March is now over, our days are longer which means later bedtimes, whiny kids and even grumpier parents. Making the adjustment is often hard around here. While the kids and I don't have to get up to an alarm clock, the hubby still does and 3:45a comes even earlier when it doesn't get dark until after 8pm.
In Florida, March is also synonymous with strawberries. You will start to see them everywhere. Every corner will have a stand of someone selling flats, the u-pick places are all over and the Strawberry Festival is celebrated with all things fried, colored lights and retired country stars.
Strawberry season means one big thing in my house, jam time. Every year I try to put away about 12 pints of strawberry jam to give as gifts, make pb&j's with or just eat with a spoon straight out of the jar. I'm not sure which I love better strawberry or muscadine!
I always have fantasy filled dreams of the kids and I singing in the kitchen canning jam together, but really my anxiety kicks them out about the time I start to put the strawberries on the stove. Sometimes I can't think and mom at the same time. Besides they usually help with the hard part of squishing the berries. This year was no different!
Wanna know my family secret recipe for making jam?
First you need a giant pot to process your jars for shelf keeping OR lots of freezer space for freezer jam! There are some handy accessories for hot jars like a jar handler, a long stemmed magnet and a wide mouth funnel that fits the jars perfectly. All easily found in the canning isle at Walmart!
I start with 2 flats of strawberries of which half of one is promptly eaten while it's still sitting on the counter. The rest has the tops cut off and the berries cut into chunks. They are then well hidden in the outside fridge to keep them from grubbing little kid hands.
Next wash in hot soapy water (or rinse on high in the dishwasher) 24 half pint mason jars. I always try to have extra on hand just encase. I usually dunk the lids in the boiling water right before canning starts to clean them.
You will need a 5lb sack of sugar and I always try to use the surejell low sugar pectin. SureJell has always worked the best for me. You need one box per 12 half pint jars in general.
Mash your fruit for jam or use the fruit processor on your kitchen aid for jelly. I like the bits, so I just use my hands or a potato masher to squeeze the berries.
Then just follow the directions in the package. It's really pretty darn easy. A few lessons I have learned. Read the directions twice. Measure everything out in advance, stir, stir, keep stirring, and don't walk away.
Then if you are a Pinterest Mom you can put pretty labels on your jam and give them away in nice baskets to your friends. If you are like me I might write the date on the top and an S to indicate strawberry, but I still give them away to friends. Either way they taste the same! Please let me know in the comments if you try to make our own jam this year or if you have any questions!
Now head over to Olive Shoot Photography to see what her 60 seconds of motion looks like for the month of March.
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