Strawberry jam problem

bigtroutMay 19, 2011

I made strawberry jam per Ball Blue book. Had great success last year.

for 8 half pints:

2 quarts strawberries

7 cups sugar

1 packet pectin

1/4 cup lemon juice

By the next day they had not jelled.

I realized my mistake. Long story short, I accidentally used too many strawberries for the recipe and ended up with 12 half pints.

So that evening I dumped the whole batch into a pot and reprocessed adding 2 cups of sugar, 1/8 cup lemon juice and another packet of pectin. I redid the 10 minute water bath, resealing again.

2 days and it still hasn't jelled.

I assume it is a lost cause and my best course of action is to dump the batch and start again. I'm new at this and have no other answer. Am I right?

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You might be able to make a batch the old fashioned way. Before we had those awesome packets of pectin, jammers had to reduce the contents of the pot.

Here's a recipe I developed for SavorNC magazine that uses this technique. (I'm in central NC. :) )

Take a look. See if you can use it for timings and temps. Can't hurt to try at this point. Would be a shame to toss those lovely berries.

Good luck!

Strawberry, Ginger, Tarragon Jam

February 13, 2011

2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled
3 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons (approximately 1 heaping tablespoon)
juice of 2 lemons (approximately one third cup)
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
1 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh tarragon

1. Bring berries, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally. If desired, mash berries with the back of the spoon while stirring.

2. For a well set jam, bring to 220 degrees. This will take at least 30 minutes. For a looser jam, bring to 118 degrees. Stir more frequently as jam nears desired temperature.

3. To test firmness of jam, coat the back of a frozen metal spoon. Draw finger through. Firm jam will not run and will be very sticky. Looser jam will still be quite soft and loose. (Ideal for a cheese well.)

4. Once jam reaches desired firmness, remove from heat. Stir in zest and tarragon. Bring to room temperature before refrigerating until ready to use.

Yield: 2 cups

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:05PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Commercial pectin isn't infallible. Even when a recipe is followed to a "T" there is the rare occasion when the pectin just doesn't work and it happens regardless of experience.

The other possibility is that it just hasn't set yet but will in time. Preserves, even using commercial pectins, do require a certain patience. They don't always set within 24 hours but will be just fine in a few weeks.

Personally, I wouldn't keep cooking those poor berries. Each time some of the color, flavor and freshness is lost. I'd use the jam as is, as an ice cream sauce, layered with yogurt, as an ingredient in a quick bread or cake, etc.

But if I were determined to get a jam that's set and were willing to try again, I'd use something like Pomona Pectin which works with any amount of sugar (so you don't have to add to what you already have in the preserve) and will set anything, even plain water.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:56PM
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Great ideas, Carol! I'm voting for ice cream sauce. :)


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 8:21PM
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Thanks for the responses,
I suppose I'll cross my fingers and hope it sets in the next day or so, or else, I've got a LOT of ice cream and pancake topping!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 3:00PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

I just made strawberry jam and used the recipe from one of my books and it mentioned that it might not be a firm set (no pectin) and it is but still very thick and honestly, it's the best strawberry jam I ever made. It was the Favorite strawberry Jam from Small Batch Preserving. Oh my is it good...It was the method where you let the berries sit over night in the sugar........Even my husband has been commenting on how good it is......

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 10:41AM
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