Finally!! It is in the saucepan!! I am finally making strawberry jam after god knows how many weeks of procrastination, being ill, not having any strawberries, having them but just eating them instead and yes, like I said just plain procrastination..
Anyways, as usual with my cooking I am doing this slightly off the top of my head. I read that the ratio for jams is 1 to 1 for sugar and berries – so lets hope that is right!
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of mashed strawberries (I hulled the strawberries, cutting out the leaves and then just mashed them in the saucepan)
2 tablespoons of lime juice (This should be lemon juice according to the recipe, but there are no lemons here! Only lots and lots of variations of lime…as far as I can tell.. )
So, as commented above, I rinse the strawberries and then hulled them. I mash them up coarsely (or more finely depending on how chunky you like your jam.) using a potato masher. A good tip that I read about (and obviously forgot while doing it) is to spoon the mashed strawberries into a measuring cup to see how much you have.
Pour them into a large saucepan. The recipe warned me that the mixture will bubble up big time as it cooks and that I should leave TONS of extra room. Well I did, and nothing happened! I dont really know why they didnt boil up then, but my strawberries behaved very nicely! So then you pour in the sugar.
Then you set a very large pot of water to boil, and place your jars and lids inside to sterilize them.
Back to the strawberries while the jars are sterilizing.. Cook them on medium heat, occasionally skimming any foam, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit. This can apparently take from 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on how wet the strawberries were my recipe told me. And listen to the rest of this wise piece of advice: “It can take a very long time to get from 215 to 220 degrees, but reaching 220 is key to having the right consistency. That is the magic temperature when the water has boiled away.” So patience is a virtue once again.
When the jam mixture is at the right temperature it will be ready to spoon into the sterilized jars. Leave a quarter of an inch of space from the top of the jars and be sure to wipe the tops of the lids to remove any spilled jam that could prevent a good seal. Actually, you want to remove any extra jam from EVERYWHERE as it is damn sticky! Put the lids on the jars and tighten the rings around the lids.
If you are using metal lids (and not plastic ones as I am) return them to the water bath and boil the jam jars for 5 more minutes to seal and process. Remove and place on the counter overnight upside down to set. Hopefully I have done this more or less the right way and my jam will keep at least for a few weeks in the fridge. Since I havent properly sealed them due to the plastic lids I guess I should get my hopes up that they will keep in a pantry for months and months like my mother’s.. But I don’t have that many jars (4 small ones in total) and I think I am going to give away two. So that should be quite sufficient for the two of us for a few weeks..