Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Jam Attempt #1

Making jam is scary! Seriously, I thought there might be an explosion/burns/spills on either me or one of the cats running around underfoot. Luckily no one got hurt!

My strawberry jam making adventure at the downtown farmer's market, where I got berries from Jones Orchard. It seems like it took forever to clean and hull them but once that was done I started working on the jam part. I started out using this recipe from Food in Jars as a guideline. Instead of macerating overnight with a vanilla bean, I used a generous scoop of vanilla bean paste. Making the jam wasn't not the hard part, I did let it cook a little longer than I should have giving it a slightly more 'caramelized' flavor.

The scary part came once it was time to can the jars. I used my Ball canning set, which comes with a rack to set the jars in, but I also added a dish towel underneath because everything was rattling so loud I worried something would break. The jars boiling was the scary part, it made so much noise that I was sure the whole thing would explode. After the allotted time I turned off the heat and pulling the jars out with the tongs. The lids started popping right away so I knew I had gotten a good seal. My problem arose later that day when the jars had cooled and I realized the jam was more like a sauce. I assume I didn't use enough Sure-Jell to make it jammy enough. So I Google-d and found instructions for re-making jam. I used this site and re-made it using more Sure-Jell and this time it turned out just right, the perfect jam consistency.

It took time and patience and frustration but I finally made jam! I plan on making more in the next week or so before the heat takes all the strawberries away. The jam was particularly good on homemade sweet cream biscuits.

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