Strawberry Jam in a Day
From Elizabeth Del Negro and Cheryl Palmer

Along the way, 75 miles up Highway 101 to Helmut Klauer’s Classic Organic farm, we spoke of local food and how lucky we are to eat fresh from the farm, to have friends who drop by with homemade bread and to know the Ojai winemakers. We mused that the reach of local food goes beyond our little food community in Ventura County. From Ojai, the 100-mile “local” extends through Santa Barbara and down to Los Angeles—lucky for us, since our valley is too hot for growing strawberries in summer, and lucky for them we have heirloom tomatoes in June.

Makes approximately 5 pints

8 cups of ripe strawberries picked that day, washed and hulled (do not use old, overly ripe berries)
3–4 cups organic sugar (to taste)
1 box Pomona’s Universal Pectin
(4 teaspoons calcium water, 4 teaspoons pectin powder)
2 lemons
For canning you will need:
Large canner
5 glass pint jars with lids and rings
Jar grabber and lid magnet
Tea towels
Ladle and large spoon
Jar funnel

Step one:

Prepare jars. Wash and sterilize jars. Bring lids to a boil and let stand in hot water.

Bring water to a boil in the canner for the water bath.

Step two:

Prepare fruit. Wash and remove stems and hulls, cut into halves or quarters. Measure 4 teaspoons of pectin and put into a large bowl with the sugar. Set aside.

Make the calcium water: ½ teaspoon calcium powder and ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with lid. You will only use a portion of the calcium water. Store the rest for a later use in the refrigerator. Measure 8 cups of strawberries.

Add 4 teaspoons of calcium water (shake well before using) and ½ cup lemon juice.

Cook on medium-high heat in a large cast-iron pot.

Bring to a boil.

When berries are soft, use a plunge blender to macerate. If you like your jam chunky, leave some whole fruit. Add pectinsugar little by little, stirring constantly while cooking to dissolve pectin. Return to boil and remove from heat.

Step three:

Fill jars with jam to ¼ inch of top. Wipe rims clean with the wet towel. Screw on two-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water in the canner to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add one minute more for every 1,000 feet above sea level).

Remove from water and let jars cool. Do not disturb jars; lids should seal while cooling and you will hear a pop. If lids are not sucked down, you may repeat the canning process (check to make sure there is no jam between rim and seal. Pectin completes its jell when thoroughly cool. Lasts about 3 weeks once opened.


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