Canning strawberry jam for the first time…its easy (not)
I just had my first experience canning strawberry jam. I used Ree Drummonds recipe from ThePioneerWoman.com. I love her recipes; however, I just made a big mistake (a couple of big mistakes).
I went to Walmart as suggested to buy the big black enamel kettle and canning supplies. I bought the pint containters and I should have bought the 1/2 pint containers…oops, first mistake. Then I went to Detwiler’s Farm Market and bought double the amount of strawberries because they were so beautiful.
After looking at the recipe I realized I bought the larger canning jars, so instead of five cups of crushed strawberries I figured I would use ten because I had the bigger jars (just double the recipe, right?). Second mistake. The reason I know this now is that when you double the quantity and do not double the size of the pot you are cooking in, you can get into trouble. Hence moving to mistake number three. When everything was put into a pot and I added the 14 cups of sugar, because I had doubled the amount of strawberries, (don’t judge me, I’m trying to can here) all looked well up until the VIOLENT boil. This should have been a real red flag for me. I am Polish….violent boil is just another word for disaster!
I took pictures up to this point, the red crushed berries were beautiful, the pots on the stove top, everything was looking like I imagined. Until the VIOLENT boil!
The recipe describes a violent boil happens when stirring no longer stops the boil. Since I doubled the recipe and the kettle was twice as full, the boil happened twice as fast. The spilling over the kettle happened and I wasn’t expecting that either. The other burners were occupied by the huge black enamel pot with canning jars and another with the simmering flat lids.
There is no place to go except push my strawberries to the back burner that is cold and unoccupied. The strawberry mixture was to VIOLENTLY boil for 1-1/2 minutes. This did not happen, maybe only 30 seconds worth.
At this point I am attempting to wipe the hot VIOLENTLY boiling strawberry mixture as it pours out of the kettle onto and down the stove and onto the floor. I tried not to catch my towels on fire, direct the smoke out the back door, pull the battery from the blaring smoke detector as it is now detecting very well and keep two chihuahuas from trying to lick the floor! Not to mention let’s not burn our skin…I have watched enough Food Network television to know how hot boiling sugar can scar and damage perfectly good skin…really…are you kidding??? This was a perfectly lost youtube moment, thank God it was only me and the dogs in the kitchen.
Now that it is over, I had thrown away numerous dish towels hardened with strawberry goop, scraped and mopped the floor to remove the slick red strawberry jam tile and threw all the canning gear into my garage ready for my next garage sale. There are no scars and I didn’t let the dogs melt their tongues on the floor. I can relax.
The front burner seems a little, not right…I have to figure out how to get solidified strawberry sugar removed, but there are nine jars of strawberry preserves perfect for great photos, however, I am not sure they are perfect for eating as they never completed that 1-1/2 minutes of VIOLENT boil. Well, I could just give them away as gifts, that’s it!
Did you know there is a recipe for canning strawberry jam which uses half the sugar, some gelatin and you can by freezing not by VIOLENTLY BOILING…did you know that, no???…neither did I!