We’ve had a really great response to our Weck Jars. They have so many awesome uses (dry goods, storing asparagus, Ina’s Herbed Goat Cheese), but I decided to try my hand at canning and use them as initially intended. So I decided to make jam. It’s strawberry season. Strawberry jam is one of my favorites. I see posts and recipes for jam all over the place. My mom used to make jam - I never helped, but how hard could it be?
Turns out, if you don’t do your research before hand, you will likely be unprepared. Not good. My first experience with canning is your “How To” of what not to do! Canning is more science than art. Canning is something you learn and perfect. Not something you do on a whim, because ‘Hey, it’s almost summer and I love strawberries!’ I thought, I’ll just grab a few quarts of strawberries, make a jar or two. Canning requires work and preparation. In my opinion, too much work and preparation to only come out with a jar or two (honestly, we ended up with only a jar and a half).
I choose Ina’s Fresh Strawberry Jam recipe – seemed simple, easy to follow. But there is also a note; It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products. That’s the key part. I did see 100 Days of Real Food posted a video of how she cans her strawberry jam. It was 30 minutes long, I watched a bit and realized that her jam was already on the stove, ready to go. It was a 30 minute video of just the canning and preserving part!! I should have known then that I was in over my head. But, Michelle came over and we got to work.
I followed Ina’s recipes and once I had the strawberries on the stove cooking down, we started to read the canning instructions, and then went over to the Weck Jar website to read their canning directions. When dealing with food, bacteria, and contamination there isn’t a lot of wiggle room. Jars, lids, spoons, surfaces – everything needs to be sanitized to ensure that your canned food will keep. Lots of boiling water. There were a few ‘canning supplies’ that would have made this endeavor easier - jar tongs, a larger pot, clean hand-towels at the ready. But really, I just didn’t do enough research. I should have read more about how the Weck Jars work best, researched the methodology of canning and preserving, and taken the time to prepare my supplies before jumping in with a carton of strawberries and a recipe.
We managed to get through it, relatively bacteria-free (we kept our jar in the fridge, just in case). But after all that prep, one jar of jam was not satisfying. I definitely want to do it again. I talked to my mom – she used to can and used the jars with the wax on top to seal it. I’m going to try it again, with my Weck Jars prepped and my mom as my guide.
I know there must be some avid canners out there. Anyone have tips they’d like to share? I need them. I also learned that the Weck Jar rubber rings need to be replaced so the jars can be reused and sealed completely. Would you like us to carry rubber ring replacements?
Thanks for sticking with me on this one. I will not give up – so please be on the lookout for a successful canning post in the future!
Link to Ina's Fresh Strawberry Jam recipe here.