Okay, so, I am sure that Erin’s recipe for strawberry jam is, you know, fine. Or whatever. But this is my family’s extra special recipe for strawberry jam. This is the one that my aunt always uses. This is the one that we get jars of every year at Christmas. This is the one that my dad loved more than all other versions. Also, I don’t have canning supplies myself, so if I was going to make jam, I had to do it at her house. So I didn’t use Erin’s recipe. But I did make jam!
I have been present for a lot of jam-making in my life. When I was younger, my grandma and grandpa were able to have a much bigger garden, one that included strawberries. My mom and my aunt would take me, my brother, and my cousin, and we would all spend a day at grandma’s house picking (read: EATING) strawberries, freezing them, and making jam. Those are the days that I remember when people talk about how long summer afternoons used to stretch when you were a kid. Nothing says childhood like bowls of freshly picked strawberries at grandma’s house.
However, my cousin and I were too busy tormenting my brother to be bothered to learn how to make jam. So I have to learn now.
My aunt and I had a lovely morning making jam. Here is her recipe.
Nancy’s Strawberry Jam
1 T. white vinegar to 4 cups mashed berries
Wash and cap berries, then mash with a potato masher. Measure and pour into large stock pot. Add an equal amount of sugar. (Start with 4 cups of berries and 4 cups of sugar unless your pot is really large. The jam can boil up really high when it first starts boiling. I usually do 8 cups of berries and sometimes 12 cups in a really tall stock pot.) Stir berries and sugar together and let sit for a few minutes to bring out the juice.
Bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent sticking, and boil on medium heat for 15 minutes, skimming foam off the top and stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Then return to heat and boil for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Fill sterilized jelly jars with the jam, wipe the rims with damp paper towel, and screw on sterilized canning lids. Give jars a 10 minute hot water bath to seal, or refrigerate when cooled.
Kari’s notes and observations: I know equal parts strawberries and sugar sounds like a lot, but remember, it’s equal parts MASHED strawberries and sugar. Also, my aunt always makes this jam a little runny/soft. If you like it thicker, you just cook it longer. And, finally, don’t forget to eat lots of strawberries yourself while you are cutting them up. That’s just good advice.