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  • Writer's pictureTina

Foodie Friday: Ball Classic Strawberry Jam

We are well into strawberry season in Western Pennsylvania. Although I love fresh strawberries, one can only eat so many. If you have a bumper crop of berries, have a generous friend who gifted you berries, or you were a bit overzealous shopping at the farmer's market, an easy and delicious way to preserve this fleeting taste of summer sunshine is to make home-canned strawberry jam.

Every few years, I can a small batch of fresh strawberry jam for our family to enjoy. I love the process of home canning. Although I watched my grandmother and mom home can growing up, I mainly taught myself as an adult. I used The Ball Home Preseving Book and watched videos on YouTube. The most crucial aspect of home-preserving food is sanitation. One must be diligent about following the rules for safe food practices. If you are unfamiliar with the home canning process, I suggest reading up on the subject as much as possible before you begin. There are various home canning books on the market and step-by-step videos online.

I use The Ball Home Preserving Book as a reliable resource. This is also the book where I found the recipe I now use for strawberry jam. Once you begin the home canning process, it is far less intimidating than it seems when reading about it. The equipment needed for the home canning process is affordable and readily available at most hardware stores or big box stores. What I love about home canned food is that there are no preservatives. The process is very straightforward. The ingredients are plentiful but simple, and one knows exactly how their food was grown and prepared.

I have had The Bean help me with home canning projects since she was little. I feel passing this useful knowledge on to the younger generation is important. It would be a shame to see this knowledge lost. If you don't have a grandmother or mother to help you, buy The Ball Home Preserving Book, watch a few videos, or better yet, get together with friends and learn together or share knowledge. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers understood the importance of community and the phrase; many hands make light work. Why not take the opportunity to create homemade delicious food and enjoy a day with friends?

The recipe below is my go-to for simple, classic strawberry jam. I pulled it right from The Ball Home Preserving Book, an invaluable source for home food preservation. I found my copy at Tractor Supply many years ago. I believe Tractor Supply continues to carry an updated version, but it can also be found at many online retailers.

Ball Classic Strawberry Jam

5 cups crushed strawberries (about 5 lbs.)

1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

6 Tbsp. Ball® RealFruit™ Classic Pectin

7 cups granulated sugar

Prepare a boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use—do not boil. Wash lids in warm, soapy water and set bands aside.

Combine strawberries and lemon juice in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.

Ladle hot jam into a hot jar, leaving a ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center the lid on the jar and apply the band; adjust to fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.

Process jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and let the jars stand for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool for 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal; they should not flex when the center is pressed.

On this overcast day, stay safe and be smart. I hope you discover the joy and satisfaction of home-canned preserves and keep washing your hands. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the spread of bacteria causing foodborne illness.

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