Grandma’s “Famous” Homemade Strawberry Jam

I’m not sure when we started calling the jam we ate at my grandma’s house “famous” but the nickname stuck around. If there is any family event where a crumb of bread is available the jam will be on the table. It tastes so much better than any store bought jam you can find. It always tasted the best when she used her fresh, farm-grown strawberries. The recipe is easy and anyone can make it–even if you buy frozen strawberries from the store.

The recipe actually comes in the box of Sure-Jell which is the ingredient that helps to bind the ingredients and turn the jam into a sticky, gelatinous consistency. My tip for making this recipe is to use frozen strawberries. Even when my grandma used her own home grown strawberries she would always freeze and thaw them before hand. Somehow the consistency is better when they go from frozen to thawed.

For anyone who doesn’t know the difference between jelly and jam here’s an easy explanation–jelly is smooth and usually clear and jam has pieces of fruit dispersed throughout, making it a bit more of a chunky texture.

I go back and forth between making batches of jam that I process and can (I use the water bath canning method) or just refrigerate the jars after making the recipe. Processing the jars means that I don’t have to refrigerate the jars which is great if you are planning on giving jars of jam as a gift. It’s time consuming but makes it easier for keeping the jam.

Sure-Jell is typically found next to the canning section (mason jars) or is sometimes next to the pudding. See below for the Sure-Jell Strawberry Jam recipe!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 cups crushed strawberries (I usually buy two large bags of frozen strawberries, let them thaw out, crush them, drain off the juice, then measure 5 cups)
  • 7 cups sugar (I know it sounds like a lot but don’t do any less than this amount or it won’t set)
  • 1/2 tsp butter or margarine (helps reduce the amount of foam from cooking)
  • 1 packet Sure-Jell fruit pectin
  • 8-12 mason jars (depending on the size you use)
  1. Crush strawberries thoroughly. Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.
  2. Stir Sure-Jell powder into fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  3. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly.

4A. TO PROCESS THE JARS:
Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if needed.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

4B. REFRIGERATE: 
If you don’t want to process your jars let them cool down to room temperate and then refrigerate the jars.

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