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Old 05-12-2007, 11:01 AM   #1
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Exclamation ISO help. Two newbie questions on strawberry jam

Ok, so I dove into canning headfirst without my usual tedious research . Went to pick 15# of strawberries and had to put them up asap. I followed directions fairly meticulously but there were a few things I did not know: For one that it takes the jam cooling in order to fully verify your seal. So I was poking about in a panic right after they came out of the water bath. When they cooled most had the vacuum seal (no give or clicky sound at all) but some did not. However, when I pushed these lids IN and they did NOT pop back out. Now they look like the other lids. Are these valid seals or did I help it along and they're really no good? The worst part is that I was NOT paying attention to which of these were poped up in the sea of jars .

I also wanted to know if it's ok that there is condensation on the top of the lids (inside). The jar I opened did make that nice whooshing pop sound but had a few drops of water on the lid.

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm certainly not going to give these jars to anyone if there's a chance it will make them sick or worse .

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Old 05-12-2007, 11:25 PM   #2
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First of all, welcome to DC, Chezmo.

Well, you were certainly ambitious with your strawberry efforts. Whew! Fifteen pounds of the beautiful ruby fruits.

I don't have the answer to your question but, have patience, someone with knowledge of this area of canning will come along and offer help.
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Old 05-13-2007, 08:44 AM   #3
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Miss chezmo...

My guess is that the jars are properly sealed! I would however watch them in the coming days by just looking at them, not pressing the lids.

In the future when canning take the jars out of the hot water bath (or pressure canner) and let them cool naturally. Do not press the lids. They will let you know as each jar seals itself by making a small "ping" sound. Don't be impatient as they will not seal at the same time. Occassionaly for various reasons one will not seal and depending on the item can be reprocessed! Most of them time however in the case of jams and jellies if one does not seal. It goes in the refrigerator and is enjoyed first! Hopes this helps and..

Enjoy!
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:30 PM   #4
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Thanks a ton for your response Uncle Bob! Very helpful indeed
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:15 PM   #5
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Everything Uncle Bob said and a few additional pointers I got from my Mom. She always boiled the jars, lids and rings first. She always said to start hot water bath with cold water just covering the tallest jar. Remove hot jars carefully and allow to cool in a draft free area.

I used to have the job of counting the pops each jar made to confirm the finished batch. Once the jars have cooled we always stored the jars with out the rings. Removing the rings was also a test for jars that didn’t have a good seal. Use a new lid if you reprocess.
Use a clean spoon if you just sample the goods.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:02 PM   #6
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Hey Chezmo,
I have a large hi-producing strawberry patch and want to make jam. Did you use a product such as Sure-Jel? Please tell me how you made yours. I have never made jam before. thank you.
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Old 05-30-2007, 11:14 PM   #7
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Hi Ms. Roxie, Well I am thee most definitely, decidedly LAST person you want telling you how to make jam as my ENTIRE batch went moldy or worse . I did a few things very wrong and I think that taught me more than if I had been lucky and gotten away with it as a first timer. I used Sure-Jel on one batch and Pamona's on another. I believe that these were my foibles:

1) Not long enough processing time with a full boil and enough water covering the top of the jars.
2) I fussed with the lids after they had been processed (tightening).
3) My batches were too large.
4) Tried the low sugar variety right off the bat. It's, in my experience, usually best to stick with a tried and true formula when trying something for the first time (Did I listen to that voice of reason?? Nope).

I think I would also use a real canner/pressure cooker (or whaever) next time because it was really...REALLY painful to lose 15# of strawberries! Just do all of your homework and you will rock the jam! Good luck
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Old 05-31-2007, 01:00 AM   #8
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On a separate thread I asked about how to best utilize and preserve my strawberry patch. Most said pick a product and follow that recipe. The elder females in my family canned and preserved. Although, a handful are still alive, they "can't seem" to remember the process. I have yet to encounter a "pilgrims guide to preserving". Such a simple tradition seems so difficult. Anyway, I'm sorry your batch wasn't great this time. I'm sure between your mistakes, and mine...we will be strawberry experts. I'll keep you posted on my jam and thanks for naming your foibles... I will pay attention to those.
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:18 AM   #9
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Check your library for books on canning. Or eBay. Or your local county extension office. There really is a lot of information out there on canning. I am sure someone will come along with a few links to websites concerning canning. I prefer the book in front of me though.

I also use a sure-gel type product. Mine is made by the Ball canning jar co. and is called Fruit Jell Pectin. Wonderful product. It works beautifully when you follow the enclosed directions.

Good luck.
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:14 AM   #10
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I use sure jell to make jams. I just puree the fruit (strawberries, peaches) to get the amount of fruit called for--usually 4C.
I use clean jars from the dishwasher, boil the lids and rings. Fill jars with hot jam to the top, put on lids and rings and turn over. I don't water process high sugar concentrations like jam.
The seal, in addition to being "pulled down", makes a dull sound when hit with your fingernail, not a "bright" click sound.
For blueberry or blackberry jelly, I boil the fruit and strain out the seeds. Blueberries make a great syrup--add sugar to the juice and boil to the syrup stage, just short of the jell stage.
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