DIY: Make Strawberry Jam with Kids
Sticky. Sweet. Wholesome. Organic strawberries are everywhere in the farmer’s market right now, and we’re buying them by the flat. My girls and I eat our fill and turn the rest into strawberry jam–delicious and economical organic bliss!
I love activities that help connect my family with the origins of our food. Jam doesn’t just ooze sticky-sweet from the grocery store jar; it squeezes through our fingers as fresh strawberries; it swishes in a pot as we stir in sugar; it bubbles on the stove and fills our home with a heavenly aroma that begs for vanilla ice cream on a hot day. Every last sticky ounce of jam ladled into our glass jars receives a healthy dose of big-eyed awe, a reverence that’s relived with every slice of bread on which it’s thickly spread.
Here’s how we do it:
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- Wash and hull 4 cups of strawberries.
- Put strawberries in a pot and put your kids to work; tell them to squish the strawberries to a pulp. When they’ve tired of the task, make sure no large lumps remain.
- Stir in 2 cups of sugar. (You can use less but it can be a bit runny. The taste is still sensational.)
- Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- For a more jelled jam, add 1 tablespoon fruit pectin. (I’ve made it without and it works just fine. But, if you use less than 2 cups sugar, you might want the pectin to help it jell better.)
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Skim off the foam.
- Pour over vanilla ice cream!
- Put the rest in sterilized jars and eat for breakfast over toast.
We haven’t yet properly canned our jam for long-term preservation. We just eat it before it’s gone bad–it’s never remained uneaten longer than 2 weeks. If you want to can your jam to save it longer than a few weeks, learn more about safely canning jam online.