I love making things from scratch. Two days ago I made jam (again) and this time I took photos to share! Generally it’s easier to just buy things than make them (duh) but it’s so difficult to find jams and jellies that a) don’t have high-fructose corn syrup and b) aren’t exorbitantly expensive.
When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandma. She lives on the farm beside my dad’s, so my brother and I would go to her house after school, during the day in summer, and any other time we needed babysitting. My grandma is an old-school farm lady, so spending time with her meant doing farm stuff. We’d collect eggs, feed the cats and work in the garden. In the spring she’d let me help her plant seeds, and in the summer I’d pick (and stuff myself with) strawberries, rasperries and peas. I’d help her pull up carrots and potatoes. She made pots and pots of jam from the berries in her garden, the saskatoons at the end of the lane, from the neighbour’s rhubarb, and I’d eat gobs of her jam smeared on fresh-baked bread. Sometimes simple things are the most satisfying.
Homemade jam is obviously close to my heart. My second attempt was better than my first, because I followed my grandma’s advice and added sugar by taste.
simple strawberry jam
1-2 c sugar
1/8 c lemon juice
Put small amounts at a time in a bowl, and crush them. When they are smashed up, it releases their natural pectin, which helps the jam jell. Crush them up more than this though, because my jam turned out a bit runny.
Combine the crushed strawberries, 1/2 c sugar and the lemon juice in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir often and add sugar until desired taste is reached. Boil until the mixture reaches 220F/105C.
Pour into hot, sterile jars. Scoop out any foam on the top. Leave 1/4-1/2 inch head space and cap. If you plan to eat it soon, you don’t need to process it in a hot water bath.