The move towards homemade is clear – everyone is doing it. From urban gardening to foraging and homegrown produce, the trend is swinging thankfully towards the sustainable and ethical. With homemade food, and this in case preserves, the result is often better tasting than store-bought. Ball® Jar invited DECO to make some jam…
What could be better than freshly made strawberry jam? Drenched over scones with dollops of whipped cream, or enjoyed on its own with some warm toast, this wonderfully traditional preserve has pride of place in many hearts.
Preserving is a brilliant way to make use of fresh produce that is about to spoil, preventing waste. It’s also a way to get your sustainability points in – home preservation requires a fraction of the energy consumed in mass production – and allows you to make more than needed for home freezing, storage or gifting.
With the re-launch of the much-loved Ball® Jar in South Africa, we were tasked with creating a simple yet delectable homemade strawberry jam using their Ball® Preserving Kit – an ingenious easy-to-use preserving method. Included in the kit are:
- 3 x pint Ball® jars
- Ball® Funnel for easy pouring of liquids into the jars
- Ball® Jar Lifter to prevent burns while removing jars from boiling water
- Ball® Headspace Tool to determine the jar’s headspace (the amount of air that will be created in the jar after sealing)
- Ball® Preserving Rack to hold the jars together in the pot and for easy removal
Follow along below to make your own:
HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM
WHAT YOU NEED
- 4 cups (1L) crushed strawberries
- 3 cups (750mL) granulated sugar
- 8 x 4oz Ball® glass preserving jars with lids and bands
Step One: Sterilise
Fill a stock pot with warm water and set on the stove. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water to sterilise them. Heat the jars in simmering water in the stock pot. Leave the jars in the water for the duration of the jam making process. Set lids and bands aside.
Step Two: Make The Syrup
Combine the crushed strawberries and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and gels. Remove from heat. Skim off the foam that develops with a teaspoon.
TIP: Cut and crush the strawberries before measuring to ensure your jam is ‘jam-packed’.
Step Three: Measure & Pour
Using the tools from the Ball® Preserving Kit, use the Ball® Jar Lifter to remove the hot jars out of the water, and gently ladle the hot jam into the jars using the Ball® Funnel.
Use the Ball® Headspace Tool to measure 0.5cm headspace in the jar. Wipe the rim and centre the lids on the jars. Apply bands and adjust to fingertip tight – not too tight, not too loose to create the suction needed to seal the jars while being heated under pressure.
TIP: It is important to ensure the rim is clean and the headspace is measured correctly, this will result in a perfect seal!
Step Four: Cook the Jam
Using the Ball® Preserving Rack, lower the filled jars in boiling water for 15 minutes, ensuring the jars are completely covered. Thereafter remove pot lid and switch off the heat. Wait 5 minutes, and then remove jars and place on a cutting board overnight. If you hear a distinct ‘pop’, this means that your jar has sealed itself perfectly and is ready to be stored.
Store in the jar for up to 1 year in a cool, dark place.
TIP: The boiling process creates the seal with the lid, which means you can remove the bands and reuse them.
Add some extra ‘zing’ to your Strawberry Jam, by adding in these variations:
Vanilla Strawberry Jam:
- Add half a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, to the crushed strawberries. Cook as directed and remove vanilla bean before ladling jam into jars. The resulting jam will be enhanced with subtle yet distinct vanilla overtones.
Strawberry Balsamic Jam:
- Add 1 tbsp lemon juice to 3 tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar and add in the cooking process. Balsamic vinegar accents the strawberry flavour and gives the jam a robust taste.
Lemon Strawberry Jam:
- Add the grated zest of 1 large lemon to the crushed strawberries for a hit of sour and sweet.
Peppered Strawberry Jam:
- Stir 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper into the cooked jam just before ladling it into the jars. Pepper compliments strawberries’ sweet flavour. Be sure to use freshly ground pepper, which delivers a fresher-quality flavour.
Watch this for some Getting Started tips:
FOR MORE INFO
Visit the home of Ball® South Africa, freshpreserving.co.za
Images Courtesy of Ball® South Africa
Ball® Jar in Featured Image available in SA from 2016