Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Strawberry & Wild Plum Jam

At our first home we had a cherry tree and I always thought the cherries were too sour to do anything with. About three summer's into living there I saw one of our neighbors eating the cherries so I went out to visit with him. "Neighbor man aren't those sour?" "Yep, and it sure would make a good jam. You should make some jam out of these cherries." Not wanting them to go to waste I got on it and discovered that removing the pits was the hardest part. Each year after that he would return the empty glass jar and request a refill. We don't have a cherry tree anymore so I'm *forced* to go out to the local berry patch and pick strawberries and raspberries when they come into season.

This year I thought I would experiment with my normal strawberry jam. My mother was able to freeze wild plum juice last year after one of their trips to Colorado. Alone it made a fantastic jam but with the strawberries it's awesome!

2 - 1.75 oz boxes of Sure Jell Pectin (yellow box)
5 cups strawberries, crushed
5 1/2 cups wild plum juice with pulp
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. butter
13 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
15-20 12oz Ball Brand jelly jars

(1) Wash in hot soapy water the jars, bands and lids. Allow to air dry.
(2) In a large skillet place the lids and cover with water. Heat over low heat.
(3) Choose only the ripest strawberries and wash well.
(3) In a very large stock-pot combine the crushed strawberries and wild plum juice. Use a potato masher to crush any larger pieces of fruit.
(4) Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
(5) Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl. Reducing sugar or using sugar substitutes will result in set failures.
(6) Stir in pectin into fruit. Add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to reduce foaming.
(7) Bring fruit mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
(8) Stir in sugar quickly. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
(9) Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.
(10) Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with lids and screw on the bands tightly. Immediately place jars UPSIDE DOWN until completely cooled. Jars should self-seal. Test by pressing on lids. If it doesn't spring back when pressed against the seal was good. If jar did not seal then refrigeration is necessary.
(11) Store unopened jars in cool, dry, dark place up to one year. Refrigerate opened jars up to 3 weeks.

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