What a great time of year to gather your troops and head to the local strawberry patch! It's a great end of the school year activity to do as a family, or if you need some peace and quiet, do by yourself. If your anything like my family our trip often includes happy moments of "Awe look how cute he is picking his own berries" and also the "Mom when are we done, it's hot, I'm tired, this is hard work!" Despite both sides, it's a bonding experience as a family that will last a lifetime.
We found our local strawberry patch off of 501 in Myerstown and picked 26lbs of strawberries. After about an hour of picking it was time to head home and try making homemade strawberry jam for the very first time. We froze 12 cups and used the remaining 24 cups of smashed berries for jam. There's so many great recipes and ways to make some yummy jam so it was difficult to choose one!
Here I will share the recipe I used and the hard lesson I learned along the way!
Lemon Juice (1 tablespoon)
For every 1 cup of smashed berries, add 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. After mixing them all together in a pot, put on the stove and stir on low heat until the sugar dissolved. Once the sugar dissolves, put on medium heat and continue stirring. After the jam boils for 15 minutes, with continuous stirring, transport the hot jam to the containers. Leave to cool at room temperature before putting in the fridge or freezer.
Following these directions, our jam turned out delicious and so easy to make! The jam was a little more on the runny side but still thick enough to be jam.
The hard lesson I learned along the way was: be sure not fill your pot too close to the top because once it starts to boil and foam it may overflow and make a huge mess! Another tip is, if you're not sure whether the jam is ready to come off the stove have 2-3 plates in the freezer when you start. After 10-15 minutes of boiling add a little spoon (about a tbsp.) onto the plate and put back in the freezer for a minute, after the minute is up run your finger through the middle of the jam, if it doesn't try to blend back together it's good to go, if it does try to blend, keep boiling and stirring and try the plate test in another 5 minutes.
Happy June and here's to a "jammin" summer!