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DIY: Make Strawberry Jam with Kids

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.

Jam

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.

Smoosh

- 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.

Simmer
- 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.

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7 comments

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10:20AM PDT on Jun 19, 2009

thankyou...
Kabin
Konteyner
mega kabin

12:24AM PDT on Jun 11, 2009

who else here wants some jam???
i know i do! *runs into the kitchen*

1:55PM PDT on Jun 10, 2009

If you prefer not to use commercial pectin, as I do, try this: Add the peel of 1 medium apple (I try to peel it all in one piece) to your strawberry "goo", sugar and lemon juice in the pan and simmer it with them. Remove the apple peel before putting the jam in jars. I have used this for years in making preserves and jellies of strawberries and blackberries, and it works beautifully, since apples contain a lot of natural pectin. If you use commercially available pectin, you MUST use a good deal more sugar, and I prefer to allow the natural fruit sugars to take over, so the real fruit taste is very vibrant. To this day my daughter loves fruit, but does not have much of a sweet tooth - and she is passing it on to my granddaughter!

6:18AM PDT on Jun 10, 2009

I read the headline, and thought: How many kids in a pound of Jam? LOL.

5:59AM PDT on Jun 10, 2009

Oh! God i'm off down to the supermarket for a couple of punets of stawberrys my mouth is watering just at the thought it.

3:05PM PDT on Jun 9, 2009

besides cooked jam, you can also do no-cook freezer jam...

if you buy a package of pectin, the instructions include how to do freezer jam...freezer jam keeps in the freezer for up to 1 year and in the refrigerator for 3 weeks...

the instructions have the recipes for other kinds of berries also, including blackberry, my favorite...

1:49PM PDT on Jun 9, 2009

this is such perfect timing! the strawberries are SO yummy right now, i think my twins ate three pints this weekend alone, and i've been thinking i should learn to can so that we can make our own organic jam. YUM!

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