New to canning - strawberry jam?

clubcrackerJune 20, 2012

Hi all,

DD and I went to pick strawberries this morning and we have about 10 lbs. I'd like to use about 5-8 lbs to make jam and the rest to eat.

I have a Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit:

and Presto Canning essentials kit:

and I have the Ball book coming in the mail later today.

I'd love to make a very simple jam, either in half pints or pints. If possible I'd like it to be without pectin or gelatin or anything other than strawberries and sugar.

Is this possible? Any advice before I dive in??? ;)



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

Link below is to Strawberry Jam without added pectin instructions. But I will tell you that strawberry is difficult to get a set without pectin and many end up with strawberry syrup instead. Some advise incorporating 10% underripe berries in the hopes of improving set since they have more natural pectin. Plus you'll need a really good jelly/candy thermometer.

Carol regularly posts here and has much more experience with pectin-free jams so if she doesn't drop by soon you can use the search to pull up all the other strawberry jam discussions here and read her advice. We much prefer to use pectin in our house.


Here is a link that might be useful: Jam without pectin

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Here you go.

Here is a link that might be useful: Strawberry Jam problems and discussions

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:32PM
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To make the best strawberry jam (you chose the one fruit notorious for not gelling properly every time) I recommend you make freezer jam. You don't cook it so the delicate fresh flavor does not suffer but you do need pectin for the gel to make it a JAM.

If you do not use pectin and don't cook the strawberries, you have sweetened canned or frozen strawberries. That is not jam, but just canned/frozen fruit.

If you want canned strawberry jam without pectin, you need to cook it to just the right temp without scorching and make sure you have the right amount of natural pectin (unripe berries or apples) for a gel. Difficult for even the most seasoned jammer.

To assure that you have a nice consistency of jam, using pectin to make it gel properly eliminates the scariness of making strawberries and sugar come together properly to spread on toast rather than sweet strawberry soup or burnt fruit in the pan.

Using pectin is not "artificial" since it is derived from natural fruit pectin like apples or citrus if "not natural" is what you think that it is. If you want strawberries and sugar, you have just sweetened strawberries, not jam.

My recommendation: Choose another fruit to make into jam for your first canned jam foray and freeze the strawberries for something else.

And, you don't need a pressure canner to make jam. Just a big pot for boiling water bath known as BWB.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:57PM
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Thanks - wow I was not searching effectively. :)

So I have a box of Sure-Jell pectin from the grocery store. It has instructions for strawberry jam that is basically

5 c crushed strawberries
7 c sugar
1 box pectin

and then for process times, it says to process for 10 minutes but does not specify a jar size. It does have altitude adjustments. Is this safe to assume for half pints and pints? Or should I give up on this box of pectin (since I don't really know what to do with it other than follow the recipes in the box).

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:43PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

That will work fine assuming it is not out-dated so check the expiration date on the box and follow the instructions step-by-step.

You can also use the Strawberry Jam with added pectin instructions from NCHFP.

Standard jar sizes for most jam recipes is pints or 1/2 pints.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Straw Jam with pectin

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:17PM
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I make strawberry jam without pectin from a recipe kayskats sent me (the Ball Complete Book and many other sources have similar - check Small Batch Preserving and Joy of Jams). The key is to let it set overnight in a shallow baking pan so the fruit absorbs more of the sugar. It still may end up more like "preserves" than "jam" depending on how stiff you like your jam.

Here it is - you can make it more of a jam by mashing the berries and cooking it a little longer so it's thicker:

Strawberry Preserves
Source: Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Georgia.
The berries remain whole and plump .. do not expect the syrup to set... it's a syrup.
Makes about 4 half pints
1 1/2 quarts strawberries stems removed
5 cups sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Chose firm red, ripe berries. Do not use berries with hollow cores.
Combine strawberries and sugar. Let stand 3 to 4 hours. Bring strawberry mixture slowly to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice. Cook rapidly until berries are clear and syrup thick, about 10 to 12 minutes. Pour into a shallow pan. Let stand uncovered 12 to 24 hours in a cool place. Shake pan occasionally to distribute berries through syrup. Heat mixture and pour hot preserves into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes

From Small Batch Preserving:

Favorite Strawberry Jam

4 C halved firm strawberries
2C sugar
1/4 C lemon juice

1. Mix berries and sugar, let stand for 8 hrs, stirring occasionally.

2. Place mixture in medium SS saucepan, Bring to boil over medium heat. Add lemon juice, return to boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat,
Cover, and let stand for 24 hrs.

3. Bring mixture again to full boil over high heat and boil rapidly 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, ladle into hot jars and
process 10 minutes in BWB.

Makes 2.5 cups (1 pint and 1 4 oz gift jar,2 half pints and 1 gift jar, or 5 tiny jars) - Gotta double this recipe!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:36AM
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I have used sure-gel often and it works great! However, I have found that the end product is often too sweet for me.
If I cut down on sugar, it doesn't thicken enough.

I switched to sure-gel lite and found it was great! Less sugar needed and still thickened well. The only recipe in the box that I did change was the cherry jam. Strange but
it called for the same amount of sugar as peach jam. It turned out a little tart for me so I experimented and increased the sugar slightly. After a few batches, I now have it down perfect on the sugar amount for cherry jam.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Still trying to find out why you can't use hollow berries in making preserves?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:34AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It's not that you can't but that you shouldn't. It is a quality issue.

Hollow berries are usually commercial varieties, raised and ripened under artificial conditions for shipping and long term storage. They tend to be dry and less flavorful.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 11:09AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The growing conditions of hollow berries are inferior and the berries that result are also inferior.

The occasional naturally occurring hollow berry crushed into jam wouldn't make much of a difference but a batch largely consisting of these berries would tend to the bland and flavorless. Cardboard.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:19PM
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