Cook Local – Strawberry Jam
It’s easy now as the summer is winding down to drive on by the strawberry stands. The strawberries are smaller and certainly not as pretty. In the beginning of the summer the strawberries are plump and luscious. They taste so bright & pretty because they are one of the first harvests in the spring. But when it comes to canning the end of the season strawberries are amazing! Maybe it’s because they don’t get as much water or the hot, hot sun makes them ripen sooner so they are smaller? Regardless though their flavor is concentrated so if you’ve ever thought of canning, now is the time!
I do things the old fashioned way, mashing the berries by hand. I love the texture it gives the jam rather than using a food processor.
Strawberry Jam is my most requested jam. Whenever I go to visit, I pack jars of jam in my suitcase to give to friends and family. I usually come home with empty jars too because everyone knows if you give me back the empty jar, I’ll send it back your way full again! It’s a great gift too – whether it’s for a hostess gift or a holiday basket – why not make some jam this week?
This recipe uses both strawberries and the delicious figs our central valley is famous for! The spices are a perfect addition to this easy, delicious jam. Stop by your local strawberry field and grab those end-of-the-season berries!
- 2 cups figs, stems removed & chopped
- 4 cups strawberries, hulled & chopped in half
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons Chinese five spice
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 package low/no sugar Sure-Jell powder (the one in the pink package)
- One dozen 4 oz. canning jars with lids & rings
- In a heavy stock pot, place the figs, strawberries, red wine, curry & Chinese five spice. Using a potato masher, mash them by hand until they are crushed.
- Measure 1/4 cup of sugar and mix it with the contents of the Sure-Jell. Sprinkle it into the berry mixture and set it on the stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- When it comes to a hard boil (a hard boil is one you can’t stir down with spoon) add the remaining sugar.
- Continue stirring constantly and return it to a boil and when it comes back to a hard boil, continue boiling it for one full minute. (Set a timer to make sure you get it for a full minute).
- Remove from the store & immediately ladle into sterilized jars. Place lids on jars, screw on tightly. Process in a hot bath for 10 minutes to seal the jars.
- Makes 1 dozen 4 oz. jars.
*Helpful canning hints for first time jammers –
- Canning rings are reusable as long as they are not rusted or dented – if they are throw them out!
- Do not reuse metal lids.
- Have good, heavy potholders available.
- This is a gorgeous jam and the first thing you’ll want to do is stick your finger in it to taste – DON’T do that as in reality this is boiling sugar!
- Don’t skimp or change the amount of sugar or fruit in a recipe, if you do the jam may not set or it could be too firm. Canning is one part cooking/one part science.
- Lastly….if you make jam or jelly and it doesn’t set. Label it syrup – your family will never know the difference! 😉