On Monday I realized that next week was the last week of Nicolas’s preschool … AND I hadn’t yet figured out what I was going to do for an end of the year gift for all his teachers. A few months ago when I had thought about it, I thought that strawberry jam might make a nice gift. I love canning and have incorporated some kind of jam, jelly or chutney into my Christmas gifts for the past couple of years. But, I wasn’t sure how I could make jam seem like a teacher’s gift. That is when I found a great blog post with the same strawberry jam idea AND cute labels that can be downloaded 🙂
On the back of the labels, I addressed it to the teacher and wrote “Thanks for making this year ‘JAM’ packed with fun!” and let Nicolas sign them. Very cheesy, I know, but this is preschool we are talking about.
I usually try to find my canning recipes in the Ball Blue Book because I have heard that the canning process can be tricky if the recipe isn’t right. So, the following recipe is taken directly from that book. I don’t have a special canner – I just use our big lobster pot. It takes a long time for all that water to come up to a boil (I am not sure if a canner comes to a boil faster or not?) So, I start the lobster pot boiling before I prepare any of the ingredients for the jam. I wash the jars and put them in the lobster pot and fill it with water. I put the pot over the heat to get it boiling and sterilize the jars. One recommendation I would make for this recipe is to use a LARGE saucepan (at least 8 quarts). The jam foams a lot once the sugar is added. I made the mistake of using my 5 quart and I had a jammy mess all over my stove when I was done.
Strawberry Jam (from Ball Blue Book)
Makes 8 half pints
2 qts strawberries
1 package powdered pectin
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups sugar
Wash strawberries; drain. Remove stems. Crush strawberries one layer at a time. Combine strawberries, pectin and lemon juice in a large saucepot. 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. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.