My last trial of strawberry jam, I actually followed someone else’s recipe. Katharine from Allrecipes had her version of strawberry jam, and it followed a few others, so I tried it. I like that it doesn’t have pectin. However, it was WAY too sweet. Next year, when I make it, I will use less sugar. It means more processing time in order to get it set up, but I might just add some homemade pectin, too. I’ll see what the year brings.
In all of my trying new recipes, I came across a recipe that called for lemon rind in the strawberry jam. I found it intriguing, so I added lime to my strawberry jam. I used apple pectin, because I was in a hurry to get them done, but next year I’m going to use citrus pectin. It makes much more sense to keep citrus with citrus.
- 5 cups crushed strawberries (about 5 lbs)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 3 cups sugar (more, to taste. I don’t like super-sweet jam)
- zest from 1 lime
- apple pectin (amount varies by product)
- Combine strawberries and lime juice in saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer.
- Add a cube at a time of frozen apple pectin. Test the pectin level by placing 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol in a small bowl and adding a few drops of your simmered fruit. A low-pectin mixture creates little strings of pectin while a high pectin mixture will form a single little blob. since we haven’t added the sugar yet, we don’t quite need the blob, but we definitely want it to hold its shape pretty well.
- Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 3 minutes, stirring constantly (I have to turn my stove down slightly). Remove from heat.
- Pour hot jam into jars. Jams usually need 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. place heated lid onto jar, and spin on a ring.
- Water-bath process for 15 minutes (10 for sea-level).
I’ve been experimenting with different preservation techniques over the past few years. I’m not really a jam/jelly fan, and I think it is because of all of the corn included in commercial pectin. I know there are other sources for pectin, and I have heard good reviews, but I haven’t purchased any yet. For now, I’m trying recipes that don’t call for pectin or using homemade pectin. The nice thing about preserves is that they are cooked down, so that they don’t require additional pectin to set up. And preserves just sound fancy. The drawbacks to preserves are that it 1) takes WAY more time (1-2 days!) and 2) the longer you cook a fruit, the more you break down the nutritional benefits within the fruit. I guess it’s a toss-up. less sugar and corny ingredients. More nutritional breakdown.
That’s why you make some of each, right?
I haven’t opened the jars yet, but they sure look purdy.
- 3 lbs rinsed and hulled strawberries
- 2-5 cups sugar (to taste. I like mine less sweet. It does make it a softer set, though)
- 1/3 c strained fresh lemon juice [bottled has more consistent Ph, but I can’t have the sulfur preservatives]
- Layer the strawberries and sugar in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 3 hrs.
- Transfer strawberries and sugar in 6-8 qt saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, being careful to not break up the fruit. Cook until sugar dissolves.
- Add lemon juice [I had to add the lemon juice before the sugar dissolved because it was just caramelizing the sugar. I think my strawberries were too fresh]. Bring to boil and cook to jelly stage220°, approximately 30 minutes
- Pour into cake pan. Let stand uncovered in cool place for 12-24 hrs.
- Return to saucepan and bring fruit and syrup to a boil.
- Remove from heat, skim foam. Immediately fill hot sterile ½ pt jars leaving ¼” head-space. Carefully remove trapped air bubbles with non-metallic tool (I use the end of a plastic spoon. You can also use a chopstick or canning knife
- Wipe jars clean, add lids and rings, and process in water-bath for 10 minutes [5 minutes at sea-level].
I didn’t get nearly as many strawberries as I wanted to, this year. By the time I realized I wouldn’t be moving “any day,” most of the strawberries were already gone. and there was that time I waited too long when I HAD purchased some strawberries and I had to throw most of them away. We won’t get into how happy THAT made me. Especially because my brother saw the boxes of strawberries and said I must really love him to have bought that many, and if I weren’t his sister he’d think I was intending some romantic gesture. For my not-so-affectionate little bro, that’s huge.
I did get some strawberries in the freezer, and I dehydrated a TON (That somehow only filled 1/2 a gallon bag. Seriously, if my little miss didn’t like them so much, I wouldn’t do them. But she won’t each much fruit, so the fact that she loves dehydrated strawberries makes them totally worth the work).
The rest of the strawberries turned into strawberry preserves and strawberry jam. I am experimenting this year, so I tried a few different recipes.