It’s officially my favorite time of year. Strawberry picking season. I love heading to the pick-your-own farm and grabbing up a stash of my very own locally grown berries. Each year, as I make my way through one aisle of red sweetness after another, I think about how I will utilize my freshly acquired stash. This strawberry is destined for a homemade shortcake. That one? Pie, for sure. And the really, really big one that’s as red as a freshly polished ruby, will be enjoyed as is, sliced up and thrown into my morning bowl of vanilla granola. There really is nothing better than a freshly picked bowl of berries.
This year I decided to venture into the world of canning and try my hand at a pot of fresh strawberry jam. I was searching for ways to give the spread a unique twist that hadn’t been done yet, when it hit me. Ryan from Pom Wonderful recently sent me a case of their new pomegranate cranberry juice to try out. I had been pondering what to make with it for sometime when it struck me like a strawberry to the forehead. I’ll make Pom strawberry jam!
I just love how the tart taste of the juice compliments the sweetness of the strawberries. Because you add juice, you also use less sugar in exchange. That’s a win-win if you ask me.
Start out by roughly chopping 8 cups of fresh strawberries. Oh how I love fresh berries.
Add in 1 cup of Pom Pomegranate Cranberry juice. Ok, now I’m hungry and thirsty.
Mash the strawberries with a potato masher and let them cook up all tasty like.
Add in some lemon juice, sugar and salt. Let it cook down until you reach the correct consistency using the chilled plate and/or spoon method.
Here’s what you need to do. Grab up a small plate and stick it in the freezer to get good and cold. Once you’ve been cooking your jam for a good while (You’ll start to notice that it looks thicker. Mine took around 45 minutes), pull out a teaspoonful and drop it onto your frozen plate. Place the plate back in the freezer for about a minute and then pull it back out and check the consistency of your jam. If it’s good to go, you’re good to go! If not, keep cooking and try again in a few more minutes. You can also keep a glass of ice water with a spoon in it next to your pot for quickie thickness tests, but I tended to like the plate test a whole lot better.
While it’s cooking, you may notice a bit of foam start to form on the top of your jam. Simply skim the foam off the top with a spoon as it forms. The foam won’t hurt you if you leave it on. It simply tastes like, well, foam. So most people prefer to skim it off.
At this point you can transfer it to a container and store in your fridge for an anytime sweet taste treat, or you may can your berry creation to share with others or save for a later date. If strawberries are involved, it’s all good in my book.
I’m not going to go into a detailed canning lesson here, but you can find more information on how it’s done over at one of my favorite sites for fresh fruit and veggie information; Pick Your Own.
So I’m curious, do you pick your own fruits and/or veggies? What are your favorites?
Wonderfully Pom Strawberry Jam
Total Time: 1 hour 10 Min.
8 Cups Strawberries, Roughly Chopped
1 Cup Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Cranberry Juice
3 Cups Sugar
1 Lemon, Juiced
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Vanilla
Combine Strawberries and Pom Juice in a large stock pot and mash the berries roughly with a potato masher.
Cook the mixture on medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes being sure to stir frequently.
Add in the sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Attach a thermometer to the pot and continue to heat, uncovered and stirring every few minutes, until your jam reaches the desired consistency, being sure to skim off any excess foam from the top of the jam as it forms.
To test the consistency of your jam, grab up a small plate and stick it in the freezer to get good and cold. Once you've been cooking your jam for a good while (You'll start to notice that it looks thicker. Mine took around 45 minutes), pull out a teaspoonful and drop it onto your frozen plate. Place the plate back in the freezer for about a minute and then pull it back out and check the consistency of your jam. If it's good to go, you're good to go! If not, keep cooking and try again in a few more minutes. You can also keep a glass of ice water with a spoon in it next to your pot for quickie thickness tests, but I tended to like the plate test a whole lot better.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Store jam in fridge or can in a hot water bath using sterilized containers. Check out the Pick your Own site for more specific information on canning jams.