Strawberry Picking and Jam Making

“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”  — Anonymous

I love including my daughter in my journey of real food.  She helps me bake, cook and even pick foods out of my garden.  (Although she is still learning what is ripe and what isn’t.)  We go on hikes that are toddler led and ones where I carry her.  She really seems to enjoy being a part of all of it, and I love to have her.  I hope these experiences guide her to make her own healthy choices as her independence continues to grow.

June is the time for strawberry picking in our area.  There is a beautiful farm nearby that we just buy a basket and can fill it up as much as we want.  We were lucky; we went on a day that they had just opened a new patch for public picking and there were so many deep red, ripe strawberries.  When you go pick strawberries make sure that you realize that they will not ripen any further once picked so only pick the fully ripe ones.  They are shiny and bright red.  Beautiful and sweet and just plain delicious.  I am fairly impressed.  With all of the strawberries we picked (5 lbs.) munchkin didn’t try to eat a single one!  She waited until I gave her one in the car.

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I made strawberry pancakes with sprouted flour the next day and realized that there was no way we would be able to eat all of these strawberries before they went bad without some significant tummy aches so I decide to make Jam.

I did a little research online and I didn’t want to add processed sugar I decided to go the route of using the Low Sugar Pectin. Ball has this great website where you can put in the items you have and what you want to make and they pop out a recipe.  It’s pretty awesome.

I don’t know how healthy pectin is or how natural.  I decided I preferred a little bit of pectin over a ton of white sugar or days of boiling.  I might do more research next year and post an update because I’m hoping to grow my own strawberries next season!

This is directly from Ball’s website (I followed their no sugar recipe and used all natural apple juice):

Print Recipe
Your Strawberry Jam Recipe
Directly from Ball's Website, using the No Sugar Option
Course Condiments
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 24 hours
Servings
half pints
Ingredients
Course Condiments
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 24 hours
Servings
half pints
Ingredients
Instructions
Make Your Jam
  1. PREPARE waterbath canner, jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions, if preserving.* Prepare and measure ingredients for recipe.
  2. COMBINE prepared fruit with fruit juice in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in Ball® RealFruit™ Pectin. Add butter, if using. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
  3. ADD sugar, sugar substitute or honey, if using. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
  4. Place in jars and preserve if desired. (see below).
  5. QUICK TIP: Adding up to 1/4 tsp butter will reduce foaming.
To Preserve:
  1. LADLE hot jelly/jam into hot jars, one at a time, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars. Apply bands and adjust to fingertip tight.
  2. PLACE filled jars in canner, ensuring jars are covered by 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner. Bring water to gentle, steady boil. (I used a giant stock pot with a dish towel submerged)
  3. PROCESS jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid and let jars stand for 5 minutes.
  4. REMOVE jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Clean and store jars according to manufacturer's instructions.
Share this Recipe
It all worked great!  I did this before I realized I wanted to blog about it so I only have a final picture.
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It’s delicious!  We gave one jar away, we’ve already used one and we are on our second with only one more in the cupboard.  It’s so nice to have something so tasty and fresh tasting and I know where it all came from.  The chunks of strawberries in them are pretty fantastic!
What should you know before canning?  Honestly, I would totally recommend starting out but using Low or No Sugar Pectin and following the recipe on the jar is a pretty sure-fire way to get started.
Wide mouth mason jars are way easier than the regular ones and make sure you have fresh lid pieces!  The other items that were really helpful are in this nice set.  The funnel is a perfect fit, the tongs grab mason jars perfectly, the headspace marker is so easy, and the magnet is nice for sanitation.  None of these are necessities but it definitely simplifies the process.
I might do this again with another fruit for holiday gifts because it was so easy!  We shall see!
Thanks for reading!

Beth

*Please note: Ball did not sponsor this in any way.  I use affiliate links to help pay for this blog.  I use Ball products because they are readily available in all of my frequented grocery and garden related stores and they are reasonable and work well for me.

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