Friday, July 25, 2008

Strawberry Jam Forever

At work we have a little something we like to call "buddies". Sure, we have friends at work, too, but buddies might rank higher than friends...Buddies are free food. Now, buddies are bittersweet. We all love free food, but if it's free at the co-op, that means that our co-op is losing money from the dented, slightly smashed, past its expiration date products. So while I shouldn't have been excited (actually, thrilled) over the 16 quarts of local strawberries sitting in the buddy bin on Wednesday, I was.

I snagged all those strawberries in a heartbeat and promised I'd bring people jam the next day. I decided to use a "Basic Strawberry Jam" recipe from a book called something like "The busy person's guide to canning" (I'm just busy because I'm canning, so I don't know if this book is for me).

I thought it was odd that the recipe didn't call for pectin, but it called for astronomical quantities of sugar, so I figured that would help it set up once it reached the jelly point (220F). So I purchased 36 cups of fair trade, organic cane sugar, 3 more cases of canning jars (I had one) and high-tailed it home. At this point it was 6pm. Probably a little late to start a quadruple batch of jam, but nevermind that.

The jam went according to plan until I had it all sealed up and processed. It had passed the "does it run off a cold spoon in single drops or sheets" test decently. It was a little thinner than usual, but I figured it would just be a softer set kind of jam. Wrong. More like a not-set-at-all type of jam.

So my 42 jars of strawberry jam were delayed until last night. I opened each jar, resterilized the jars, reboiled the jam, and added plenty of pectin this time. Bingo! Forget any risky low acid fruit jams without pectin for this girl. I'm sticking with the sure thing.

As I was eating the jam straight-up out of a spoon last night, I realized that I'd never had homemade strawberry jam. Usually I'll try something before I make 42 jars of it. But, really, who wouldn't like homemade strawberry jam?


Erin said...

Awesome. For the past few years my mom and I have made a huge batch of strawberry jam, it's definitely an all day affair.

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Oh. My. God.

I would have creatively called it Strawberry Sundae Topping and called it good.

You seriously emptied and re-sterelized each jar? I'm tired for you. Very tired.

Anonymous said...

I *love* homemade jam! Yum! And you are a trooper for making that jam in the heat and humidity we are having--ugg.

I am happy to hear that you got all those strawberries for free, but I do wish the co-ops would put that bruised/damaged/etc. produce out in a "reduced price" bin for the customers. My co-op in Boston used to do that, and I have reallllly missed it since moving back to MN!


Alice (in Veganland) said...

42 cans for the first try? haha, you're a braaaaave girl.