Friday, March 10, 2017

Strawberry Jam

Current location: Elliott's Landing and Campground Pinewood SC
Next Stop: Ridgeville SC 3/13/17

Okay I have a pressure canner and been successful with canning salmon, beef, and chicken.  I now think I have this canning thing under control so why not make some strawberry jam…I done my research and talked with my tech support (my daughter Christina) and figured this will be easy.

The first part getting the strawberries was fun and easy with a trip to a local berry farm.  I visited Hickory Bluff Berry Farm where my daughter-in-law Karen works with her parents Kathy and Walter who own and operate Hickory Bluff Berry Farm.  I always enjoy visiting the farm the last time I visited I assisted with sorting and packing some of the best broccoli I have ever had…yes it was fresh out the field.  If you have not had fresh cut broccoli you are missing a treat.  Back to the strawberries I was there early in the morning for their first picking of the season.  Like the broccoli there is nothing better than strawberries fresh from the patch.  Being the great people they are they let me help with the sorting and packing of the strawberries but in turn they had to listened to some of my stories from the road.  A great day at the farm. 

They offer U-pick your own strawberries or if you are in a rush they have some freshly picked and packaged available.  Strawberries are the first in with blackberries and blueberries to follow as we get into spring and summer.  They also have local honey and jams along with other farm produce as the seasons come in.

The next step process the berries and make the jam.  I followed the well established process of cleaning, mashing, and cooking the strawberries then sealed them with a boiling water bath.  The resulting jam was very good with lots of flavor but it was more of a syrup than a jam.  Back to my tech support and more reading.  It appears I did not understand what a rolling boil looked like and did not get the jam up to the required 220 degrees.  I needed a larger sauce pan to allow a more violent boiling without over flow.  The second batch turned out great with it setting to a preserve as required.  The first batch is not a lost its just a matter of recooking the batch and resealing it in a boiling water bath.  I opted to recook the first batch in small batches as I needed the jam and place the reprocessed jam in the refrigerator in lieu of resealing it.  I started with 5 pounds of strawberries and made 4 pints and 8 half pints of jam with berries left to allow some snacking of the sweet berry.

The Heart of Operations at Hickory Bluff Berry Farm

Some fun for the little one's when they are not picking berries

No I was not out there picking my own someone had to take the pictures

Time to sort and pack the berries

Andy put that camera down and get back to work

Kathy admiring the variety of the berries

Mother Nature is amazing

The crew hard at work

Now it is time to start the jam...clean the berries

Prepare for the mashing

Now they are ready for the stove Lemon juice and pectin added
4 cups of berries 1/4 cup lemon juice and pectin per the package

Bring to a boil and add sugar all at once.  
Looks like a lot of sugar, that is because it is a lot.
 7 cups of the sweet stuff

Processed and sealed cooling down.

It may seem like a lot of work and it was time consuming
but just hanging out at the farm with Walter, Kathy, and Karen 
was a joy in itself...but the end product was the icing on the cake.

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