Looking for a quick gift to make this weekend for teachers, neighbors, friends, co-workers and more? I have a sweet idea for you…
For as far back as I can remember my mom has made strawberry jam for Christmas gifts. Each year friends and family have come to expect this delicious treat and her list of recipients has grown quite a bit! In fact, her list as grown so much that she makes a ton of extra jam to have on hand in case someone stops by unexpectedly with a gift during the holidays. So once a year she devotes an entire day to jam making and freezes it for Christmastime. And because she’s an overachiever she always bakes a fresh loaf of cinnamon bread to accompany her jam gift too.
A few years ago I started baking mini loaves of cinnamon bread as Christmas gifts for neighbors and friends but decided to step up my game this year by adding some homemade blackberry jam. Plus, I have a longer list of people to give gifts to now that both Caroline and Thomas have 3 teachers each (6 teacher gifts adds up quickly!). Here is how I packaged the teacher gifts…
Simple Strawberry Jam
Instructions by The Pioneer Woman and adapted for Blackberries
5 cups hulled mashed strawberries
7 cups sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 49g package powdered fruit pectin
1. Place 8 or 9 8-ounce mason jars in a large hot water bath canner (or pot). Cover with water and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer center lids in separate saucepan full of water.
3. Place mashed strawberries and lemon juice in a separate pot. Stir in pectin until dissolved. Bring strawberries to a strong boil.
4. Add sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), then return mixture to a full (violent) boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds.
5. Skim foam off the top.
6. Remove one jar at a time from the simmering water. Pour water back into the pot. Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful to keep the liquid/fruit ratio consistent. Fill jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top.
7. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles.
8. Wipe rim of jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness.
9. Remove center lid from simmering water and position it on top.
10. Put screw bands on jars, but do not overtighten!
11. Repeat with all jars, then place jars on canning rack and lower into the water.
12. Place lid on canner, then bring water to a full boil. Boil hard for 10 to 12 minutes.
13. Turn off heat and allow jars to remain in hot water for an addition five minutes.
14. Remove jars from water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
15. After 24 hours, remove screw bands and check the seal of the jars. Center lids should have no give whatsoever. If any seals are compromised, store those jars in the fridge.
I highly recommend using a canning kit for jam making. These tools make the process so much easier. I borrowed this kit from my friend to see if I’d actually follow through with jam making and now I am absolutely going to buy one for myself.
Also, I chose 4 ounce jam jars instead of the big boys because I wanted to stretch my jam across as many jars as possible.
I recommend waiting to make your jam when your choice of fruit is in season. I love blackberries so I waited until they were buy one, get one free at the Teeter. My friend Lisa makes jam several times a year during each fruit season – peaches, blackberries, strawberries, etc.! The peach jam is on my list for sure this summer!
And that’s a wrap on jam! So far our recipients have been pretty excited about their surprise jam delivery!