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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!

Comments

Pingback from CraftSanity – A blog and podcast for those who love everything handmade » In Other Jam-Related News: Crocheted Canning Jar Covers
Time: June 18, 2011, 9:57 pm

[...] forgot to mention in my earlier post that I published a fun and easy crochet pattern in CraftSanity Magazine issue 3 to pretty up your [...]

Comment from Elizabeth
Time: June 20, 2011, 6:45 pm

I love how you made a recipe from your own mag. Gives me even more confidence (not that I wasn’t before) of the things you choose to feature in it.

I hope to do the same this week!

Comment from Laurie
Time: June 21, 2011, 12:03 pm

I will be giving the strawberry jam recipe a go as soon as I get my PDF copy. I also make a lovely peach jam that is summer in a jar. Now to get my crochet skills to the point I can follow a pattern because those covers are too cute. I made a round bottom knit bags that looks a lot like yours. I made up the pattern because I didn’t like the rectangular bags I was finding.

Comment from Laurie
Time: June 21, 2011, 12:04 pm

PS: I’m north of you in Tustin.

Comment from jennifer
Time: June 21, 2011, 4:19 pm

Elizabeth, part of the joy of making this magazine is collecting the things I love into each issue. The jam recipe has become a favorite and I still LOVE the pita bread from issue one. Speaking of which, I think I’m going to make some bread this week.

Comment from sally
Time: June 21, 2011, 7:27 pm

Wow! Please check with your university extension office about sealing jam jars in the oven! Years ago I researched canning methods and the oven sealing method was DEFINITELY not considered safe by food safety experts at my university extension office. Best of luck to you.

Comment from jennifer
Time: June 21, 2011, 11:24 pm

Hi Sally. I will check into this further, but can tell you that my jars sealed and popped just like they do in the water canner. The oven method is detailed on p. 42 of “The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook” by Rachel Saunders, who has more than a decade of canning experience under her belt and operates a commercial jam company. Lydia Adams’ recipe that was published in CraftSanity can still be used by those who want to seal their jars using a water canner. Which ever method you use, it’s important to check to make sure the jars are sealed. The center of the lids curve in slightly when they have sealed properly. When making jam, by all means use a method you’re comfortable with.

Comment from jennifer
Time: June 21, 2011, 11:34 pm

Hi Laurie. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve never been to Tustin. Any DIY-craft attractions in town?

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