Saturday, July 25, 2015

World's best strawberry jam!

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and this is how we've spent our first few days back from vacation.
A lot of unpacking, cleaning and this.... enjoying the lazy summer days.... and air conditioning.
"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." (Invictus, by William Ernest Henley ) Here he is, enjoying the river that is just by our house. We don't get down there much since it's usually too swift for the kids to enjoy, but with all the heat, it's finally at a level they can paddle in without being swept downstream. When we were there yesterday, we also checked on the blackberries. Just a few months until blackberry season!
You might remember we paid a visit to Klicker's Strawberry farm. My sweet and talented friend Mindy invited me over for a jam making party. (Really, it was a drink-coffee-and-watch-Mindy-make-jam party, but I took pictures so I could try it at home.) I'm sure everybody working in the cafe has made jam, but if any of our visitors wanted to see the step-by-step process, here you go! Believe me, the end result is worth the work!
Mash five cups of strawberries, 5 tsp of lemon juice.
Add one pouch plus one more HALF pouch of pectin, plus a teaspoon of butter to cut the foam, and bring to a boil.
Add in seven cups of sugar (you can add less if you like and there are some great low sugar recipes online) and boil for another minute. Skim off any foam.
Pour into sanitized jars to about 1/4 inch from the top. (Make sure the rings and lids have been boiled for a few minutes, too.)
This picture doesn't do it justice. They are the most gorgeous ruby red and the house smells amazing!
Rest on the wire basket of a canning pot, lower carefully into boiling water. The water should cover 2 inches above the jars. Let them boil about ten minutes.
Remove carefully and set on a cloth to cool. The lids will start sealing and you
ll hear them pop. Sounds funny when you have a big batch! If you're not sure if a jar has sealed, press the middle of the lid. If it springs back, it hasn't sealed and you can either use it immediately, or boil again. I can't remember the final number of these little jars she made that day but it was dozens! She sent us home with quite a few, she'll share with family, and then come Christmas, they'll show up in little baskets with biscuits or a pretty mix and a card.
 I love this idea! I think it would be so cute to give couples an anniversary "breakfast basket", with matching mugs, several types of coffee, biscuits or English muffins, and this jam. Here's to the sweet life!

In celebration of my newest book (Only Through Love, releasing July 30th) the first in the Cane River Romance series,  The Pepper in the Gumbo, is only .99 this week!

Until next time!


  1. Love the doggy pictures. What's his name? And did he get to go on vacation with you or did he have to stay behind and guard the fort?

    I haven't made jam in ages. You've inspired me. But this time round I think I'll make freezer jam. I don't have all the canning stuff any more.

    And kidlet holding sunflower -- those eyes!!!!!!! How can you resist them? You must have a steely mother's resolve or he'd be spoiled rotten...unless he's naturally angelic?

    1. His name is Dodger/ Dogger. I wanted Dogger for a character in The Sweetness At The Bottom of The Pie... but the kids liked Artful Dodger. :) His tag says Dogger. He hears Dodger more often. He responds to nothing. LOL

      And he held down the fort while we were gone. Friends took care of him and he had some interesting adventures. I really didn't think he would like being in a crate for 10 hours driving, etc. He does okay on short trips to the park, and he'll sit nicely on someone's lap if he can see out the window, but we tried to put him in the back in a crate once, and he nearly deafened us with his barking.

      Yes, those eyes! And I say, "good thing they're cute, it's their saving grace". LOL

  2. We made 6 batches with 7-9 jars per batch. Plus I still have fruit in the freezer waiting for a cool and empty day to make more. I had a blast that day and more than happy to do it again!


    1. Thank you, again!! Next time I try it alone, I won't fiddle with the recipe at ALL!

  3. I love making jam! And I missed you this weekend, I was working away and just plain forgot to stop in.... Making jam puts me in mind of pioneer days, old shelves, food put up for winter, herbs, flowers and leatherbritches hanging from the eaves.... I love it!

    And the pooch... and the kid!!!

    Congrats on the upcoming release, always a time of excitement, Mary Virginia!

  4. Priceless kid photo!! I've never made jam (other than freezer jam) so really enjoyed your post!