The strawberries were just beginning to turn red when I left for 13 days on a tour up the East Coast. The timing was terrible… or so I thought. Although I did miss some of the harvest (which friends and neighbours took care of!), I came home to a strawberry bed brimming with bright juicy fruit. Time to make jam.

 

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I made my first jam last year and I don’t mind telling you that I thought it would be a lot more work than it actually was, especially since I was preserving in jars, as opposed to keeping it in the freezer. But after a few more tweaks to the recipe this year, I am so happy with this jam that I have no intention of ever changing it. Making strawberry jam has now officially been crossed off my gardening learn-how-to-do list. And even better – there is no refined sugar in it – only honey.

 

STRAWBERRY JAM WITH HONEY

For approximately every 8oz jar of jam you will use:

  • 1 generous cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 tbsp pectin (I used Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 tbsp lemon juice

You will also need 8oz mason jars and it’s a good idea to buy a jam canning utensil kit so you don’t burn yourself. Ball make a great one for under 10 bucks (which is sold at Target, Walmart, Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond.) If you grow your own strawberries, each jar will cost a total of about $1.17 to make.

 

1. In a large bowl mash up the strawberries with a potato masher. A couple of minutes mashing should do it. You don’t want too loose too much texture. I make 8 jars at a time so I’m working with 8 cups.

 

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2. Add 1 tbsp of pectin per cup of strawberries and mix in.

3. In a large pan or pot, bring the berries and pectin to a boil and boil for about a minute, stirring occasionally.

4. Take the pan off the heat and add the honey and lemon juice, and mix well.

5. Put back on the heat and boil for about 10 minutes, again, stirring occasionally. You’ll see foam starting to form around the edge of your pan. Try to skim off as much of that as you can.

 

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6. After the jam has boiled, take it off the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to aid the cooling process. Now it’s ready to be ladled into your jars.

  • Just an extra note here: I made my first batch without leaving it to cool slightly before canning and the fruit rose to the top. As the finished jars were cooling, I shook them occasionally to help it all to settle, but cooling for a few minutes first seemed to help.

 

PREPARING THE JARS

Submerge your jars and lids in boiling water and leave them to boil for 10 minutes. I use an old stock pot for this which will take 8 jars at a time. Lift them out onto a towel until you are ready to fill them with your jam. They should air dry very quickly but try not to let the jars cool completely before filling. They may crack when you plunge them back into the boiling water.

Once the jam is in, wipe away any mess around the top of the jars with a paper towel and put the lids on. Then, put them back into the pot and boil for another 10 mins. Lift them out again and place them back on the towel to cool completely.

You now have jam that will keep until next strawberry season! And once you’ve tasted your home made version, anything from the store is not going to come close.

 

May 20th 2015