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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.

3 comments:

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.