Hello there! Have you ever tried making homemade jelly before? Or canning in your home? There’s been a HUGE influx of ripe strawberries in our farmer’s market, and we wanted to preserve their sweet taste for the months to come. Last year, we froze several gallons which lasted us through the late spring. There is nothing better than opening up the freezer and finding a bag of strawberries just waiting to be made into a pie or smoothie!
We still decided to freeze a good amount, but I wanted to try my hand at canning. A few years ago, Jay-Z and I took a canning class at a farm in Kentucky. We learned how to make pickled beets, plus the basic ins and outs of canning safely. A word to the wise–please be careful and sterile! You do not want to get sick from your prepared foods.
There are two methods of canning: water or pressure. Water canning is used for low acid foods, while pressure canning is best for less acidic foods that need extra cooking to ensure any bad germs are killed. So far, I have only tried water canning at home. It is great because you likely can start with many things you already have in your kitchen!
Canning materials you will need:
- 1 large pot to boil the sealed jars
- Jars + new lids (The metal circular lids cannot be reused–the seal loses its integrity after one round of canning. The screw tops of the jars can be reused).
- Tongs/spatula to retrieve the jars
- Labels (optional)
You will also need to make the actual recipe for whatever it is you’d like to preserve! Today that is Strawberry Jam. I followed the recipe on my pectin container, and it was great! Do you know the difference between jam and jelly? I did not, but jam uses the whole fruit while jelly uses the juice from fruit! Interesting, huh?
For those interested, here is the cost breakdown of the ingredients I used. This recipe made 232 ounces of jam (I used a variety of sizes of jars so I do not have the exact cost per jar).
- 10 quarts (40 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled: $60
- 4 cups honey: $20
- 2 organic lemons: $1
- 2 packages natural pectin: $12
- Jars: $36
- Total: $129
This equals about $0.56 per ounce of homemade, organic, low sugar strawberry jam! ($129/232 ounces). Of course, you must factor in the cost of your precious time! That is why a recipe like this is best made in large batches–and while you can hang at home and do other things 🙂
I tried making the jam three different ways. All of them are low sugar.
- Pectin-Free Strawberry Jam
- Regular Strawberry Jam
- Quick Cook Strawberry Jam
The verdict? Both the regular and quick cook strawberry jam were delicious. The regular strawberry jam was made by following the instructions on the pectin container. I had to boil the strawberries for what seemed like forever though–this seemed like a waste of nutrients.
For the quick-cook version, I put all of the strawberries in the blender and blended until they were all roughly chopped and I had a nice strawberry liquid. By doing this, I was able to just bring the liquid to a brief boil, mix in the pectin, and then pour into the jars and process for 10 minutes. Not only did this save 1-2 hours of watching water boil, the nutrients in the strawberries are hopefully more intact!
The pectin-free jam is still very tasty, but is much more like a syrup than a jam. It’ll still get good use on pancakes later this year!
Happy jam making! I hope you enjoy!