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A question about a recipe: My Mother's Strawberry Jam

Jam

I have a question about the recipe "My Mother's Strawberry Jam" from merrill. Can I use this recipe for my first foray into canning? Can I still include the butter? Is it necessary to add powdered fruit pectin?

asked by cristinasciarra over 1 year ago
11 answers 2738 views
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sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

Maybe one of our canning experts will weigh in but I found this online, canning guidelines http://www.pickyourown... they say no unless it is a recipe that is tested for safety using the fat. Maybe Merrill's Mom preserved this successfully and she will have an answer.

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aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

I have used butter in canned jams in the past and it has been fine, this recipe includes lemon and sugar so it should be OK for canning. Make sure to read up on safety measures! Also just FYI - strawberry jam fades after a month or two so even if you can it, eat it up before too long!

I use the Pick Your Own and Ball websited for reference quite a bit. Oh an in The Blue Chair Jam Book - she never uses pectin and she cans everything ...

it's fun, you will be hooked!

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 1 year ago

The recipe says to "process the jars" which means to use canning procedures to make the jars shelf stable. Buy a dozen Ball or Kerr jars and follow the instructions that come with them, to the letter. I.e., don't follow canning instructions you find on the internet as even people who fancy themselves as experts often are careless or uninformed, and tell you to do things you should not. I would not start with strawberry, by the way, at least not for a no-pectin recipe. I'd use a fruit like plums or blueberries with a much higher natural pectin content. Or if I felt that I absolutely had to make strawberry jam, I'd use Cathy Barrow's recipe in the Times last week for strawberry jam that's made a bit firmer with kiwi, which is naturally high in pectin. Just a thought. ;o)

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sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

Thats so interesting AJ, I didn't know that about kiwi, I have only made refrigerator jam, strawberry in particular is always a bit soupy. I will have to try the kiwi.

Gator_cake
hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

The Hood strawberries are ripe here, and I'm definitely making Cathy's recipe. Thanks for pointing it out!!

Baci1
HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Granny Smith apples also has a lot of pectin. Peel and grate or chop, then add to your fruit (you won't notice the apple at all), if you don't want to use commercial pectin.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 1 year ago

Especially with strawberries, it helps to include some under-ripe berries, which generally have more natural pectin. ;o)

P1291120
added over 1 year ago

In my Master Food Preserver course we were given a list of fruits and their various pectin qualities -- from fruits that practically jell by themselves, to those that are naturally so low in pectin that they need the assist. Pectin occurs naturally in fruit, and occurs more in under-ripe fruit than ripe -- some fruits are naturally very high and others not so much. Before processed pectin, our grandmothers knew about the green apple method and other tricks for low pectin fruit (Blue Chair Jam doesn't use pectin, but she adjusts by adding lots of lemon juice -- citrus fruit is naturally high in pectin, and -- interestingly [at least to me!] the highest amounts are in the pith. Haven't yet figured out how to make pith work, but considering how I use lemon juice in this, and lemon zest in that, I'd love to be able to use lemon pith too!). Anyhow, strawberries are in the "lowest natural pectin" group, so you will want to do something to get a good set -- whether it is commercial pectin, lemon juice, or green apples (any kind that are green, particularly those that are unripe green -- like apples that are red when ripe and you are using their green precedents).

The butter is a different thing altogether and where you may (emphasis on the MAY) run into trouble. My personal rule of thumb is that it is never worth the risk (that's me; others may feel differently, but I'd certainly want to know that anything "gifted" to me was an untested recipe! and would likely thank profusely and avoid). There are food labs around the country that will "test" a recipe for you -- the only way to know that a recipe is safe is to use a tested one (like those in the Ball Blue book or So Easy to Preserve, which was effectively our textbook -- it also includes the pectin level categories for various fruit). I agree with the comments about being careful about using recipes on the internet unless they indicate they are tested. If you go with pectin, the Sure-Jel folks also have a number of tested recipes on their website.

Good luck! Canning is fun and totally worth doing; and, like anything worth doing, it is worth knowing the do's and don'ts.

Cakes
added over 1 year ago

I just finished a round of canning. I made the Strawberry Balsamic Jam from The Blue Chair, and my own concoction of Strawberries, a bit of rhubarb from my poor little pitiful plant, lemon verbena, and vanilla bean. I make sure the berries are organic. I did not use pectin, and found the jam texture to be perfect. I would be interested in other opinions: do you find that when making strawberry jam, fruit that has been macerated in sugar cooks more quickly into jam than non-macerated fruit?

Straw

Merrill
Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 1 year ago

Thanks for all of your helpful comments on the recipe. I use Ball jars if I'm processing, but more often I make a single batch of this jam, keep it in the fridge and try and use it up quickly, as it is better fresh.