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Jam, as in strawberry jam

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ChrisFlanders View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 August 2012 at 07:18

What's a good breakfast without homemade jam? My daily breakfast is mostly the best bread, butter, jam and an excellent coffee.

These past years I somewhat "specialized" in making jams of all kinds. Here's my method.

- The day before;

Prepare the fruit, cut in small chunks, add lemonjuice and while stirring continuously, bring to a boil but no longer than strictly necessary to be able to mix the fruit. These strawberries cooked for around 3 minutes. You can mix the fruit to any consistency you like, from chunky to a puree, depending on your taste. I add the juice of one lemon per kilo of fruit, sometimes more, sometimes less. It all depends on the acidity of the used fruit. The lemon acid will work with the pectine in the fruit to turn into jelly. Also, it will somewhat keep the color in the fruit.

In this stage you can add some flavors. I'm adding a good bunch of lemon verbena and just a few twigs of mint to this particular preparation. Then it goes in my cellar until the next day. Adding aromatic herbes is more an exception and certainly not a standard procedure! But sometimes your endresult improves so spectacularly. I had stunning results by adding orange juice and orange zeste to mango jam, a large amount of mint in pine apple jam, even adding a mix of whole spices like sezchuan pepper, star anise, cinnamon to my apple jelly etc.

- The next day;

Set your oven at 110°C. Weigh the net fruit preparation (=minus the weight of the cooking pot of course). You need the same amount of sugar. I'm buying "jelly" sugar that already contains added pectine. You can use plain sugar and add bought pectine. Strawberry jam needs pectine or the jam will not thicken. As a note; I use plain sugar without pectine for apple jelly or quince jelly as these fruits contain a lot of natural pectine. But in most other cases; make your life easy and use pectine, it shortens the cooking time from almost an hour or longer to exactly... 3,5 minutes.

Spread the sugar open in a large deep ovendish, cover with a large ovenplate and put it in the oven. It will only heat up but not melt!

Start by washing your jam jars, rinse them and put them without the lids also in your oven on a rack above the sugar. This will sterilize your jars perfectly, but also important, you will be able to pour the hottest boiling jam in them without ever cracking the glass! Save the washed lids submerged in water until you need them.

Now put the fruit preparation you made yesterday on the stove without the herbs. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon until it just starts to boil. I then put the pot in the kitchen sink. Get the sugar out of the oven and add very carefully to the fruit. Put the pot back on the stove and keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Keep stirring until the preparation starts to boil. Set your alarmclock and let the jam boil for exactly 3,5 minutes when using pectine in the sugar. Take from the heat and stir for 30 seconds.

Take the jam jars out of the oven using a pair of kitchen tongs, a few at a time, and fill them to approx. 5-8 mm from the edge. Do use a funnel with a large opening to fill the pots! Immediately put the lid on and turn the pot upside down, this will close the jars hermetically. After 30 minutes, put the jars upright.

Label them as you like. I opened several occasional jars after more than 2 years and they were all still perfectly intact! This is not a general rule. You need to work 100% clean when filling the jars and use only undamaged and perfectly clean jars and lids. I recycle jars but I have a zero tolerance for the jars and lids, they have to be perfect.

A last piece of advise; don't make too large batches at a time; 1,5-2 kilos of fruit works is a nice batch for me and will yield 3-4 kilo of jam. Instead, make a lot of fruit variations in smaller batches.

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 August 2012 at 09:45
impressive, chris - i do enjoy your detailed instructions as well as your stunning pictures.
 
we bought several cartons of fresh strawberries earlier this summer, and then carefully froze them. do you think that they would work well for this, or should strawberries be fresh for jam? i understand that fresh is always best, but if frozen would work, it would be worth a try.
 
thanks for a great tutorial!
 
ron
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ChrisFlanders View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2012 at 05:41
Ron, I guess frozen strawberries will work perfectly, but... strawberries contain almost no natural pectine, so it needs to be added (even if they were fresh!). Using plain sugar will never get the jam to set, the preparation will remain very liquid! You need either sugar that already contains pectine or you can add pectine to plain sugar.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2012 at 08:48
sounds good. we can buy pectin here, so i will get some of that and give it a go.
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