Mmmm, [insert berry here] jam

So, I did it. I made strawberry jam with fresh-from-the-farm, picked-’em-myself strawberries.

My mother makes strawberry jam every year (just about). I don’t think I tasted the store-bought variety until I slept over at a friend’s house when I was seven or eight years old. (And I didn’t like it. It was way too sweet and tasted nothing like real strawberries.)

But, as a child, I recall that there was what looked like a fair amount of work involved in picking enough strawberries and preserving enough bottles of jam to get us through until the next picking season.

So, as an adult living on my own and then with my own family, I resorted to store-bought jam (quite frankly, I just stopped eating jam altogether). But, if I was lucky, from time to time I would be gifted a bottle of Mom’s homemade strawberry jam.

I must admit, I miss having a regular supply of good homemade jam in the pantry or in cold storage. And I know my mom wouldn’t mind if I helped myself to her strawberry jam stock, especially if I help pick the strawberries and make the jam.

But I thought it was high time that I stand on my own two feet, learn the secrets of delicious strawberry-jam-making and supply my family with our own little stock of deliciously red jars.

So I dragged took my husband and my kids to a local U-Pick farm, picked two big baskets of strawberries (plus some snow peas for fun), then I came home, shucked all the strawberries, loaded up a bowl with about 16 cups of the juicy little berries and headed to my mom’s to use her preserving tools.

Initially, I intended to learn my mother’s method. But memories of the amount of time it seemed to take and the reality of how little time I have to play with made me turn to a different source for jam-making instruction: YouTube.

I Googled “strawberry jam” and was led here. It’s a 10-minute video showing the steps to make a small batch of strawberry jam. There’s a link to the website with the full recipe here.

And so, with the help of my mother’s canning/preserving tools, a little bit of her advice, a recipe from and the related video on YouTube, I managed to make a batch of four bottles of strawberry jam on my own.

I taste tested it of course, and it’s sweet and delicious. I’ll have it on my toast tomorrow morning for the ultimate taste test. Nothing will every beat Mom’s strawberry jam, but I think mine is a close second.

(Oh, and the cool thing about this strawberry jam recipe—you make it in a skillet and it’s quick!)

Ready to pick strawberries

strawberries in a bowl

Boiled strawberries

Strawberry jam in jars


8 thoughts on “Mmmm, [insert berry here] jam

    1. Nancy Post author

      Not bad for my first try, if I may say so myself. And the recipe I found called for 1/3 of the amount of sugar compared to my mom’s recipe. She said she’s going to try my recipe when she does her batch of jam this year. It made me feel good to hear her say that. It was like she was validating my hectic, working-mom lifestyle; letting me know that it’s ok to find less time-consuming and old-fashioned ways of doing things. Sometimes new is good.

  1. shoes

    Wow, yummy does that look good. I am a chicken when it comes to canning. My mom gave me all her canning stuff a few years ago but I continue to make freezer jam. Freezer jam is easy but uses a lot of sugar. I may have to be brave and bust out the hot water bath and canning jars.
    Strawberries fresh off the vine – so amazing!

    1. Nancy Post author

      My mom taught me a trick last night that I’ll use when I make my next batch of jam. She doesn’t do the hot water bath. She sterilizes the jars in the oven. Much easier. Before you start to make the jam, preheat your oven to 275 F, insert the jars. When the jam is ready, remove the jars from the oven and fill them. Then put the lids on immediately and the heat from the jam will seal the jar.

      1. shoes

        Holy moly – is it really that easy? What about the lids, do they go in the oven too? So I can do this with the recipe you have linked to here? Sorry to be so full of questions but it would be great to have jam jars instead of doing the freezer jam route. I can usually get $5 flats at the end of the season that need to be made into jam that day. Makes for a busy day but cheap and so yummy. :-0

      2. Nancy Post author

        No worries about all the questions. You put the lids in a small pot of boiling water while you’re making the jam. I pulled them straight out of the pot with tongs and shook them off a bit before putting them on the jars and screwing the cap on (with oven mitts, of course). Now it’s my turn to ask questions. Do you buy the flats at a farmers’ market or at the supermarket? I won’t be doing any more strawberry picking this spring/summer but would like to make more jam and don’t want to spend a ton of money on strawberries. If I could get the berries cheap but ready to be made into jam, that would be great. Like you said, it makes for a busy day, but it’s cheap. And yes, you can get the recipe and video from the links in the post. Let me know how it turns out!

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