Homemade Strawberry Jam is Easy to Make

A few years ago I read about “pick your own” fields. I knew I wanted to try going. I first went in 2013 and now it has become an annual tradition to pick your own in a patch of strawberries. Each year, usually in early to mid-June we head over to Fitch’s Farm Market in Avon, Ohio to pick strawberries and then make homemade strawberry jam.

Usually we fill two containers, which totals eight quarts worth of berries. This year we have had a lot of rain so I am unfortunately not sure if we will make it, however, we’ve been enjoying strawberries from the grocery store for a few weeks now. When I have a lot of strawberries I like to make jam.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Picking Strawberries

If you are able to go, the picking process is relatively simple. Grab some provided baskets and go picking in the designated areas. I believe our skills improve toward the end of our venture as I realize better berries were in the middle of the field. We spend a lot of time picking small berries at the beginning, thinking that’s all there was.

If you go earlier in the season I’m sure the selection is better as well. The first year we picked we paid just under $20. The cost has gone up a bit with inflation. This past year it was $22. We brought containers from home to store the berries (although they would have given us a plastic bag if needed).

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Pick Your Own Strawberries

Picking Your Own Strawberries

I read up on berry picking before we went to Fitch’s and learned it’s best not to wash the berries until you are ready to eat them. As soon as you wash them they begin to spoil. I also learned that strawberries do not ripen off the vine, so you are best to pick red and juicy ones from the start if possible.

I have a few strawberry plants in my home garden, but being I only have three my crop is usually no more than enough for a salad topping. The “pick your own” concept is really fun if you are willing to put in the time and effort to pick the actual berries and then clean them at home.

If you are looking for Ball canning jars. These are the national approved retailers for Ball Canning:

• Ace Hardware
• Target
• True Value
• Walmart

Strawberry Fields

For a more natural, local food – it is worth it to me to pick a patch of strawberries. I am hoping to investigate more “pick your own” farms in the future. There are pick your own blueberries and apples nearby. The husband and I went to our local strawberry patch for the second year in a row.

This time we were prepared a little better, and also arrived at the patch during prime picking season. Last year we were a bit late. The found berry pickings were not as easy, or good, as they were this year. I wanted to be making strawberry jam soon.

I think is a good deal compared to the going rate at the store. And those berries aren’t local and likely full of pesticides. The berries were initially $20 for 8 quarts but have gone up a little in price to $22 for 8 quarts.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

How to Use the Strawberries

I froze one gallon bag of berries and cleaned some medium-sized berries to eat this week. And then the rest of the berries (mostly the small ones) were cleaned and prepped for homemade jam. I talked a few summers ago about how I wanted to try canning.

Well, I have to admit I bought the supplies but never canned. It wasn’t intentional, but it just never happened. So the second time we went to the fields which was in 2014, I was determined to make homemade strawberry jam. I made a low-sugar recipe out of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. I have since made this jam several times.

Homemade Strawberry Jam


Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Canning Strawberry Jam

I ran into one issue when I realized the first time I made homemade strawberry jam was the biggest pan I own is too small for my canning kit. Yikes! I had already made the jam when I came to this conclusion. The husband graciously went to Target and bought the Ball Canning Utensil Set which saved the day.

I used the jar lifter to put the cans in my pan and then remove them. Whew. And here’s the final product. Eleven, half-pints of jam. The whole quart, pint, half-pint thing really confused me to be honest. All the lids popped, which was good as this indicates the product has sealed and is properly canned and preserved.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam

In Summary

Making homemade strawberry jam is very easy and I recommend making the jam if you go strawberry picking or if you are looking to tackle your first canning project. It’s a great starter project and you can practically not go wrong in any way with making it. I hope my experience with homemade strawberry jam and picking strawberries provides some insight if you decided to try the same!

Have you been to a “pick your own” farm before? What did you pick?

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