No-pectin (Ferber) strawberry preserves floating?

2ajsmamaJune 21, 2013

I've made this twice this week (maybe not exact Ferber recipe, following Linda Z's recipe from Joy of Jams and boiling a few mint leaves in the syrup then pulling them out before adding berries). Basic procedure is the same though.

Wash and hull berries, halve the large ones. Add 4C sugar for 2.5lbs of berries. Linda Z stirs in 1/4C (4Tbsp) lemon juice (I used fresh squeezed). Let si at room temp, covered, app. 12 hours to extract juice.

Bring to gentle boil over medium heat 3 minutes, then pull off heat an let pan sit another 12 hours covered with a dish towel.

Strain out the berries, add the syrup back to the pan and boil until a soft set (I use the plate test - this is where I briefly ass the mint). Add the berries back in and bring to a full boil.

First time I just pulled off the heat, did the plate test again, looked good, so stirred and then started filling. Processed for 10 minutes. Got 5 half pints when recipe said it made 3 pints.

Today, did the same except set the timer for 5 minutes when I pulled the pan off the heat, then stirred. Jars had been sterilized so only processed 5 minutes. Got a little bit better set (maybe I boiled syrup longer) but still fruit float, 5 half pints with 2/3 fruit and 1/3 syrup at bottom, another half pint that was mostly syrup. Maybe I was too generous putting the fruit in the first jars.

So how to fix the fruit float problem? I'm wondering maybe fill all the jars evenly with fruit, then pour syrup/jelly from pan over it? That would also make distribution more even and I might actually get 6 jars from a batch?

Would crushing the berries for a "jam" vs leaving chunky "preserves" help?


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Question has come up often here and is apparently quite common with SB jam/preserves. Search will probably pull up the discussions.

Others have mentioned in the past that the key is to not be so quick to fill the jars. Let it cool/set up a little longer in the pan where you can stir to keep blended. before filling the jars to get less fruit float.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 1:23PM
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I made yesterday with the same problem, about 1/2 thru the cooling process (maybe 1/2-1 hr removal from WB), I turned the jars upside down. then after about another hour or so, I turned the jars right side up. So far so good.

I did stir some of the jars of jam just before processing.

Some batches do it, and some don't. Same exact recipe and processes.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Just made some more this morning, rest times the same (app. 12 hours each time), increased boil to 5 minutes, increased time off heat before jarring to 10 minutes and it still looks like they're floating. Maybe chunks just do this?

I did do a search on how to avoid, found Carol recommended 10 min off the heat but it doesn't seem to have helped (in fact, since I didn't skim while it was hot - I usually skim the top of each jar after stirring the jar - the foam sort of "clumped" as it cooled). Annie said she inverted her jars after they sealed, I tried that with 2 (left one upside down longer than the other) and that doesn't seem to have worked either.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:36PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Different pans will retain heat longer than others so try 15 mins off the heat. It isn't like increasing the time is going to hurt anything.

But another point that has been raised by others when it comes to floating fruit is the amount of air left in the fruit. Try mashing the berries more up front or bringing up to heat more slowly so more air has the chance to cook out.

Bottom line, the floating is just an appearance issue not a quality issue. Stir after opening.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:52PM
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I inherited an old old pan from my husbands' grandmother. Very old and heavy, she used it for everything.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 5:33PM
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