Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lesson Learned for Making Jam

I was visiting my parents when they informed me that they had a bunch of strawberries for making jam that they had picked up that day. No problem, I can handle jam - right? Well after two batches of plain strawberry I was bored and wanted to try something new. I was already putting together an apple rhubarb crisp, and apple strawberry jam sounded great. I googled a bit and came across a few recipes, but non used commercial pectin - they used the pectin already contained in the apples. Being ambitious I decided to try my hand at making jam the old fashioned way - condense the fruit enough so the pectin already there gels it. I read the directions, I measured and I started. Then I stirred, and I waited, checked the temperature, stirred and waited some more. After an hour or more I was thinking that this had to be done - it was getting really thick, but the temperature wasn’t moving! I waited some more, and the mixture of apples and berries on the stove was slowly moving toward the consistency of apple butter, not what I was going for. Upon looking at the stove, my Dad discovered the burner had been turned down. I had been keeping the mixture hot enough to evaporate the liquid but not enough to increase the heat - ooops. Upon turning the burner back up, I quickly reached the desired temperature of 220F and moved on the fill the jars with my really thick jam. The result of my mishap is a thick and delicious concoction - somewhere between a jam and fruit butter.

I am determined to get this process right, so I will be trying more jams the old fashioned way hopefully later this summer/fall. Next up is Strawberry Cherry jam.