Keeping a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t be generous too! One of those hallowed, Southern tradition that I find myself clinging too as I get older is the hostess gift. (Thank you to my very polite, Californian Mother for raising me to be able to fit in with Southern etiquette and hospitality!) As I have started to see myself as an adult, I have a hard time visiting friends’ homes without at least bringing my hosts a little something.
And here’s where my love of canning and perserving comes in! When the bounty is good and the deals are better, I always stock up and put up as many jams and jellies, fruit butters, spice blends, and herb infused oils as I can. It’s wonderful to bring my gracious hosts a little jar of something tasty. All it takes is a piece of ribbon to make a jar of jam look painfully cute.
So, this week my local discount grocery store (I love my Grocery Outlet here in SLT!!!) had strawberries on sale for $.99 per lb. I may have gone a little overboard, but who doesn’t love strawberry jam?
My friend, Elissa, loves the ‘Classic Strawberry Preserves’ that I made last year from my canning bible: Canning For A New Generation, so she went in with me on this strawberry overload. I made a few jars of Strawberry Preserves and some Jam for a special occasion. This jam is based off of the ‘Quick High Yield Strawberry Jam’ recipe in Ms. Krissoff’s book, mentioned above, and the instructions on my jar of pectin. I also took the idea from this book to add a pinch of lavender to my jam, it was so good that I had to stash a couple jars for me!
***As is always, if this is your first adventure into canning, look up some info on how to do it safely, nothing ruins a party like botulism!***
Simple Strawberry Jam -or- Strawberry Lavender Jam
Makes 7 half pint jars – cost approx $.61 per jar
- 3 lb strawberries, washed and hulled ($2.97)
- zest and juice of one small lemon ($.33)
- 4 Tbs Ball brand pectin ($.25)
- 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 sugar ($.75)
- 1 heaping tsp dry lavender (optional)
Put the berries in a large pot and crush them with your hands (or you little helper’s hands?) or with a potato masher. Stir in the lemon, pectin and lavender (if you want). Set over high heat and bring to a boil that you can’t stir away. This takes 5-10 minutes. Add in the sugar and boil hard for another 2 minutes.
Put your jam into sterilized jars and process (boil the jars) for 5 minutes plus any additional time as is appropriate to your altitude. (Like I have to do here in the mountains.) Remove the jars from the water bath and let set to cool. The tops should seal as the jars cool, put any jars that don’t seal overnight into the fridge and enjoy in the next few weeks, jars that have sealed can be stored at room temperature.