Monday, May 9, 2011

What I made today...

I saw these cute little jars and thought that some homemade preserves would be a great "party gift" for the parents that come to Ezra's birthday party and would go really well with the "vintage cowboy/general store" theme.



Here's what you'll need:
2#'s of fresh strawberries
12 small glass canning jars
1 large lemon
2 cups sugar

I used a recipe I found on the Food Network website that also included jar prep directions. Click HERE for the details.

First you have to soak the jars and lids in warm soapy water. Then they need to be sterilized. I brought some water to a low boil and just soaked the jars and lids while I was preparing the jam.


For the jam you have to first zest and juice one large lemon, then add 2 cups of sugar and on low heat bring that mixture to a low boil just enough to melt the sugar.



Once the sugar is dissolved add in the strawberries and cook for at least 20 minutes or until when you place a small drop of the liquid onto a frozen plate it gels instantly.



After a light boil I took the pot off of heat and just let the jars simmer while I finshed cooking the jam. I used sterilized tongs to remove the jars from the water being careful not to touch them with my hands and set them to dry upright so as not to introduce any bacteria into them.



Once you can put a small drop on a frozen plate and it gels, your jam is ready. Pour it into your jars carefully as it's very hot. Wipe down any spils with a damp clean cloth, then apply the inner sealing lid followed by the ringed lid and screw down until tight. (do not try to adjust the tightness of the lid as this will break the pneumatic seal)



Let these set for 24 hours and then perform a seal test. The inner lid shouldn't pop up and down when depressed. Also if you take off the outer ring you should NOT be able to remove the inner lid with your fingertips. If the seal is in tact, these preserves may last up to a year!



Of course I had to fancy the jars up a bit. I was lucky enough to find an AMAZING blog today where I got my printables for this project. Eat.Drink.Chic also has printables for various jams like rhubarb and blueberry. Click HERE to see the post where I found these lovelies.
I had some left over burlap type material from my spring wreath project so I used it to cut out large circle shapes. I then added a dot of hot glue to the top of the lid to hold down the fabric. I used a rubberband around the lid and then tied some red bakers twine over it as best as I could and then finished it off with the printable heart "strawberry jam" label on top and the "homemade with love" tag glued to the twine strings.
Hopefully tomorrow when I test the seals they will be good to go and then I'll cover all of the jars. I can't wait to see them all stacked together! I think this will be the perfect compliment to my "treat" table at the party :)

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