I keep forgetting to post about my "jam session" from Monday! We had picked berries on Friday, then washed, hulled, and pureed them on Saturday. We like to puree ours in the blender rather than just mooshing them up with a potato masher or something. Jim likes the jam better without big pieces of fruit in it, plus it really makes the jam stretch farther . . . and it's nice and easy to just throw 'em all in the blender and get a nice smooth consistency. Anyway. So on Monday I started nice and early because I knew it would take all day to make the jam.
I could tell that I wasn't going to be able to get quite as many batches out of the berries as I had hoped, so I decided to make three batches of strawberry-rhubarb, to help them stretch further. And I had five batches of strawberry, for a total of eight batches, which ended up to be 72.5 half-pints. (I can usually get about 9 half-pints out of each batch instead of the eight that the directions estimate.) Last time I made strawberry jam, which was two years ago, I made 50-something half-pints, and they lasted us almost 2 years (along with some blackberry and blueberry jam that we made both last summer and the one before). I'm hopeful that the amount we made this time will last us about 2 years also, but we do have 3 kids who love PB&J almost every day for lunch, so we'll see. I do hope to make a good amount of blackberry jam later this summer, too--it looks like we are going to have an awesome crop of blackberries this year!
For anyone who's curious, I use the directions here. They're basically the same as what comes in the pectin packages, but I do add a little extra pectin to each batch, as the lady suggests. This year I used the no-sugar pectin, but still added 4 cups of sugar per batch. The jam came out great! We spent waaaaay more for berries this year than we had planned, but in spite of that we still came out with a fairly decent price--around $1.64 per half-pint. Next time we will shop around more and hopefully find a better deal on berries, which would cut the cost down a lot more.
And that is my strawberry jam saga for this year! :)