Foods and Healthy Eating

Strawberry Jam (Failure, How to fix it).

One might wonder why I would want to can strawberry jam in the middle of a move. Why not! It fits in w/ my personality. Besides this move and relocation is spaning several months.

Berries: strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are plentiful here in upstate NY. It has not been the same in other states that I have resided. My neice wants to learn how to make jam. So Aunt Mary Pat is going to show how to make jam.

First you have to gather supplies. They include canner w/ insert, wide mouth funnel, tongs for lifting jars, soup laddle, small and large spoons, whisk, spatula, potato masher, canning jars, lids, rings. For strawberry jam, you will also need, fresh picked strawberries, pectin (like sure jell), lemon and sugar. There are no-sugar pectins that work well too. I made both kinds this year.

There is a difference betw/ lids and rings. The lids are the tops that seal the jars in processing. They are held on by the rings for processing purposed. You do not store the finished produce w/ the rings on the jars. I keep a few rings available for the open jars that I am using.

I sterilize my jars after cleaning them in boiling water for 15 minutes. Wash the berries and crush them. I use a potato masher. Follow the directions on the pectin package. There are times that you can vary recipes. This is one of the times you can not alter the recipes. It is based on chemical reaction and portion sizes. They do recommend that you do one batch at a time.

A hot water bath processing is pretty simple. You will need your canner 2/3 full of boiling water. You want the water to cover the jars. Put the hot jam in jars using wide mouth funnel. Clean the top rim of the jar.  Place a wet lid on the jar, secure with a ring.  Place the jam packed hot jars on the canner insert and lower into boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars and keep them upright over night. Listen for all the lids popping. It is a wonderful sound. All the lids should be concave when cool. If they

Normally I do not have difficulty with jam. This year, when I am teaching my niece, the jam doesn’t jell. My mistake was cooking it at a lower temperature for a longer period. It needs to be cooked on high heat for short period of time. I cooked it too long and inactivated the pectin.

For many cooking mistakes, there are fixes. And there is in this case too. I called the 800 number on the pectin box. The person on the help line was useless.  She kept criticizing me for my mistake and had no idea how to fix the jam. What a way to win friends and influence people. NOT!

Cooperative Extension is a great place to get household and kitchen information. Most every county I have lived in has one. The dietitian had a recipe to fix runny, pourable jam. Here it is. I tried it and it works.

You can redo up to 8 cups of runny jam at a time. The portions are PER CUP of runny jam.

1 tablespoon water, 1 1/2 teaspoon powdered pectin, mix and bring to a boil.

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 cup of jam and bring to a boil over high heat while sturring constantly. Boil 1/2 minute. Skim any foam, fill your jars and reprocess.

I did 8 cups, so I used the following proportions: 8 tablespoons of water, 12 teaspoons of pectin, 16 tablespoons sugar. My jam is perfect.