09 June 2009

Jam Session

There were a number of extra strawberries to be had at last week's Fair Share Farm pick up. I emailed ahead and ordered 4 quarts and decided to make jam. Then on Saturday at City Market, it seemed like everyone around me was buying rhubarb - everywhere I looked I saw red stalks sticking up out of white plastic bags. I'd never cooked with rhubarb before, but I had been researching rhubarb recipes for a friend and was feeling bold so I bought some.

On Sunday, using my trusty water bath canner from Westlake Hardware, and my Ball Blue Book of Preserving from Planters, I set out to make some jam.

Oh, but first I hunted down pectin. (At the Sunfresh in Westport it's on aisle 10 ... with the pet food ... and automotive materials. ??) Having made jam once before and been absolutely appalled at the unholy amounts of sugar that most recipes call for, I was pleased to find "No Sugar Added Fruit Pectin" - I bought a box of that and one of the original pectin. I know from the canning class I took last year that you can leave out a lot of the sugar and it'll still be okay so I took that route when modifying my recipes.

Strawberry Jam
5 cups of strawberries
1 cup of unsweetened apple or grape juice (I used strawberry juice and water)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 packet of No Sugar Added Pectin
sugar (optional: you could leave it out completely - I added 1 1/2 cups)
YIELD: 4 to 6 (8 oz) half pints

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
2 cups strawberries chopped
2 cups rhubarb chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 packet of pectin
5 1/2 cups of sugar (I only used 3)
YIELD: 4 to 6 (8 oz) half pints

Directions (for both recipes):
1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) COMBINE fruit with lemon juice and sugar (if using) in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Add up to 1/2 tsp butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring frequently.
3.) ADD pectin, immediately squeezing entire contents from pouch. Continue hard boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
4.) LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
5.) PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

In retrospect, I think I shouldn't have tried to have two recipes going at once - I was working fast and I think one batch sat on the back burner too long and I didn't have time to skim the foam blahblahblah. So next time I'm going to try one recipe at a time so I'm not sloshing strawberries all over the kitchen in my mad dash to get my jars filled.

I am definitely not the "lead jammer" - but I'm pretty pleased with how my jam session turned out...

Click HERE to watch the video!


jessica said...

Hats off to you, Emily! Looks delicious! One of my favorite flavor combos of all time!

Seana said...

Thanks Emily! I am super excited to make my own sugar free strawberry rhubarb jam this weekend. I just got more rhubarb in my CSA box, and the stew was interesting but probably not something I'll be making again...I plan on posting about my recent adventures in the world of the newbie CSA cooking very soon. Thanks again for all of your guidance and help.

Seana said...

one question: Your photo shows several jars, how many jars do your strawberry rhubarb jam ingredient amounts yield?

Emily said...

Good question Seana! I'm going to update the post with that info. The recipe says it yields 4 to 6 half pint or 8-ounce jars. Which is about right - I think I ended up with about 2 pints for each recipe. The smaller the jar and the more variety you have, the easier it is to work with since you need to fill each one nearly all the way (meaning, you can't do just half a jar and leave half a jar of air, does that make sense?). It's good to have a variety - a few half pint jars, some quarter pint ones (4 oz), too.

Lindsey Joy said...

LOVE the photo and the video... you're so cute! my great grandma made the best strawberry jam ever, I would love to try canning some day :)