The summer of 2014 was the last time we did any canning, so I was pretty excited this weekend when we finally got to make a few batches of jam. Nothing beats fresh, homemade jam, and strawberry rhubarb is my favorite (if you didn’t already know, I have an obsession with rhubarb).
Gathering the Produce
The rhubarb, thankfully, was easy to come by. When we received plant roots earlier this spring, our neighbors were generous enough to give us the stalks as well. All I had to do was pull the bags of precut yumminess out of the freezer.
The strawberries were another story. Nothing beats fresh picked strawberries, but unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances (see Quite the Year for Our Family), we missed strawberry season. There were no strawberries left to be had anywhere, and believe me, we looked. In one day, we hit up three separate farmers markets and took a long drive, looking for BC Fruit trucks selling their wares from the side of the road. Nothing.
So, off to Costco we went to purchase strawberries. My original plan was to make freezer jam, as you can make it with a lot less sugar, but since the strawberries were now store bought instead of fresh, I went with the cooked version.
Prepping the Supplies
First, we gathered all the supplies we needed, including:
Snap lids (I prefer to buy new with each batch we do to make sure we have no issues with sealing)
Measuring cups and spoons
Large cook pots
Water bath canner
Before we even started working on the jam, the first thing we did was wash and sterilize all the jars, lids, and rings. Our dishwasher made quick work of this, washing everything on high heat and sterilizing on the final cycle.
Working as a Team
After the jars were sterilized, the whole process took about 2 ½ hours for four batches. We did four single batches, two at a time in separate pots.
We thawed the chopped rhubarb, and hulled, cleaned, and diced the strawberries. Gaby took care of the chopping (he’s much more patient with this than I am) while I got the water heating in the water bath canner and gathered the rest of the ingredients. (Recipes to follow at the end of this post.)
Gaby took care of the stirring, while I got the cooked batches of jam into jars and processed them through the water bath canner.
We are firm believers of making food safe for our family, so we used tested recipes. (The last thing we want is for someone to get sick from something we canned.) Our parents’ generation never processed jam after canning it, but the recipes said to do it, so we did. It didn’t affect the consistency of the final product and the jam tasted just as good the next morning.
In the end, we had enough fruit to make three recipes of strawberry rhubarb jam and one recipe of strawberry jam.
Wash and hull strawberries, dice. Wash and dice rhubarb. Combine rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice and pectin in a large part. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar and bring back to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute (keep stirring – this is where it’ll foam and boil over.) Remove from stove and let sit for a minute or two. Skim any foam left on top. Fill hot jars with hot jam, leaving ¼” space for expansion. Place snap lids on jars and screw on rings (do not tighten too firmly).
Wash and hull strawberries, dice. Combine strawberries and pectin in a large part. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar and bring back to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute (keep stirring – this is where it’ll foam and boil over.) Remove from stove and let sit for a minute or two. Skim any foam left on top. Fill hot jars with hot jam, leaving ¼” space for expansion. Place snap lids on jars and screw on rings (do not tighten too firmly).
Process according to water bath canning instructions. (See above recipe for link.) Process for 10 minutes if you’re below 6000 ft, 15 minutes if above.
Canning is a fairly easy process, and if done right, can provide your family with delicious and nutritious homemade food for months. I love being able to feed our kids these foods, as well as give them the opportunity to learn a life skill that allows them to be self sufficient and cost aware. As our homestead grows and our garden starts to produce, we will continue to share more canning and preserving recipes, as well as our thoughts on food preservation.
(*We are fairly new to home food preservation, and thus, still acquiring knowledge. If you have any questions, please let us know. We are more than happy to share the resources we’ve used in our learning process.)
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