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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Strawberries and Whine

The alpine strawberries have been so gung ho lately that there was a glut of two-thirds of a cup of them all ripe at the same time.

That's enough for a micro-batch of jam, I thought to myself.  The pan I had in mind when I picked them would have been the right size, but it's not non-reactive, so when jam making time came today, I grabbed a stainless steel one, which had a much larger surface area.  This turned out to be key.

Now, I followed this little project on the heels of a successful batch of sixteen half-pints of blackberry jam, courtesy of Larry and Kathy again.  Boy, when they over pick and buy a batch of berries, they do it in a big way.  It turns out that all they needed was three cups for their freezer jam.  When I measured the remainder they brought to me, it was four quarts!  And I was out of half-pint jars, so I had to run out to Safeway to buy more.  Twenty-four dollars later I was back at the house, making and canning jam.  I use a four to three ratio of fruit to sugar, and cook it in my biggest pot, which is my stock pot, until it hits anywhere from 220 to 222F on a candy thermometer.  Which reminds me to tell you that later when he was drying up the dishes for me, Steve said, "What a sad commentary it is on the state of things when thermometers are marked for cooking crack."

Anyway, since this is the second time in a row of successfully making jam with low pectin fruit, I felt pretty sure of myself with the little batch of alpine strawberries. Everything was going fine until I poured it from the pan into the jar, when I noticed that I'd probably made strawberry candy, which, as it turned out, I did.

The jam is a little stiff coming out of the jar, but it's still pretty darn good on bread with butter.


Toni aka irishlas said...

Oh boy, I've done that! And only with strawberry! You're right - it's a little hard, but, still edible.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

So wait, I'm confused...why did it get so hard? Because you cooked it for too long at too high a heat? Did you use any pectin at all or was the high heat in place of any pectin?
I just made a batch of strawberry jam, but I like less sweet jam, so I used low sugar pectin and less white sugar and only cooked it for about a minute while once it was roiling boiling.
Anyway, the only thing that matters is that it's good on bread with butter. :-)

Paula said...

I cooked it too long! I don't use pectin- just sugar. If you cook sugar too long you get candy! Or stinky carbon, if you REALLY cook it too long.