Homemade Strawberry Jam

Every May my family goes strawberry picking. We head out cheerfully with baskets in tow, expecting to fill our tote, stain our fingers, and return home to spend the afternoon making and canning fresh strawberry jam. Every year we think we'll stop at one basket, but the ripe strawberries beg us to keep picking, and inevitably we return with thirty pounds or more and the slightly guilty feeling that perhaps we didn't need quite that much fruit.

At any rate, there's hardly anything better than strawberry jam, and with thirty pounds of fruit, you can even use the leftovers to make breads, pies, dessert toppings, pancakes, and cakes if you happen to run out of jars. (Heaven forbid!)

Then again, perhaps you have stronger will power than us, and you'll stop before you hit the weight capacity of a small pony.

Here's the recipe for a simple no-heat strawberry jam. It turns out somewhat runny, but still delicious. If you'd rather have a more jelled jam, boiling pectin works well, but it tends to be a much messier process, so beware.

{homemade strawberry jam}

4 cups crushed strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1.59 oz pkg Ball Freezer Jam Pectin
1 16 oz Ball Freezer Jam jar (I recommend buying a pack of 12)

Put strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth.

In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and package of pectin until well mixed. Add the strawberries and stir for 3 minutes. Transfer mixture into clean freezer jar. (Leave a little space at the top since it will expand when frozen.) Twist on lid and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to thicken. Freeze until ready to use.

This is for one 16 oz jar of jam. If you're like us and pick 30 pounds of strawberries... you may want to 30-tuple the recipe and buy pectin and jars in bulk. Just sayin.

Best of all, you get to enjoy a day in the fields with the sun and the strawberries!