Homemade Jam with the Kids – in 10 easy steps!

So we went strawberry picking in the summer and I made jam for the very first time. Not to toot my own horn, but it was amazing.

We ran out of our last jar this week and strawberries were on sale, so I decided today would be a great day to make more jam! Homeschooling at it’s best.

Honestly, I think I might have been born in the wrong era. Pretty sure I belong in the 30’s as a little housewife in an apron making jam and bread while tending to the kiddies (oh, right….I made bread today too).

Here’s what we did and how we did it:

– 8 jam jars with lids
– two containers of strawberries
– potato masher
– large pot
– small pot
– oven
– LOTS of sugar
– lemon juice
– liquid pectin

pre-jam set up

Wash and core the strawberries. Then proceed to give toddler and preschooler knives to cut up strawberries for you (which they will end up eating, which is fine…they feel like they are helping you and that’s the important part, right??).

Cruz cutting strawberries

Heat oven to 225 degrees F. Place jars in the oven for 10 minutes then turn the oven off. This will sterilize them and keep them warm until the filling process. Keeping them warm will help them seal.

That one guy wouldn’t stay standing!

Boil water in the small pot. Place the lids in the pot and let boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let them remain in the water until you are ready to use them. You can let the kids help by letting them drop the lids into the water themselves. This is also a great lesson in hot versus cold or water turning from a liquid to a gas as steam.

Lids getting ready to boil

Put the strawberries in the large pot a few at a time. Using the potato masher, mash the up! Then give the masher to the kids and let them have a shot at mashing.

Avery giving the mashing a go. On the carpet 🙂

Once you have crushed all the strawberries, measure them out to ensure you have 3 3/4 cups. You must have this amount or it may throw off the recipe! Add them back to the pot with the following:
– 1/4 cup of lemon juice
– 7 cups of white sugar (wow…that’s right)

The kids have fun with this part. Use it to teach math or to compare how much sugar is in the pot versus how much of the strawberries (I was surely shocked!).

Stir, stir stir and bring to a boil on high heat. Once it is a rolling boil, like this picture, boil for 1 more minute.

A rolling boil!

Pull the pot off the heat and add the liquid pectin.

Stir continuously for 5 minutes. Have the kids take turns. When it’s your turn, skim off the foamy part, as you can see here.

Pour directly into the warmed jars (use gloves!). Be sure to leave a 1/4 inch room at the top for the jars to seal properly.

Place the lids one and screw tight!

Let jars sit for 20-30 minutes on a cooling rack. Then poke the top and you will hear a POP (this is the BEST job for the kids!). This pop will seal the lids and the lid will be indented as a sign the seal worked.

After an hour or two you will notice the thickening of the jam inside the jar. The jam will be good to eat! These can store in the pantry for up to a year, but ours get eaten and given to family and friends long before that ever happens.