No-pectin (Ferber) strawberry preserves floating?
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?