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Jun 26, 2006 04:33 AM

Strawberry Jam Sans Pectin??

I have some almost over-the-top and down the other side strawbs that are verrrrry good. Want to make jam but have no pectin. Is it possible to make a sort of jammish deal by cooking the berries with some sugar and then freezing? It won't, of course, hold together like jam, but it'll be spreadable and good, no?

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  1. You can make a jam which will set by adding lemon juice which is very high in pectin. It also adds a bright note to the strawberries. You can make a spreadable preserve by cooking down the strawberries with sugar. I just did this with my strawberries using a recipe from epicurious for strawberry preserves with balsamic vinegar and black pepper - absolutely delish. Sorry I don't know how to list the link but you can find it easily by searching on the keywords. The preserves are definitely runny, I like to drip them over cheese which the epicurious recipe suggests.

    If you cook the berries down a lot you'll get a thick semi-solid jam which will set but has a different taste and texture from jam with pectin.

    1. I did not know about the pectin in Lemons- Apples are a very good source. The strawberry flavor would def' dominate and you would prob' have a better yield since you should not have to cook the apple /strawbery mixture quite so far down to thicken it.
      Let us know!

      1. I've never successfully made strawberry jam without pectin - perhaps it can be done - but I make strawberry syrup intentionally every year. Just mash them with sugar and a little lemon juice, maybe some lemon zest, heat, skim and can. It is my favorite on pancakes, also good on ice cream, pound cake.

        1. I've never used pection for strawberry jam; I try to avoid added pection in most jams, as I think it tends to make jam rubbery. I use the method found in any of Helen Witty's books, or Christine Ferbinger. You let the strawberries sit in sugar (and a little lemon juice) overnight, then cook first the syrup, then the strawberries briefly. The flavor will be clear and bright.

          2 Replies
          1. re: curiousbaker

            Yes! Don't overcook the strawberries, My recollection of Helen Witty is equal parts sugar and strawberries and juice of a lemon (I add a tiny pinch of salt)--macerate overnight, cook everything for 1 minute of rapid boil. Separate the berries from the syrup. Wait another day. Cook they syrup for 3 minutes hard, and then add the berries for one more minute at a boil and put in jars. Maybe a little loose but not rubbery and an incredibly fresh strawberry flavor.

            1. re: Carnitas

              That's right - both you and PBSF have got it. I forgot the extra boil. This method is used for lots of different fruits, including strawberries, peaches and apricots, and sometimes there's that extra boil, sometimes there isn't. But it's really the way to go. Nothing else can touch this jam for flavor.

              Try adding a little high-quality balsamic vinegar and just a few peppercorns-worth of ground pepper to the strawberry jam. It will knock you off your feet.

          2. I've always made strawberry jam without pectin. But you have to use enough sugar, not the new trend toward tart low sugar spreads. The process seems long but involves little work. Because you're cooking the berries only briefly, this process gives the jam a beautiful color and good fresh strawberry flavor. Don't try to increase the recipe because it will take too long to cook the jam. The recipe is adapted from one of Helen Witty's book.
            1/2 flat (6 old-fashioned size baskets)strawberries
            2 1/2# sugar
            juice of 2 lemons
            Leave the berries whole if small or cut them in halves or quarters if large. Gently fold the berries with the sugar and lemon juice in a flat non aluminum pan. Let stand for about 12 hours (longer is ok), give it an occasional mix.
            Cook the mixture over high heat, stirring occasionally to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes.
            Pour back into the shallow pan and let it sit another 6 hours or so.
            Drain the berries and cook the liquid until it pass the jelly stage, 220*. Return the berries to the boiling liquid and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
            Process the jars. Makes about 5 pints.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PBSF

              I can't get the berries hotter than abotu 214 degrees. I've got it on my hottest burner, turned up as high as it goes, and the candy thermometer still says 214. I'm stirring frequently, but I'm afraid not to in case it burns. Any advice?