Welcome Summer and Strawberry Jam

Welcome to the Lancaster Preservation Society!

The start of the summer season follows Memorial Day weekend, bringing with it beautiful warm weather and a late ripening crop of fresh strawberries in central Pennsylvania.

For my first post, I thought I would share a recipe for strawberry jam. I am bringing this jam for our first ever food swap of the Lancaster Preservation Society. It will be held tomorrow, June 4th at Thistle Finch Distillery in Lancaster city.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with Lavender Flowers

3 cups diced rhubarb (about 3 stalks)
10 cups strawberries
1/2 cup lemon juice
8 cups sugar
4 tbs pectin
3 tbsp lavender

1. Dice the rhubarb into small pieces. Rhubarb is fibrous, like celery. No need to make perfect little cubes ~ just make sure you cut the rhubarb small enough so that you wont have any long strands of fiber stuck in your jam… (because no one wants that in their teeth!)

photo 4

2. Clean and hull the strawberries. You can cut them up if you want but they will break down in the cooking process and get smaller. You can save time by just throwing them in whole and mixing your jam with a potato masher.

On a side note… look at this huge lemon! It as a monster and yielded all the lemon juice I needed, and more!

lemon

3. Heat a large heavy pot over medium high heat and toss in your rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. You could add about 1/2 cup water if it seems like it’s hard to stir. Bring the ingredients to a rolling boil…. carefully watch the jam as it starts to boil! (yep… mine boiled over – what a mess!)

strawberry jam

4. Add the pectin and boil the jam. Add the lavender flowers after about ten minutes of boiling. Foam will form on the top of the jam. Keep stirring until the foam subsides – this may take about 30 minutes. Cooking times often vary so check your jam to see if it is set every few minutes.

photo 1

5. Test your jam by dipping a spoon into the jam. If the jam runs off the spoon too fast (like water running off of a dish you just washed) then it is not done. If the jam sticks to the back of the spoon and slowly runs down and drops off of it like globs then the jam has set.

Sometimes this is tricky… you may not get it right the first few times. Sometimes you end up with watery jam or really thick jam. You can still eat it either way. I think that my batch turned out a little on the runny side this time, but a few hours in the refrigerator can help with the thickness as well. And if it’s still thin, eat it on ice cream or pancakes, yum.

6. Make sure your jars are cleaned, prepped and ready for processing. Fill them with your jam and process for twelve minutes in a hot water bath.  Give the jars 24 hours and check the seal.  This recipe yields about 8 pints of jam.

Try this jam on toast or biscuits with your morning breakfast. Plop it on top of honey flavored ice cream. OR if you’re adventurous, try it with brie cheese on buttery whole wheat crackers.

strawberry jam jars upclose

I am really excited for our first food swap tomorrow! Please try to stop on by and check it out. If you plan on swapping – bring 6 jars of goods with you and get ready to trade. If you don’t preserve but you would like to start, or if you are just a curious person ~ come over and see what all the fun is about. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

The Lancaster Preservation Society’s First Food Swap

Meeting at 7pm on June 4th 2014

Thistle Finch Distillery
417 West Grant St.
Lancaster, PA 17603

 

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