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Making strawberry jam

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Every summer my mom brought home flats of strawberries from a farm market. We’d eat them fresh and she’d freeze some, too. But my favorite way to extend the berry bounty year-round is by making jam. I’m going to share our family recipe with you. It’s simple, and the flavor is second-to-none in my opinion. The jars go into the freezer, so there’s no cooking involved.

The first step is to find fresh, ripe berries. There is a strawberry farm near me, and the kids and I have a great time picking them. And eating a few in the process! When you’re ready to start the jam-making process, prepare the berries by cutting off the tops and rinsing them off.

Your next step is to mash the berries. How you do this will depend on how chunky you want your jam to be. Use a pastry blender to smash the berries and leave bits of fruit intact. I like my jam smooth so I pulverize them in seconds with an electric blender. Keep crushing until you have three-and-a-half cups of mashed berries.

Pour them into a bowl and add six-and-a-half cups of sugar. I like to add the sugar gradually because it’s easier to stir. At this point, let the mixture sit for a couple hours but stir it occasionally to help dissolve the sugar.

The next step is to add pectin to thicken the jam. Mix the pectin and water in a small saucepan and cook it according to the directions. Add it to the fruit, and stir it well for a few minutes to further dissolve the sugar.

Fill your containers to about a half-inch of the top, wipe off the rims, and cover with lids. Let the jars sit at room temperature for 24-hours, and then the jam is ready to use. I keep one jar in the refrigerator, and put the rest in the freezer.  It’ll stay good in the freezer for up to one-year, but we always run out long before then!

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