"Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home for there the heart can rest." -Henry Van Dyke

Friday, August 22, 2014

First time canning: Strawberry jam and labels design

I've been wanting to preserve food by canning for the longest time. Being super busy has held me back from devoting time to it. One afternoon I decided to make jam while my daughter took her nap. I have all the supplies, books and there are information all over the web on how to can. Finally, here are my strawberry jam! I won't be giving the recipe for now but I'll share my canning experience. 

I wish to say these were strawberries from my garden but they're not. I bought 2 quarts of organic strawberries. I've been having trouble growing them, crazy I know. Don't ask me why but I didn't have problems before. There are always challenges in the garden one must face, but of course I'll try planting strawberries again next year.

I received this gadget last Christmas. I'm not into collecting little kitchen gadgets but I thought it might come in handy later. It sure did because I saved time and the thing actually works. It's a strawberry huller and I ordered it from Amazon with a gift card. Who wants to spend forever coring strawberries when you have a lot to do? I love shortcuts! Canning takes planning, preparation and time. You can't stop and get interrupted once you begin.
Beautiful sweet strawberries ready for making jam. It's my first time canning and I was careful to follow directions. I wasn't sure how long to cook the jam to reach the gelling point. I tested it for doneness but the jam took a while to set. I ended up overcooking the strawberries…   

The result was firmer than I like but it still tasted good. It's even better with homemade bread! I hear of people having problems with jam that won't gel and being too runny. Mine was the complete opposite! I used a box of commercial pectin for the strawberries because I was following the rules but I decided to skip that next time. There are ingredients in the box that doesn't seem natural to me. I want to minimize ingredients and have organic jam that's far better than store-bought. The goal is delicious flavor without questionable chemicals.

Recently I made blueberry jam without commercial pectin. It was possible but it too
k a long time to gel. For some reason I overcooked my jam again. What a disaster… it became too firm and sticky that it wasn't spreadable! I have plenty to learn about canning. I also want to find recipes that use less sugar. I prefer jams to be a little tart and not excessively sweet that it makes you sick! It's unbelievable how much sugar is needed for making jam. I'll do my research and keep trying to perfect it.  

I had fun creating my own labels. I wanted something cute for our pantry so I used nice scrap paper and designed the border illustration on the tag. I kept the lid label design simple. Since my name is Priscilla, I thought Cilly's Jam was appropriate! :-) Homemade jams are a great idea to give away for Christmas and special occasions. Perhaps I'll sell gift tags and label designs on my future Etsy shop too. I'm planning on starting a craft business from home someday. What do you think of my labels?

"Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will." -Vernon Howard


  1. Your jam looks beautiful Priscilla. Now I am inspired to make some peach jam next week, if the peaches I bought will be ripe by then. We tried growing strawberries this year, but they are not doing all that well. I am with you though, if you can't grow them why not buy them! Can't wait to see what you put up next. I know you will love looking back on this when eating that wonderful jam come winter time.

  2. Your strawberry jam turned out great, Priscilla. And I love your lovely label design.

  3. It looks great! I wish I could actually have some right now. Than k you for sharing your post and inspiring us to make it ourselves too :-)

  4. The jam looks delicious and the labels are perfect. My first few canning attempts I didn't get the set I was looking for either. It takes practice to know exactly when you need to stop...I'm still trying to learn this with certain fruits. Somehow even with a set that is less then perfect homemade jam still tastes better then the store. Good luck with the strawberries I hear that they take three years before really giving a good yield.

  5. Priscilla,

    Can you share your tips for canning foods? Like mine, I did canning for chili paste, but I am not sure how long it will last before expiry date.

    1. I'm new to canning but what I know is home canned foods should be good for at least a year. Always check when you open to make sure there's no mold or bad odor. When in doubt throw it out! :-)


I'm glad you stopped by. I love reading your comments and thank you for taking the time. Have a wonderful day! :-)

♥ Priscilla