Strawberry Jam and a New Gadget

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I have never made jam. Probably because I’m not a toast eater. I’ve made savory fruit-based jellies and sauces and chutneys and compotes and so forth, but never jam.

A while back I spotted an automatic jam and jelly maker, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The electric appliance is made by Ball, which is well known for its canning equipment, so I finally bought the darn thing. Like so many other gadgets in my house, it sat around and gathered dust for a while. But just a short while.

With strawberries in season, and the fact that I probably love strawberry jam more than any other kind, I decided that it was time to make strawberry jam, and test out this gadget.

It’s Ball FreshTech Model FTJM-12-01, to be specific, pictured below, priced at $99 USD or less on Amazon.
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I had purchased strawberries but about the time I got around to rinsing them off and removing the blemishes, I ended up with 1 1/2 pounds.

One interesting fact in the manual: Don’t use a food processor to crush the fruit, because a food processor can break down the fruit’s natural pectin, preventing a good set. Interesting.

There are very few photos of the jam-making process, because it went so fast. Before I knew it, I had made jam! So here’s exactly what I did.

The jam and jelly maker will allow twice as much of the volume of jam made, or 3 pounds of fruit, but using any more than that can cause the jam maker not to function optimally.
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Strawberry Vanilla Jam

1 1/2 pound cleaned strawberries, hulled, halved
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 tablespoons pectin, dried form
1/4 teaspoon butter*
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon white sugar

Have the strawberries in a large bowl. Crush the strawberries; I used my pastry cutter. I wanted my jam more like preserves, so I left the strawberries on the chunky side.


Cut the vanilla bean in half crosswise and save the half not used. With the other half, slice it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add them to the strawberries. Stir the berries to incorporate the vanilla beans. Now you’re ready to begin.

Place the pectin in the base of the jam maker. The pectin I used is shown above. Add the strawberrrymixture to the jam maker. Top with the dab of butter.

That’s it! Turn it on and it will, by default, start at 21 minutes. It begins turning and mixing the ingredients. After 4 minutes, you’ll hear 4 faint beeps, and that is the time to lift the lid and add the sugar.

Return the lid to the jam maker, and wait till the remaining 17 minutes is up!
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Remove the lid, and carefully remove the stirrer. You can use the handles on the jam maker to hold the pot because they don’t conduct heat, which is nice.

Let the jam cool, then spoon into clean jars. It goes without saying that every piece of equipment should be clean.

My recipe made about 12 ounces. I’m going to freeze one – 8 ounce jar of jam, and save the rest for some other purpose.

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Amazingly, the jam is the perfect texture. It’s nice and thick, with strawberry chunks, and tiny vanilla beans visible.

I’m not sure the vanilla does much for this jam, but it was a fun addition.

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I can’t wait to play more with this gadget. I am very impressed, to say the least! Unless you want to can your jam or jelly, it’s pretty much a 30 minute process!

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* This is very interesting, but a little dab of butter will prevent foam from forming at the top of the jam. In fact, I had none when my jam had completed its processing.

36 thoughts on “Strawberry Jam and a New Gadget

  1. What an interesting gadget – I don’t think it’s made it’s way across the pond to Australia yet, though. I love to make small batches of jam, but thanks for the tip about the butter – I had no idea!

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  2. Guess what, I made strawberry jam today!!! Such a beautiful coincidence :) I’m always making jam and it never occurred to me that there could be jam making gadgets. I bet the industrial ones are like this but huge. xx

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  3. What a nifty wee gadget, haven’t seen it in theses here parts as of yet. I have made jam once or twice but Mum makes such nice preserves, I tend to be a tad lazy and rely on her for the good stuff! Your jam looks delicious.

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    • Mum sounds like a fabulous source of ja! One reason I’ve never made it is because it seems like you have to make so much. This gadget does allow one to make a small amount. I think we’ve only used it to top yogurt!

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  4. Welcome to the world of jam! There’s a whole world of flavor options that await you. I love making strawberry-basil jam and my husband’s favorite is my strawberry-balsamic. Both can be used in typical jam applications, but are perfect accompaniments to any grilled meat or for dropping into a homemade vinaigrette. For the basil, just add 1/4c finely minced fresh (NOT dried) basil and for the balsamic, add 2 Tbsp good aged balsamic vinegar. Either way, mix the additions right at the end of the processing before you place into jars. Can’t wait to see what other fruits you preserve!

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  5. Well that sounds easy enough. I’m not sure if I want to tell my husband about this gadget though because he’ll go nuts buying berries and we’ll end up with a 10 year supply of jam. His favorite is blackberry and I remember one summer he took my daughter picking. They came home with 14 lbs. of very ripe blackberries! Before I got to the jam though we got hit with a hurricane that took our power out for 3 days and I ended up with a kitchen full of fruit flies. It was so hot that the berries went bad and he went back for more berries…he was very determined but I threatened him to not bring home 14 lbs. They only came back with 10 lbs. of berries on that trip.

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