Just a little ole working gal, who loves food

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strawberry Jam...sort of.

So I tried to make Strawberry Jam. I thought...well...this should be easy right? I searched online and a lot of people were saying to just follow the recipe on the pectin package you buy at the grocery store. But have you seen this recipe?? 5 cups of strawberry's takes 7 cups of sugar. 7 CUPS!! I had no idea that much sugar went into jam. And it scared me! So I tried to modify...and well..it tastes pretty good...but is a little on the runny side. Spreadable..but goopy. Maybe it did need the 7 cups of sugar after all.
First you will need your supplies. You will need some mason jars with lids and seals, a very large canning pot (I have a dutch oven) and a large pot to cook down the strawberry's.
You will need to sanitize your jars. You can throw them in your dishwasher in the sanitize cycle or you can boil the jars for 15 minutes (covered in at least 1 inch of water). That's what I did. While they are boiling you can start the jam as the jars HAVE to be hot when you fill them. While you are at it place the lids(these are the flat disks) in hot (not boiling) water as well to warm the seals on them.
Following the directions on the pectin package, wash and hull strawberry's and mash 5 cups of them (I made sure I had 5 cups already mashed...I wanted my jam extra fruity)
Here is my package of pectin...maybe for my next batch I will use a package and a half. Also juice about 3 lemons. You won't taste the lemon juice but apparently it helps with the foaming when boiling. My strawberry's still foamed like crazy but whatever...I don't taste the lemon.
Add pectin and lemon juice to the strawberry's and heat up on high.
At this point you are to add your 7 cups of sugar. I did 2 cups plus a 500g jar of honey (I am pretty sure this was the culprit in making my jam runny. I should have done more research before starting this process!)
Added it to the strawberry's and started stirring, making sure all the sugar was dissolved.
Now the package said that once the jam came to a rolling boil, I should let it boil for 1 minute than remove from the heat. Mistake here again...because I substituted the honey for sugar I should have boiled it longer to allow the 'gel' to form. Kicking myself now! To test for 'gel' take a spoon and dip it in the jam. Run a finger down the back of the spoon and it should be geletin like instead of watery. Mine was kinda inbetween but I thought it might gel more once it cooled down. WRONG! lol.
Skim off the foam before jarring the jam with a stainless steel spoon. I don't have pictures of the next steps because I was alone and had only 2 hands (but when I make this again I totally will). Carefully remove the jars from the hot water and fill with jam using a ladle and funnel. There is a tool you can buy to safely remove jars from hot water...but I didn't bother (d'oh!) to get one...so I used a Teflon oven mitt to pull the jars out. No burns but definitely not safe!
Once all your jars are filled with jam place the lids that were in the hot water on the jar and screw on the seals.
Return all your jars to the boiling water and boil for about 10-15 minutes. The pectin package will advise the amount of time according to your altitude.
Safely remove the jars from the boiling water slowly. Try not to tip the jars to disturb the contents. Set aside for 24 hours...in the next while you should hear the lids popping from the air being sucked out of them! This will help keep your jam longer (I think the package read 3-6 months)
I printed some cute labels for the jars and voila...homemade runny jam! Tastes wonderful in my oatmeal and with strawberry vanilla scones (recipe to come this week!).

Moral of this Jam making adventure:

If you are substituting ingredients make sure you do your research on cooking times!

Make sure you buy all the right tools to safely make the jam!

Make sure you eat as many strawberry's as possible while making the jam...
they are so amazing this time of year!

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