I love making homemade jam and jellies with fresh fruit from our garden. All takes is some ripe fruit, sugar and pectin.
My friend posted her Vanilla Bean Raspberry jam on Facebook in something that looked like an angel food cake pan. When I asked her what it was, she told me that her Ball Jam & Jelly maker was her favorite kitchen appliance, next to her Instant Pot pressure cooker. "Put your stuff in, it stirs it for the exact time, exact temp, and then turns off. I haven't screwed up jam since...which was something I did on a regular basis."
Ooooooh.... fool proof jam, huh?
I just HAD to get one and see how simple or complicated it would be.
One of the keys to making a successful jam or jelly is to make it in small batches. Avoid the impulse to double the recipe, as it may not set well, as the pectin can overcook easily with a larger batch. (True story - I have overcooked my jelly to a lollipop/sucker stage...)
Let's see if this passes the test! Welcome to my first attempt at making strawberry jam!
1. Wash the ripe strawberries in cool water and rinse. Allow to strain in a mesh strainer or salad spinner. You can use frozen and thawed strawberries for this recipe.
2. Hull, or core out the green stem off the strawberries.
A large fork, small dinner plate, or a potato masher is perfect for the job. I find it easier to mash the strawberries a handful at a time, on a large baking sheet.
Measure the strawberries according to the recipe and set aside.
5. Pour the crushed and measured strawberries on top.
6. Put 1 teaspoon of butter on top of the strawberries. This will help control the foaming. I promise, this works! I forgot the butter in one batch and the foaming nearly went over the bowl...
7. Add lemon juice, if the recipe calls for it. The acid from the juice will help your pectin set your jam.
The center arm will start rotating, stirring your jam. The pot will begin to heat.
9. After 4 minutes have passed, the Ball Jam & Jelly maker will beep, signaling you to gradually add your granulated sugar.
10. After you have added your sugar, put the lid on and you are done!
Now it's time for the jam/jelly maker to do its job. This is the part that takes the drudgery out of jam & jelly making.... the constant stirring over the stove, and trying to maintain the correct temperature. If it gets too hot, a bubble of jam or jelly can jump out of the pot and burn your hand.
This jam/jelly maker has a special lid with vented holes in the rim to allow excess steam to escape and allow the jam to thicken.
While the jam is cooking is a great time to get my canning or freezer jars ready. Freezing is the easiest and fastest method, while water bath canning will give you up to a 2 year shelf life. You can see an example of water bath canning here.
The jam/jelly maker will beep when cooking is complete. Press CANCEL, unplug the machine, and remove the lid.
Use a hot pad to remove the stirrer. Scrape off any jam with a silicone spatula.
Skim off any foam if necessary. (If you put 1 teaspoon of butter in your recipe, there should be no foaming.)
Ladle the jam into your clean and prepared jars. I like to use 8 oz glass or freezer jars.
If you are water bath canning, you will want to put the HOT jam into HOT jars to prevent any breakage. Putting hot jam into a cold/cool jar can cause it to break.
If freezing, ladle the jam into the clean jar, allowing for a 1/2" headspace between the rim and the top of the jam to allow for expansion of the jam during freezing. Allow jars to cool for 30 minutes, put the lids on, and freeze.
Enjoy your jam, knowing that you made it fresh, from scratch and so easily with the help from the Ball Jam & Jelly maker!
I know I will get a lot of use from this - especially when our grapes are ready this fall for Grape Jelly.
I made 36 half pints of Strawberry Jam in the following flavors: Vanilla, Balsamic, Kiwi, Low Sugar, & Rhubarb. This cool kitchen tool has saved me HOURS of stirring over a hot stove and has made each batch of jam perfect. Win/Win!
You can find the various Strawberry Jam recipes in this book: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
|English Muffin Recipe|
Strawberry Jam - Ball Jam/Jelly maker & stovetop
From the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving - Makes 4-5 half pint jars
1 quart of strawberries (heaping 4 cups) = 3 1/4 cups mashed
3 Tablespoons classic powdered pectin - 1/2 of a (1.75 oz) package
1/2 Tablespoon of butter (to reduce foaming)
2 T. lemon juice, optional - but it does help the pectin set your jam
2-3 cups granulated sugar (you choose the amount, based on preferred sweetness)
1. Prepare the Strawberries:
Wash the strawberries in cool running water and drain with a mesh strainer. Remove stems and hulls. (optional) Slice the strawberries with an egg slicer onto a baking sheet with sides.
Crush/Mash the berries with a potato masher, a cupful at a time. Measure your mashed berries and set aside.
Stove Top Method:
Combine strawberries, powdered pectin, butter, and lemon juice in a large sauce pot.2. Sprinkle your pectin evenly over the bottom of the pot with the stirrer.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Return to a rolling boil.
Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skip to step 9.
3. Pour crushed berries over the top of the pectin.
4. Put butter on top of berries.
5. Press the JAM button, then ENTER. It will automatically set for 21 minutes.
Wait 4 minutes for the jam/jelly maker to beep.6. Add the granulated sugar gradually, while the stirrer is moving.
7. Place the glass lid on top of the pot.
The jam/jelly maker will beep when cooking is complete. Press CANCEL, UNPLUG the machine, and remove the lid.
8. Use a hot pad to remove the stirrer and scrape of any jam.
9. Skim off any foam, if necessary.
10. Ladle your jam into clean jars, following your preferred method below.
Enjoy your strawberry jam 3 different ways:
1. Refrigerator: Let jarred jam cool at room temp for 30 minutes. Place lids and label the jars. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
2. Freezer: Use freezer-safe containers, ladle jam into jars, making sure there is 1/2" head space from the rim to allow for expansion. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, put the lid on, and store in the freezer for up to one year.
3. Canning: Water bath canning is recommended. Ladle HOT jam into HOT 8 oz canning jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Follow the instructions provided for water bath canning and process for the time according to your altitude listed below. When canned and stored properly, the jam will keep on the shelf for 18-24 months.
0 - 3,000 feet 10 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet 20 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet 25 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet 30 minutes