A good day for jam

This morning I woke up to a chilled, soggy and cloudy world. It is spring after all, so I know I shouldn't be disappointed when this happens. (What is good for the peas is good for me). However, I do wish that it would rain during the work week and save all the glorious sunny days for the weekend.

It worked out okay though because today was a day for strawberries.

Since I did a lot of gardening on Friday evening, I knew I wouldn't have too much to do today. I had no idea this worked right alongside what the weather had planned. With most of the important weeding and replanting done and out of the way, I had made plans (in my mind) to head out to Hutchinson to fetch those cute spring berries.

True, Hutch is a little out of the way from Hesston, but I wanted to go to Jako, since I know some of the people on that family farm.

It was worth the trip.

Leah and I came back with 2 quarts of beautiful berries. 1 quart for eating and freezing. 1 quart for making freezer jam.

Of all the possible canning one can do, making jam is probably my least favorite. I am not always big jam person. It is sticky to make and you come face-to-face with the reality of how much sugar goes in it. But of all the jams in the world, freezer strawberry jam is by far my favorite. Plus, it will be nice in the fall and winter when we spread that pink jell all over our homemade bread. yum...

Jam is pretty easy to make. For those of you who don't know jam is what you get when you preserve the whole fruit. Jelly is when you just use the juice, (which can get more messy depending on what type of strainer you have). Freezer jam is even easier than canning jam.

Here's what you do.

2 cups strawberries, mashed
4 cups sugar
1 box powdered pectin
3/4 c water

Wash and crush berries. Measure exact amount into bowl and add sugar. Mis well and let stand for 10+ minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir pectin into water in a small saucepan. (Pectin may be lumpy at first). Bring to a boil on high heat and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir constantly for 3 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes. (A few sugar crystals may remain).

Ladle quickly into rigid glass or plastic freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set. Put in freezer.

Source: Saving the Seasons: How to can, freeze, or dry almost anything

*I actually ended up doubling it since I accidentally smashed twice as many strawberries as I needed. Oh well, I am going to be moving out in a few months and having a lot will be easier to split between the three of us. In total, I made 8 half pints, 2 pints, and some leftover that will go straight in the fridge.