Friday, July 22, 2011

Strawberry Jam Using Apples and Citrus for Pectin

A good friend of mine found this recipe and inspired me to try it. It was a great recipe, but I had a really hard time figuring out some of the nuances (specifically the "mounding up") because there weren't any pictures! Oh pictures, how I love thee! ;)

However, please read the recipe and its post first before going through my post about it. She knows a lot more about canning and making this jam than I do. I pretty much just say the same thing she did, but with pictures. :)

So, for 8 cups (approximately) of strawberry jam, you need:
-5 tart apples (the tarter the more pectin they contain)
-1 lemon or lime
-8 cups strawberries, after removing the ends and roughly chopping them
-5 1/2 cups sugar

Remove the stem and blossom ends of the apples. Chop the rest of the apple coarsely (including the core and seeds!). Finely chop the entire lemon or lime, doing nothing but rinsing it off (yes, you want the peel and seeds!). Toss these into a pot and add just enough water to keep them from sticking to the pot. Don't stress about adding "too much" water because you can boil off any extra.
 Boil for about 20 minutes or until everything is nice and soft. (While you're boiling the apples and lemon, you'll want to prepare your strawberries, but I'll include those pictures later to keep the post less confusing.)
Once they're nice and soft and starting to look like applesauce, dump the apple mixture into a fine-mesh sieve and force the mixture into a bowl. All the peels and seeds and rough stuff should stay in the sieve. You should get about 2 cups of puree.

Now, while you're cooking the apple mixture, prep your jars and strawberries. I boiled my jars and lids since it had been a while since I had washed my jars.
 I took the tops off the strawberries, cut them into chunks...
 And threw them into the blender. I did this because I cannot stand chunks of fruit in my jam. I like smooth jam. If you don't mind chunks, then just roughly chop the strawberries.
Throw your strawberries, apple puree, and sugar into a large (deep is recommended) pot. The original post says that the mixture will foam a lot, but I haven't found that to be true. Maybe because I puree the strawberries? (Note: I've only made the recipe twice.)
 Turn your stove onto medium heat and stir the mixture frequently. Once it reaches boiling, let it boil for about 20 minutes, still stirring frequently (if not more frequently!). Be careful of splashing jam! That stuff is like hot lava! :-/ The mixture should thicken and "mound up" on a spoon. That was the hard part for me to figure out.
 Does this count as mounding up? I think it does. Both times I have made the jam, I let it get to this point (second time I let it go a bit longer) and they seem equally set to me.
 Once I liked what I saw, I took the jam off the stove and poured it into my now dry, but still hot, jars (this is half the recipe pictured).
 Now you're going to process the jars in a water bath. I'm no canning expert, trust me, but it's pretty simple: put the lids on the jars and tighten them (but not super tight!), put them in a deep pot on a rack (or something to keep them off of the bottom of the pot), cover with water to at least 1 inch deeper than the lids of the jars, and bring the water to a boil. Let them boil for 10 minutes and then sit for another 5 (this last bit is not necessary, but prevents any hot jam from "spitting" out of an over-filled jar--I've never had it happen, but it sounds like a good idea to keep it from happening).
 Pull your jars out and let them sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place (or at least out of direct sunlight) for 24 hrs. If after 24 hrs, one or more of the lids hasn't "popped in" then you'll need to keep that jar in the fridge. Enjoy!
We went through 4 8oz jars of jam in about 5 weeks. Our little 3 person family. Yeah, we love this stuff. The second time I made the jam, I used a lime rather than a lemon and the jam seems to have a bitter after-taste to me. It's not bad, it just makes the jam not quite as wonderful as the first time. I doubt that this would be the case with every lime, we must have just gotten a bitter one. :-/


1 comment:

  1. I'm going to have to try this--I love homemade strawberry jam!