Strawberry jam (again).

My happy jam-making experience last summer—with homemade strawberry, blueberry and tomato jam—had me looking forward to getting out the canning pot and jars all over again. For a household of two people, we managed to go through quite a few pints (and jars of homemade jam made good gifts all year, too).

Last year, I was a jam-canning virgin, so I stayed in familiar territory and processed my concoctions in Ball pint jars, including the adorable Ball Elite pint jars. This year, I decided to give the supercute Weck jars a try.

I was familiar with canning in Ball jars, with the familiar band-and-lid closure. Weck jars, on the other hand, have glass lids and rubber gaskets that are secured during processing with stainless-steel clamps. I’ve used Weck jars for making pretty desserts and for pantry storage. But I’d read somewhere that they were a little tricky to use for canning. My experience proved otherwise; I found both Weck and Ball jars equally easy to use.

Which isn’t to say that canning isn’t a complex process; it is. And my strawberry jam project wasn’t without its hiccups. I made two errors, both easily remedied:

First, I didn’t have enough fruit. It’s soooooo weird: I purchased a full gallon bucket of sweet Carolina strawberries at the Asheville, NC, farmers’ market last weekend. Surely, a gallon of berries would yield the 4 cups of crushed fruit I needed for jam. But no, I was short. [Not sure how that happened. Ahem.] So I raided the freezer for a bag of blackberries I’d put up last summer, and voila. My 4 cups of crushed fruit.

Second, I mistakenly assumed I could stack the jars 2 high in my tall, slim fourth-burner pot and process 2 at a time. Shoulda tried that first to be sure the pot was deep enough. Not so. I regrouped and put a wider pot on to boil (with a silicone potholder in the bottom in lieu of a canning rack), and the day was saved. Ten minutes in a boiling water bath, and we’re done.

I missed hearing the lovely ppppinkkkk that you get when a Ball jar seals up. But when I went to test the seal on my Weck mini mold jars (by removing the clamps and checking that the lid is seated firmly), I got the same nerdy pleasure of knowing the process had worked.

Jam on!

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6 thoughts on “Strawberry jam (again).

  1. That’s my biggest challenge every. single. time: running short of whatever I’m canning. It just happened with some strawberry vanilla jam I canned a few weeks ago. I had strawberries piled on every flat surface, and still came up short of the 3 pints I was aiming for. Glad to hear of success with the Weck jars – you know how I feel about them. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, Karen! Glad I’m not the only one who mysteriously (well, maybe not so mysteriously … those berries had to go somewhere) finds herself short of ingredients for jam.

  2. I like the homemade jams and when I can I do any, especially of bitter orange that we like and also use this type of bottles, because they very well preserved jam and are very nice.
    Greetings from Madrid

  3. Great info on Weck jars, they’re so lovely! I’ve never heard of them, but very interested in trying. So, since I don’t have a pressure cooker or canner, will the typical boiling water bath do??

    • Hi, Barbara — yes, a regular boiling water bath will work with Weck jars; for canning homemade jam, the processing time is only 10 minutes, so there’s no need for a pressure canner. I used a stock pot with a silicone potholder in the bottom in lieu of a canning rack. Piece of cake! Thanks for your question.

  4. Pingback: Glazed strawberry lemon scones. | writes4food | recipes and wisdom from a Midwestern kitchen