Homemade Strawberry Jam (Toddler Chef-Friendly)
I've always wanted to make homemade jam, but I didn't get the real push I needed until our family visited Morning Glory Farm on Martha's Vineyard. It's widely known as "the farm that feeds an island" and it was so easy to see (eat) why.
Everything we tasted was amazing, but our family fave was the organic strawberry jam. Just four simple ingredients pack a whole lot of flavor: strawberries, sugar, lemon juice & zest and pure apple pectin.
For those of you who are complete jam making newbies (like me), "pectin" is a naturally thickening agent that's found in berries, apples and other fruits. You can make it fresh from those fruits (my next project) or buy it pre-made in powdered or liquid form.
I scoured the Internet until I found a blog post about Morning Glory's delish jam, written by someone who actually made it. Although it didn't include a recipe, I did learn that, at some point, they used Pomona's Universal Pectin to make their strawberry jam.
One of the huge benefits of Pomona's (beyond the fact that it's sugar and preservative-free) is that it gels with lower amounts of sugar or other sweetener (e.g., honey, juice concentrate) than other commercial pectins. I was sure that I'd have to order this on line, but I ended up finding it in the organic section of Wegmans. Wegmans also carried all of the canning equipment that I needed (see below). If you don't have a Wegmans nearby, you can also head to Bed, Bath and Beyond if you want to pick up what you need in person.
I had tons of strawberry jam recipes to select from, but I ended up just following the one that was included with the pectin, except I added lemon juice in our version. I'd love to get your feedback on this one, so try it out and let me know what you think!
RECOMMENDED AGES: 12+ months. Click here to download our easy baby food reference chart to keep track of what foods you can introduce to your baby and when.
PREP TIME: 30 mins
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour
COOLING TIME: Overnight
- 4 cups mashed strawberries (almost 2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (pre-packaged works best)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pectin (preferred brand: Pomona's Universal Pectin)
- 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with Pomona's; not used for other brands)
- Six 8-oz canning jars with lids and screw bands
- Water bath canner with rack
- Jar lifter
- Magnetic wand
- Jar funnel
- Combination ruler/spatula
*Note: You can buy all of these in a set!
- Wash jars, lids and screw bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and drain.
- Place jars on top of the rack at the bottom of the canner. Fill jars with water, and then continue to add water until the jars are covered by 1-2 inches.
- Cover and heat over medium-high for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let jars stand in the water until ready to use.
- Place lids in a saucepot, cover with water and simmer for 10 mins. Do not boil. Let stand in hot water until ready to use.
Prepare the Strawberries
- Wash, hull and mash strawberries.
- Add lemon juice.
- In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin. Mix well.
- Bring the strawberry/lemon juice mixture to a boil.
- Add sugar/pectin mixture and stir well for 1-2 minutes until dissolved.
- Remove from heat.
- Using the rack to raise jars in the canner, remove one jar with the jar lifter.
- Place jar on a wooden cutting board, not on the countertop, to prevent cracking.
- Use the funnel to pack the mixture into the jar.
- Use the ruler to measure the headspace (the distance between the top of the mixture and the top of the jar). The headspace recommended for this recipe is 1/4." Note: Each jam recipe has its own recommended headspace that is specific to its contents, so be sure to check each time you try a new recipe.
- Use the ruler as a spatula now and insert it along the sides between the mixture and the jar to release air bubbles.
- Wipe the jar and rim with a clean, damp cloth to remove any food residue.
- Use the magnetic lid lifter to transfer a lid from the hot water to the center of the jar.
- Twist the screw band around the jar until no more than fingertip tight.
- Repeat this process until all remaining jars are full.
- Place filled jars back into the canner; lower the rack.
- Once all of the jars are in the canner, add water as needed to cover them by 1-2 inches.
- Bring to a rapid boil for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat.
- Use the jar lifter to remove processed jars and place on cutting board.
- Let cool for 4-5 hours.
NOTE: If the lid springs back or makes a popping sound, this means that the jar is not sealed. Refrigerate any unsealed jars immediately and consume within 3 days.
Copyright 2016, Chow Baby! a delicious division of BambiniWare, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
- Riche Holmes Grant