Not too long ago I posted about how my friend Sarah and I attended a wine event out in the wilds of Winters and on the way home stocked up on lots of fresh juicy jam berries. The following day we spent damn well close to nine hours in her cute retro kitchen hulling strawberries, measuring sugar and stirring jam over the stove until our arms almost fell off. It was a long day but the pay off was over sixty jars of sweet, beautiful jam- strawberry, blackberry, strawberry-tangerine and strawberry-balsamic vinegar with black pepper. Don't they all sound delish? What's funny about this whole jam-a-palooza is that I'm not a big jam eater. It probably takes me about three to four months to eat one jar of jam and that's if I'm moving fast. So since then I've been giving most of them out as gifts or trading them with friends for fresh veggies. In fact, I wrote an email last week to a friend that I recently reconnected with (ahhh, the miracle of Facebook...) and the conversation went roughly like this:

Her: So what have you been up to this week?
Me: Oh, a friend just dropped off some fresh plums, homemade pasta and a bit of basil in exchange for a jar of jam. Later tonight I'm going to go pick up some homemade honey from a friend's house that has bees and then I'm going to a make your own BBQ'd pizza party.
Her: Umm, do you like live on a commune?
Me: No, Sacramento.

Maybe it seems über granola to some to be making things like jam or to can but I really enjoy it and I've been loving the looks on people's faces when I've given them a jar of fresh jam or some spicy dilly beans. Pure delight! Also, doing the hot water bath portion of the canning process (to make the jam shelf stable) turned out to be much easier than I thought!

The recipe we used was out of Sarah's copy of Complete Book of Home Preserving by Ball. What a great resource. I've picked up a copy since then and have been really impressed with the content and easy of use. Whether you're a beginning or advanced canner it's definitely worth having in your food library. The recipe we used is posted on Sarah's blog, Undercover Caterer, but I'm going to list it below as well. Happy jamming! :)

Simple & Quick Strawberry Jam (Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)


3-3/4 cups crushed hulled strawberries

4 Tbsp lemon juice (use bottled for consistency)

7 cups granulated sugar

1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid pectin


- Prepare canner, jars & lids.

- In a large, deep, stainless steel pan, combine the berries, sugar and lemon and bring to a rolling boil, while stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn. When the boil cannot be stirred down, add the pectin and boil hard, stirring constantly for one minute. Remove from the heat and skim off the foam.

- Ladle the hot jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars and place the hot seals on top. Screw the band on fingertip-tight.

- Place jars in canner, ensuring that they are covered with water. Bring to a boil and process 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. After 5 minutes remove jars and let cool.
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