strawberry jam, a new way
My friend Jane got really into jam making as well as anything that goes in a glass jar the last few years. She suggested I try to make strawberry jam this year without pectin. In all honesty, pectin makes making jam pretty damn easy. Pectin also insures that the jam gels. After some pondering, I went with Jane's suggestion.
Here is the thing with this, not a simple activity. For every cup of strawberries, I used half a cup of sugar.
To get to the 10 jars that I made, here was my recipe.
12 cups of strawberries, with the tops sliced off
6 cups of sugar
1 whole lemon for juice.
Put the strawberries and sugar in a large pot. Larger than you think because when the mixture boils, it rises and the thought of strawberry jam boiling over onto your stove is a nightmare. Mix together the sugar and strawberries, smash this a bit with a potato masher and let stand for a few hours. I let mine stand for about two hours.
After standing put the heat on high and when this mixture finally gets to a rolling boil then let it boil for five minutes, stirring constantly even before it begins to boil. You don't want the sugar to burn. Once the five minutes is up, strain the mixture into a large bowl letting the juices separate from the berries. This can stand for a few minutes to make sure all the juices strain. Save the berries.
Take the juice and put it back in the pot and bring to a boil again. Here is the hard part. My pot was not short enough for a candy thermometer so I had to use hand mitts, hold the candy thermometer in one hand and constantly mix with the other. You want the candy thermometer to read between 200-220 before taking this off the heat. It takes awhile.
Once the heat hits 200/220, take the berries in the strainer and add it back to the juice. Bring this to a rolling boil again while continuing to stir. A rolling boil means the mixture is boiling even while you mix. Once is at rolling boil, turn off the heat.
Then using a ladle, fill each jar. Seal the jars in a water bath. Voila. Jane was right, this is really good and it gels. Might have to make more next weekend and some blueberry jam too!