A few weeks ago I explored making and canning orange marmalade. This week I decided to use my surplus strawberries to make fresh jam. While I don’t eat alot of jam or preserves, I figured a small batch would be worthwhile and used by end of year. And, if I didn’t eat it as jam, I knew it could come in handy when making a quick dessert topping (i.e. drizzled over ice-cream or poured over a slice of cheesecake).
When I made the marmalade, I bought these adorable Ball 8oz Platinum Jar. Yes, I find small jars to be adorable :-) They are very modern looking and perfect for gift-giving, which is exactly what I did with many jars of marmalade. I complained at the time how I couldn’t find the same style of jar in a larger pint-size version. Well, the good folks at Ball came to my rescue and sent me sample set of pint jars, as well as a few other goodies.
Once again (as I do so often) I’ve got to reflect on my farm upbringing to put this in context – my mother canned and preserved the majority of food we ate. During the year we ate canned green beans, green peas, pickled beets, dill pickles, sweet pickles, numerous jams, and other wonderful goods. We honestly lived off the land and it was our Ball canning products that made it possible.
My mother swore by Ball jars and with her 30+ years of experience I tend to go with her opinion on this. So, it was nice that Ball reached out to me with such a generous set of samples with which I could carry on my family’s food preservation heritage. Granted, they didn’t know my backstory at the time, but I appreciated it.
So, recently I made jam and am behind in talking about my experience. It turned out delicious so I want to share my creation with you and tell you about the products I used. I received the following samples and put them to good use:
The book is a complete resources for all of the canning and food preservation do’s and don’ts. It’s 124 pages packed with equipment guidelines, step-by-step instructions, and plenty of recipe ideas. It’s the perfect starter book (actually, it’s more of a magazine format) for beginner’s and good reference for everyone else.
I have never made freezer jam before but my mother does it every year. There are a few jars of raspberry jam in my freezer as I write this. I read the no-cook freezer jam package and was surprised at just how easy it is. You take 4 cups of fresh chopped fruit and mix with sugar and the pectin. Stir for a few minutes and let it set for 30 minutes. Then, package and freeze.
Although I had plenty of strawberries, I wanted to mix it up and used one cup of wild blueberries. The proportion of blueberries to strawberries was perfect. The recipe made about 5 8oz. jars … and we only have 2 jars left. Hmmmm, so much for stocking up on jam! It’s really quite good, very fresh tasting and satisfying.
I packaged the jam in the new 8 oz. freezer jars. My mother uses a variety plastic containers but this product is pretty slick. The jars are sturdy and have a no-spill plastic cap to seal in freshness. The jars also are stackable which helps with freezer storage. The jars lock into one another, so they don’t tumble over easily.
The good news is that my jam jars will soon be empty and ready to be reloaded. I’ve used the jam over the strawberry ice-cream I made recently … absolutely magical. And, from the photo above you’ll see I’ve used it as a fruit dip with a big, juicy Asian pear.
Once my jars are empty, I’ll try something new. Someone gave me a jar of cinnamon plum jam one year and it was incredible. I’m hoping to replicate it at some point, so maybe it will happen soon.
For more information on Ball products, supplies, and resource information please visit the Ball website.