throughout the United States, although the harvest seasons can be limited. Here in North Carolina, as in many areas, the reddening berry is the welcome harbinger of summertime. Although home canning is happening in some form at my place most of the year, the strawberry harvest and the canning to follow marks the kickoff of the “busy season” when it comes to food preservation.
Whether you grow them at home, hit the farmers market or pack the family up for a day trip of berry picking, strawberries are a favorite of the season. Although peak harvest lasts just a few weeks, strawberries are prime candidates for preservation and strawberry jam is always a crowd pleaser. Go ahead and make too much. Your friends and family will thank you.
This recipe relies on commercial pectin. Although strawberries are full of natural pectin, just how much can be unpredictable. Using measured pectin increases the success rate and takes a lot less time than the longer cook required to stabilize the pectin in the berry.
A last word. Jam is in many ways more science than art. Wandering too far from measurements, temperatures or cook times may prevent the jam from “standing up”, leaving the home canner with a most delicious pancake syrup.
2 quarts strawberries, hulled
1 cup water
1 (1.75 oz) package low/no-sugar pectin
1 1/2 cup sugar
Crush strawberries (be sure to leave some good sized chunks in there!) in a large pot and add water.
Stir in pectin and bring to full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring frequently.
Add sugar and return to that full rolling boil.
Once a temperature of 220 degrees is reached, continue to boil one minute and remove from heat.
Ladle into hot canning jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace, wipe rims and add lids and bands.
Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath to seal.