Our garden is overflowing with strawberries and we had to act fast before the birds got to them. I've never made jam before, but with such an abundance of berries, I needed to learn. I started by cutting the tops off and washing all the berries. Pretty, don't you think?
Then I had to wash all of the jars, bands, and lids. Two summers ago I had purchased these jars at a garage sale for $3. They were still packaged brand new in the box. I am not sure if that is a good deal or not but I've been saving these jars long enough, it was fun to get them prepared.
Once the berries were cleaned and jars washed, I started a large pot of water to boil. You have to put the clean jars in the water prior to pouring the jam to ensure no bacteria is alive to ruin your canning (or jarring, whatever). You also have to boil the lids. Don't start heating the jars until your mixture is starting to climb past the 200 degree mark because you will be stirring for a long time and you don't want your jars sitting in boiling water for such a long time.
There aren't many ingredients required for jam. Here they are:
4 cups of mashed berries (I used the food processor)
1/4 cup of lemon juice
4 cups of white sugar
Add all the ingredients to the pot and stir. They look like this:
The key is to stir and stir and when you are tired of stirring, you stir some more! You wait until your mixture reaches 220 degrees. It seems to linger at 200 degrees FOREVER. You can tell that once it starts climbing past the 200 mark, it starts to look much more like jelly. And here is about the time you want to put your jars in the heated water. Make sure it is a slow and light boil, not a running fast boil. Have your tongs handy to pull them out! Sorry, no pictures of any part of this process--you have to operate fast so no time!
But here are my jars of fresh jelly. I was able to fill 5 jars using the above amount of ingredients. I had to make two batches. I thought about doubling the recipe, but when the mixture is boiling, it rises up so violently. I thought it safer to just do the whole thing twice.