Strawberry Jam - Stupid Question?

rebel215June 6, 2008

I'm sorry, this is a stupid question, but I'm trying to make strawberry jam. I made a batch last night that I think is closer to syrup (but it tastes good). I want to make another and need to know if I can mix the berries & sugar together tonight and keep it until the morning (it's just too hot right now to cook), then can it. I'm using the Ball Book recipe w/o added pectin.

Thank you for any advice/suggestion.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

It should be fine, but might gel a little naturally. If your a beginner in making jellies and have apparently had a failed batch already, it might be wiser to make the new batch with some added pectin. Pectin-less jams are not usually as easy to make for someone who is just starting out.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 6:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the quick reply, KSRogers. I'll try the pectin.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
readinglady(z8 OR)

Strawberries are one of the more tricky fruits for no-pectin jams, but the downside of pectin is 1) it takes more sugar and 2) it still isn't totally reliable.

Here's an easy oven jam good for beginners because you can cook as long as you need (in fact if you're not careful it will end up a little stiff) without worrying about overcooking or caramelization.

P.S. Yes, you can definitely put the berries and sugar together overnight. This helps dissolve the sugar and speeds up the process. Add lemon juice if the recipe includes it.

Elegant Oven Strawberry Jam

Categories : Canning & Preserving Jams & Jellies

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
8 cups halved or quartered strawberries -- (cleaned and de-stemmed) (2 L)
4 cups granulated sugar -- (1 L)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or lemon juice -- (50 mL)

Combine berries and sugar in a large stainless or enamel pan. Let stand for 2 hours, stirring several times.

Add vinegar or lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Pour into two 13 x 9-inch (3.5 L) glass baking dishes and place in a convection or standard oven at 150°F (65°C). Bake until mixture is thickened and will form a gel, about 3 hours for convection and 10 hours for standard, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into sterilized jars and process in a BWB 5 minutes (or hot clean jars for 10 minutes).

"from "Small Batch Preserving" by Ellie Topp, p. 25."
Yield: 4 cups


    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kathy_in_washington(Zone 8 Sequim,WA)

Wow, Carol ... Balsamic Vinegar in Strawberry Jam? It sounds interesting, but I've never heard of that. Have you or anyone ever tried it? Is it a helpful flavor rather than the usual lemon juice?


    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 2:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
readinglady(z8 OR)

I think it depends totally upon the quality of the balsamic vinegar. Lemon juice is definitely the more conventional choice.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 2:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Carol I'd love to try this but with the temps in the 90's this weekend . . . I can't believe it! :( I'm sure this will ruin what's left of the strawberry crop. I'm off to the market to buy some today, it will probably be my last chance to get some local ones. I still have about 5 jars of strawberry preserves left from last year so I won't be making jam this year, sadly.

Good luck Rebel, strawberry jam without pectin is the holy grail of preserve making! I tried four different jams last year with strawberries. The only batches that set up was the one with powdered pectin, but that one tastes like jello to me! The other batch was strawberry apple jam, in which case you add an apple for the pectin. Not a bad version, but definately not the pure strawberry taste. The old fashioned preserves and strawberry rhubarb turned out as sauce, but those were still extremely yummy!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The Pomona pectin might also be useful. I make sugarless jams now, and use Splenda instead of sugar. None would set by themselves. Because of this, they can also spoil much quicker after opening, so I add the extra acid blend. The blend has the effect of making the fruits flavor much stronger, snd isn't disguised by a lot of sweetness. Balsamic I used in my roasted pepper spread, it has a little lower acidity and is quite strong flavored, so be sure to taste it by itself before adding to any jelly. There is also a white balsamic vinegar which is milder flavored.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
readinglady(z8 OR)

Well, lpinkmountain, there's always next year. The benefit of this recipe is the strawberries stay almost entirely whole, so it has a lovely appearance and texture. The downside is the traditional gel temperature doesn't apply, so you have to use the cold plate test to determine degree of set.

The original recipe was done outside, so it's basically a naturally dehydrated jam, but we don't have the sunshine here (especially this year) and with the oven you don't have to worry about insects.

I think the balsamic vinegar could easily be reduced. I'd be inclined to add near the end tablespoon by tablespoon and see how I like it. You could do a balsamic-peppercorn, which makes a lovely "boutique" preserve for gifts. I'm thinking that might be the base for some wonderful glazes and for a killer strawberry-peppercorn-mustard condiment.

Also, lpinkmountain, I've used this same recipe for other berries, particularly raspberries, which are so delicate they tend to lose all identity. This results in a beautiful, bright, "textured" preserve, so is perfect for raspberries. Blueberries with a cinnamon stick and maybe some whole allspice could also be made in the same way.

So play with it, see what you come up with and let us know how you like the results.

