Daughters-in-law Jessie and Courtney came over with their kids to make strawberry jam from fresh picked berries from A&M farms. Except for little Emerson, who napped during the jam making session, all 4 grandkids helped. After they left, my neighbor Sandy brought her granddaughter, Jalyse, over to make a batch. What a fun day! Using local berries in season gives the jam a bright red hue and delicious berry flavor. And I love using my old fashioned jelly pan and my heirloom canning spoon (long handled, pot metal from my mother-in-law’s mom) to stir the jam.
Classic strawberry jam
8 canning jars with lids, 8 oz each
5 cups finely mashed strawberries (we used the food processor after stemming the berries and washing them. Mashing by hand works, too.)
1 box, 1.75 oz, regular Sure-Jell fruit powdered fruit pectin (not low sugar fruit pectin)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
7 cups sugar
Put canning jars in dishwasher and keep hot, or sterilize clean jars in hot boiling water for 15 minutes, again keeping jars hot. Keep lids and seals in simmering water.
Using a very large pan (I have a gargantuan jelly pan), pour in berries, pectin and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add sugar all at once. Stirring constantly, bring back to a boil over high heat, one that cannot be stirred down. Be careful here, as mixture will burn if not stirred continuously. If you’re nervous about this, turn heat to medium high. After it comes to the rolling boil described above, cook for 1 minute. Pour into hot jars carefully, skim any foam off top, wipe rims of jars with wet, clean cloth and place lids and seals on Turn upside down for 5 minutes (this kills any bacteria lingering on the inside lid). Turn right side up and let cool at room temperature. You’ll hear a “ping” when the seal is complete. The jam usually jells within a couple of hours, but sometimes it takes longer. If there are any jars that do not seal completely (press down in the center of the lid and it should not pop back up) store those in the frig. Store in cupboard up to a year.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen: Sometimes instead of turning the jars upside down, I’ll process them in a water bath for 5 minutes after filling and sealing.
Even the neighbors got involved!
Sugar free strawberry jam
Try this with other berries and gelatin, as well.
2 cups strawberries
1 cup cold water
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin, sugar free
Crush berries in saucepan. Add water and gelatin and mix well. Over medium heat, bring mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer a few minutes. Pour into jars, let set until cool, and then cover. Store in frig for a week or frozen up to a month or so.
Homemade gourmet strawberry syrup
Try this over ice cream, pancakes, or even as a flavoring for sodas and shakes. Pour some into some carbonated water or lemon soda and crushed ice for an impromptu spritzer Again any type of good, ripe berry can be used. Minimum cooking time is the key to freshness. You’ll get about 3 cups.
4 generous cups ripe strawberries, caps removed
1 cup water
Red food coloring (opt)
Line colander or strainer with double layer of damp cheesecloth. Set over bowl. Combine berries and water and bring slowly to boiling point. Reduce heat and cook very slowly for 10 minutes. Pour into lined colander/strainer and let stand, without squeezing, until juice has dripped into bowl. Then gently squeeze pulp to get remaining juice. Measure juice into saucepan. For every cup of juice, add 1 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and syrup comes to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, skim off foam and put a few drops of coloring in if you want. Pour into clean jars and cool. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 months or freeze up to a year. Recipe can be doubled or tripled.
RITA’S “CLONED” FRISCH’S/BIG BOY’S STRAWBERRY PIE
This is as close as I could get to this popular pie. Best made with the sweetest, in season berries!
The glaze works with raspberries, as well. Just substitute raspberry jello.
Baked pastry shell
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar (depending upon the sweetness of the berries)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup strawberry jello
1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
1 generous quart fresh strawberries, sliced, cut in half or left whole if real small
Garnish: Whipped cream
Bring, sugar, cornstarch, water and jello to a boil and stir until jello and sugar are dissolved. Stir in lemon juice and cool to room temperature. Now pour this over strawberries – I like to use at least a quart of berries or more. Stir to coat berries. This is a soft set glaze, more like very thick syrup that coats the berries. It doesn’t set up stiffly. Pour into pie shell and garnish with whipped cream.