Homemade Sweetness

Has your home recently been taken over by the sweet smell of summer, with a hint of strawberries and sugar? No? WHAT?! Would you like it too? ‘Cause mine has, and I can’t stop smiling. Wanna know our secret? Our home recently experienced its first strawberry jam creation, and I am forever grateful to have learned how to make this traditionally store-bought item into a scrumptious homemade reality.

Wanna learn how to make this sweet jammy goodness? It’s easy as pie. But we’re not making pie, so it’s a little different (<–that’s a joke, for those of you who aren’t used to my old man humor yet). But seriously, folks, it’s very easy to make. Watch what happens:

Step numero uno involves boiling the Masons in hot water. WHAT?! No, not myself and my fiance, Sean Mason, but actual Mason jars. Apparently it’s recommended to boil the Mason jars (or whatever jars you choose to use) in hot water first, just to make sure that all germs are totally gone.

Step two is to get excited…because here come the STRAWBERRIES!!!! I got these gorgeous strawberries from Trader Joe’s. And if I haven’t said this a hundred times yet…then let me say it again…I LOVE Trader Joe’s. Freshest, most reasonably priced fruits and veggies in town. Take a look at how beautiful they are. They should win the next Miss America pageant:

Step three is to chop them up. This part took a while, but I think that chopping fruits and veggies is one of the best moments of cooking. It’s a rare moment where you get to appreciate what the meal/creation once was in its raw form, before setting it on fire or adding 4,738,890 ingredients to it to make a different outcome. It’s a chance to appreciate what you’re starting with. Here’s how finely I decided to chop the strawberries:

Step four relies on a masher of some sort. Now, when I look for recipes online for something this simple, I tend to follow three or more recipes at once, just to keep track of fun ways to spice it up a bit. As for mashing up the strawberries, some recipes recommended using a blender, while others just told me to mash it up and left it to me to figure out the process on my own. We have a blender, but I decided to get a little work out and used our metal masher:

Half way through mashing this stuff up I was pretty impressed to see how much juice it created! I get it, it’s fruit, but still…it’s sometimes not until you squeeze out the juice from a strawberry until you realize how juicy it is. Anywho…this is the consistency that I decided to stop at:

Step five may be a little terrifying. You MIGHT want to prepare yourself for this one. I had to take out tons of sugar from some of these recipes because, even I thought it was calling for too much. Basically, use your own judgement…but the sugar should be added gradually, and to taste. After chopping the strawberries, I had roughly 3 cups of chopped strawberries to use. Knowing that, I used about a cup and a half of sugar which, again, was HALF of what the recipes called for. Now…I love me some sugar…we all know that…but I really thought it was calling for too much. So to add a little more to the fun, I brought in my good friends: cinnamon and nutmeg! I just added a few dabs of each here and there until I was happy. Also, the recipes called for a 1/4 cup of lemon juice, but all we had was a lime. Good enough for me! Lime actually made it pretty tasty! I squeezed the whole lime for juice and added it right into the pot.

Step 6 – Fire it up! Start slow with a low heat, then once everything is mixed in properly, slowly bring it up to a “rolling boil” for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Stir it a lot. Thankfully this didn’t happen to me, but some of the comments from multiple recipes included people who burned the pan or found that it would all thicken too quickly. I luckily didn’t run into that problem, and just stirred it as consistently as I could:

Step 7 means that when it looks like the photo above – it’s time to stop boiling. Take your super clean Mason jars (they should still be warm at this point) and add the strawberry pre-jam mixture (more like thick syrupie mixture at this point) right on in. The amount I had fit perfectly into one jar:

Step 8 includes simply sealing this bad boy down, flipping it over onto a cloth since it’s “so hot right now” (<–hehe … another joke!), and immediately putting it in the fridge (yes, upside down).

Done and done in eight easy steps!!! And do you know what eight means?! “New beginnings.” This little creation was totally meant for Newlie! I’m so happy I made it, and I can’t wait to try it out with our new tuscany bread (also from Trader Joe’s!) tomorrow morning for breakfast. Apparently you have to let it sit in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours. I kept tasting it a little throughout the whole cooking process though, and it was so yummy.

Have any of you made this before? If so, do you have any new recommendations for me to perfect this recipe!? I plan on making this A LOT from now on, and would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know!

Happy cooking.