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Quick Strawberry Jam Help Needed for First-time Jam Maker, Please ....

  • MMRuth Jul 30, 2009 11:11 AM
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So, I was watching Ina Garten yesterday and was inspired to make her strawberry jam.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

I had some beautiful, but ripe strawberries from the Farmer's Market, so I combined them with some regular strawberries that weren't as ripe. I've been cooking away and the liquid is, well, still pretty liquidy. I've tested once using the plate in the freezer method. So, should I just keep cooking, should I add some more strawberries, or something else?

This is my first attempt, so I figure it's a learning experience - any tips at this point welcome. I did read through that ChrisVR thread from a while back.

Thanks!

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  1. Two other "facts":

    The mixture is currently at about 200 degrees F.
    I have some pinkish foam on top, which I suspect is not a good thing. Maybe I've got it on too high a flame?

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      MMR:

      Good luck with the jam. I made some plum jam last year and had the same dilemma - was it thick enough? I kept cooking and cooking and found that after it cooled, the jam was VERRRRY thick and sticky.

      Earlier this week, I made some plum jam and cooked it until it was still a bit runny. This seemed to work fine and the jam has a good consistency. IMHO I'd rather have it be a bit runny than gummy. I think I had foam on my jam as well so you shouldn't worry.

      1. re: oakjoan

        Thanks - I went ahead and put it in the jars just a minute ago. We'll see. It does seem awfully sweet to me. I'm not actually "preserving" these - just sticking them in the fridge, but I did sterilize the jars. I'm just so nervous about "canning", but it's my next project!

        1. re: MMRuth

          I know about canning nerves. I found mold in the jam I made last year after a few months, but most of it got used up. This year I sterilzed the jars and sealed them and am hoping for a longer shelf life.

          The best part about making my own jam is that I can use a little less sugar. I really love the tartness of jam, especially plum.

          Two of my cousins make great jam and one makes the queen of jams, marmalade. Some day I'm going to try that.

          1. re: oakjoan

            So, last year you didn't sterilize and/or seal the jars? My sister lives in Southern Virginia and her "aunt-in-law" is very into "putting up" - I should get some tips from her. I guess that jams are one of the safest things to do b/c of the high sugar content?

            1. re: MMRuth

              Wanted to add - I sterilized the jars in the oven, which I would suspect is a lot easier than boiling them. Do you have "specialized" equipment? I'm wondering if I can jerry-rig my stock pot ....

      2. re: MMRuth

        It should be closer to 220 degrees. (When I made strawberry jam last week, it seemed to stop at about 215-217, so I just decided that was enough). Also, try adding a couple tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar -- it really makes the flavor pop.

        __________________________
        http://www.savour-fare.com

      3. This is probably too late but....
        Foam is OK, it gets skimmed off at the end. In the recipe you provided it says to boil slowly, but all the methods I've used say to boil quickly. There is a point where jam will become taffy if it is cooked too long. With my past less than successful attempts I've stored them in the fridge and used them anyway.
        Good luck!!!

        Here is a link to the National Center for Home Preservation - a good general resource for jam & jelly making.

        http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_07/p...

        7 Replies
        1. re: toastnjam

          Hmm - I guess foam gets skimmed off the end if you know to skim it off? (grin). I'll post about the results when I give it a try. Thanks for the link - and I guess I should get a copy of the Ball book.

          Oh - in some of my searching, I came across a "CHOW" piece that referenced these jars:

          http://housewares.about.com/od/cannin...

          Oh so chic! I'm not so into the little fruit pictures on my lids!

          1. re: MMRuth

            MMRuth- Get the Ball book of Home Preserving, it got me over my fear of canning. I have done jams, chutneys and pickles.

            1. re: cassoulady

              Thanks. Here's the link to the CHOW article:

              http://www.chow.com/stories/10547

              I now covet these.

              1. re: MMRuth

                They are CUTE , I have seen them at the hardware store near my office. I cant justify buying more jars as I have tons of empty ones still.

                1. re: cassoulady

                  I'm going to have to take a look at some stores here in NYC to see if I can find them. BTW - my husband tasted some of the "syrup" that I had left over from putting the jam in the jars and loved it, so, even if this jam is not perfect, I think I'll have someone willing to eat it.

                2. re: MMRuth

                  Check these out. http://www.weckcanning.com/

                  Lovely but unaffordable.

                3. re: cassoulady

                  I agree, the Ball Books are great for teaching you about the fundamentals of home preserving - sterilizing jars, head space, gel stage etc and I have both, but for some reason I've never used many of recipes in them. I have, however, just picked up a copy of Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber from the library and there are a number of recipes I want to try in it, like Blackberry & Peach Jam and Strawberry with Pinot Noir & Spices.

                  I covet those jars too but they are hard to find in my neck of the woods.

            2. I've made jam for sometime now. The first batch I made, was Sana Rosa plum jam and it was the most glorious ruby color. After making jam, seeing how easy it is to make, not to mention how wonderful it tastes, I still make my own. Even if it's a few jars, I'll make it.

              I have always used the hot water bath method. After their bath, I listen for the little pop, let them sit out, and then store it. The jam is good to go. At the moment in my fridge, I have some fresh peaches, I've removed the skin and stones and I was thinking about making either a couple of peach pies... but no, peach jam seems to be exactly right..

              1. A follow up question - I made another recipe for strawberry jam the same weekend:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2784...

                The colour is stunning and people have raved about the taste. I'm going to make it again today, using a little bit less sugar. I tasted some that I had in the fridge, and some of the strawberries had an unpleasant gummy quality to them. I'd appreciate any thoughts as to what might cause that. Thanks!