Thank You Sure Jell for A Unique Jam!

I’m a big believer in the importance of eating foods in season as much as possible. There are some proven health benefits to this practice. But beyond health, foods in season just taste better, don’t you think? A tomato in January just doesn’t compare to a vine-ripened tomato in July, right?

American poet, James Wright was spot on when he said, “I have eaten the first fruit of the season, and I am in love.” Isn’t this perfect praise for the jewels of spring and summer? And one of the best ways we can hang onto the taste of the season is to preserve those wonderful fruits.

My chef son, Paul, recently reminisced about how, when he was a kid, he’d pull a bag of frozen cherries from the freezer and munch on them when he was in the garage in the early morning hours rolling papers for his daily paper route. All of our kiddos have expressed gratitude for the experience of being raised on home-preserved foods and have special memories related to them.

Another favorite: strawberries. What better way to make sure their flavor lingers through the long cold winter months, than to be able to enjoy some delicious jam on your homemade bread?

And so it’s that time again…the first fruits of the season are upon us, and thoughts are turning to ripe strawberries and jam-making. And as I was studying the SURE-JELL pectin box I found their website,

It’s a helpful site. You’ll find lots of great recipes as well as tried-and-true tips on how to make award-winning jams and jellies, along with the fascinating history of the company.

The year was 1912. Scientist, Robert Douglas, had been performing research in fruit chemistry, when it finally happened. Pectin was extracted. Later he found that when added to fruit juices, pectin greatly shortened the time of jam and jelly making. The rest is history, as they say.

Since then, SURE-JELL has continued Douglas’ research and has even improved jam-making techniques. For instance, most of us would like to eliminate that extra step of boiling jars when making jam and jelly. SURE-JELL found an alternative: the inversion method. They suggest that when filling your jam jars, simply make sure the hot fruit mixture is immediately poured into scalded jars, covered, and inverted for 5 minutes, then turn upright. After jars are cool, check seals.

Not only does SURE-JELL continue to work on better jam-making methods, they continue to develop tasty and unique jam and jelly recipes. A good example is their Strawberry Banana Jam. I’d never considered using bananas in jam-making before, but I discovered it’s a great idea. Thank you Sure Jell for a delicious and unique jam! Let’s give this recipe a try and report back.

Strawberry Banana Jam

Yield: 8 1-cup jars


4 3/4 cups prepared fruit (about 2 quarts fully ripe strawberries and 3 fully ripe medium bananas)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 3/4 cups sugar
1 box Sure Jell fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter

Stem and thoroughly crush strawberries, 1 layer at a time. Measure 3 ¼ cups into 6- or 8-quart saucepot. Mash bananas thoroughly. Measure 1 ½ cups; add to saucepot. Stir in lemon juice.

Measure sugar into separate bowl. Stir fruit pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter. Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in all sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle quickly into hot sterilized jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Invert jars 5 minutes, then turn upright. After jars are cool, check seals. Yield: about 8 (1-cup) jars.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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