Sunday, May 23, 2010


How often do you eat jam or jelly?

If you have kids in the house (or at least a kid at heart) the answer is probably "pretty often." In the Rational Living household the girls eat some form of peanut butter sandwiches nearly every day - by choice, I might add. It could be PB&H(oney) or PB&J(am) but either way they are a house favorite.

During WWII jams and jellies were rationed under the blue/green point system, with the exception of citrus-based marmalades. Typically ranging from 14 to 16 points per 16oz jar, a daily PB&J habit for a family with multiple children could quickly eat away over one-third of a household's blue/green point allotment.

Lucky for us, last summer I canned several jars of cherry and peach jam (I also put up some jalapeno jelly but for some reason it isn't considered PB&J material). At the time we didn't know we would be rationing within a few months (how historically accurate of us) so this surplus has been a lucky break. And so this year I'm determined to again can several batches of jam/jellies to get us through the remaining rationing period.

Since you need either fresh or frozen fruit to make jam we are very limited in what options will be available, but this week locally-grown strawberries began flooding the farmer's market. Let the jammin' begin!

This weekend I made the first batch of the season: strawberry-ginger jam. Unusual combination? Yes. Heavenly? Most definitely. I won't go into the nitty-gritty of how to can (there are plenty of websites, such as Moo Said the Mama, which offer great tutorials on the basics of canning), but I will share the super-simple recipe I used.

4 lbs fresh strawberries
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 heaping tsp ginger powder

  • Remove the green tops of strawberries and crush enough strawberries so that you have 4 cups full.
  • Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and ginger in a large, heavy pot and stir over medium-low heat.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved turn the heat up to high, stir frequently and bring mixture to a rolling boil.
  • Keep at a rolling boil for 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Ladle strawberry jam into hot, sterilized canning jars.
  • Wipe rims and add lids/rings.
  • Process with boiling-water method for 15 minutes.
  • Carefully remove jars and place on cabinet - leave undisturbed for 24-48 hours until seals have set.
Don't forget to find a volunteer to help you clean out the pot!
This recipe made four and a half jelly jars and doesn't use any additional pectin, so it is a very manageable canning project for the beginner. It's absolutely delicious and I plan to make at least one more batch while local strawberries are still available.

Oh, and if you like to think (and eat) outside of the box...microwave a portion of the jam in the microwave for 20 seconds and pour it over all-natural vanilla ice cream. Pure joy!

--Rational Mama


  1. I love that you don't have to add in any additional pectin!!!

    And thanks for the mention. :)

  2. I made some rhubarb-ginger-strawberry 'jam' this weekend. Eating it with leftover ricotta on toasted bagels...YUM.