Strawberry Jam: One of the Highlights of Michigan Summers

Strawberries are ripe for the picking here in West Michigan and I got a little carried away this year. Armed with the tasty jam recipe by Lydia Adams (published on p. 3 of CraftSanity Magazine issue 3), my family picked 30 pounds of strawberries this past Wednesday at Krupp Farms in Comstock Park.

There’s an ice cream stand and a free petting zoo there, so it’s an especially fun place to pick strawberries with the kids.

Strawberry picking is a bit messy. I was kneeling down most of the time and ended up with strawberry juice stains on my socks and running shoes. Ah, well, it was totally worth it because fresh strawberries taste so good.

My heart sunk a little bit when I got the strawberries home and I realized how long it was going to take to chop up 30 pounds of berries. I decided to spread the task over the course of three days which was manageable, although still a bit insane.

Five batches of jam later I have Lydia’s jam recipe memorized and I’ve now made the recipe a total of seven times. (I tested it twice before the magazine went to print.)

I’ve made at least a batch or two of strawberry jam every summer for the last several years, but I wasn’t crazy about the recipe I was using. Lydia has changed that. Now I have a great recipe which inspired me to make the equivalent of 40 – 8 oz. jars of jam. Thankfully the jam has a shelf life of a about a year, so it will last a while. But I’m not worried about it going bad, because I plan to gift a lot of the jam to friends and relatives.

One of the great perks of using Lydia’s recipe is that you don’t have to bust out the water canner to seal your jars. I’ve always sealed my jars using a water canner in the past, but Lydia seals her jars in the oven using a method adapted from Rachel Saunders‘ lovely book, “The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook (373 pages, $35, Andrews McMeel Publishing). I was very skeptical about the oven method at first, but once I heard the jars doing their usual pop, pop, popping when I removed them from the oven, I became a believer and now prefer the oven method to the more cumbersome water canning method.

I printed my review of Rachel’s book on page 5 of issue 3. This issue also includes a story about Lydia’s journey into the jam business and a Q&A with her that I hope will inspire you to whip up a batch of strawberrry jam this summer. If you want to try Lydia’s recipe, you can buy CraftSanity Magazine Issue 3 in print or via instant download for $5 on the left sidebar of this site. Or, if you’d rather skip to the fun tasting part, you can buy a jar of jam directly from Lydia. Either way, you’ve gotta try this jam.

Are you making jam this summer? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Have a great day!

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