As far as traditional strawberry jam (the "holy grail", LOL), I've never had a set failure. However, due to the growing conditions here in the PNW, the berries have a different sugar-acid balance that makes a good set easier to achieve.

Remember, too, that with traditional no-commercial-pectin jams it's a good idea to use 1/4 underripe fruit. That boosts the natural pectin level.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, everyone.

Carol - I think I'll get some more strawberries and try that recipe. Sounds really good. The strawberries were pretty ripe and I ended up freezing the ones leftover (they were starting to spoil and it wasn't as many as I'd thought).

lpinkmountain - you're right about the sauce, it's good w/biscuits, kinda like strawberry gravy.

Thanks again, everyone. It's nice to be able to come here and get so much help.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 7:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Yes, I think part of my trouble was PA strawberries. My previous strawberry jam experiences have been with MI berries, which are totally different in taste and seem less watery. I didn't like MD blueberries as well either when I went to a Upick two years ago with some friends--the blueberries were bland and watery! MI has got some darn good fruit, IMHO. That's one thing I really miss! When I used to work at the ag research station, I think I remember hearing that MI was one state that could give the PA Northwest a run for the money, agriculturally speaking, except for our darn unpredictable winters!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
readinglady(z8 OR)

Michigan and Oregon are the two top contenders for cherries, especially pie cherries and maraschinos. But we seem to have divided up responsibilities, LOL, so we're not competing against each other. Michigan does the maraschinos without stems and we do the ones with stems.

Right now the PNW is the one with the unpredictable weather, thanks largely to La Nina. It's 15 degrees below the average for June. June 5 was the coldest on record. That and pouring rain means that right now my "garden" is sitting in the original trays on the patio. We got the garden composted and cultivated but it's never dried out long enough to plant.

For tomatoes I'm choosing varieties purely on the basis of shortest growing season, preferably hybrids developed at Oregon State's ag station. I don't have much hope of ripening before September. I figure the crop will come on just as the days start to shorten.

The horseradish and rhubarb are sure happy, though.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 6:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Tomatoes in Z8 can be started outside as seeds. Here, in Z6, I start tomatoes in April. By June 1, they are over 2 foot tall plants. I am amazed at how fast these collected seeds grape tomatos grew. In about a month, I should start to see some fruits. Its in the 90's here now, and my poor peas and broccoli cant take all that heat. I jusat went out and gave everything a cool shower top cool tt all do down. Luckily, sun has passed over and its mostly in shade now. MY pooor little monmorency cherry tree was planted back in April, and has not come out of dormency very much. Leaf buds are there as are a few half opened leaves. Its as if its fighting for life. I plan to spray it with some 'Harpin' to try and get it to wake up more.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 3:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
melva02(z7 VA)

My company has an intern from Michigan and he looked at me funny when I started talking about cherries...I guess you don't know if you don't grow or pick your own, plus he was from near Ann Arbor rather than the Upper Peninsula.

My plain strawberry preserves came out like syrup with berries. Good on pancakes, which is good since I don't eat much jam anyway. My strawberry-peppercorn-mint preserves appear to have set, but there was none left over so I haven't tried them yet. And these were made on the same day, and appeared to set about the same on the plate test.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I made a first attempt at strawberry preserves over the weekend and it came out pretty nice. After sitting in the jar, you turn over and 3-4 seconds before it started moving slowly. After it moved to the fridge you can turn over and it doesn't move without shaking/hitting the jar.

First I spent quite a bit of time in the store looking for a carton that had the most green berries. There wasn't much so when I cut off the stem I made sure I left as much of the white/green under ripe strawberry as possible. The recipe I found said this was key as it contains the most natural pectin.

1 cup sugar and 1 spoon lemon juice per cup of strawberries. sit for 2 hours.

After the mixture started boiling the solid berries were removed from the liquid. I continued cooking the liquid for probably 45 minutes mixing constantly. Add the solid back and cook until it starts boiling again. Then I just put it aside in a can out in the open for 24 hours before moving to the fridge (didn't can it properly to sit outside).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, i've had the exact same problems with strawberry jam myself. I'm sorry you're having trouble but I at least feel better knowing it's not just me! I've been canning for many years and all my jams set just fine except the strawberry...EVERY time. I've made several batches this year and have finally given up, the best fix i've found is to call it strawberry ice cream topping. You all have such good advice, I think my problem may be that my berries are allways way too ripe, think i'll add a bit more lemon juice too!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 2:48PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Probably a Cooking Forum question
I never go to that forum and I know several here who...
Starting my own recipe
I love to cook, so how do I preserve my own recipes...
Cranberry Vinegar
Every few years I make a batch of cranberry vinegar...
CA Kate
Making Garlic or Herb Infused Oils at Home
Now that I figured out the new format, I can post this...
Citric acid - powder or crystal form
I have been making simple jams for years but have been...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™