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.