Mixed Berry Jam - too thick

melissajeanne(z5 NY)July 11, 2008


This year I mixed some frozen strawberries with our own raspberries, helmet berries and mulberries. I am not sure of the amounts I used, there wasn't much strawberries (half a sandwhich bag full); I believe I went heaviest on the helmet and mulberries. I could see when I squeezed the right amount of juice that it was very thick; but I was afraid to deviate from the recipe.

I got extremely thick, hard to spread jam - but still within the usable range - it just destroyed the toast if you tried to spread it out. Stirring it up first helps. I want to try this again, but use less pectin if the juice is thick.

My questions? Were the mulberries the culprit? And if I do this again, how much pectin should I remove (I use the standard pre-measured jello sized boxes); a tablespoon or so?.

The flavor was out of this world so will try again, and this time I will keep track of the amounts of berries I squeeze.

Thank you for any input. It was you, the members who walked me through my first jelly canning a few years ago.


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melissajeanne(z5 NY)

I forgot to mention...I discovered a great substitute for those using cheese cloth.

There is a "paint strainer" you can get at the hardware store. I think its nylon. It is intended to be placed over the spray painters when you pour the paint in; so that no clumps get into the sprayer.

It fits perfect over my 4 cup glass measuring cup. I put a couple scoops of the warm mashed berries in it and squeeze; when done, it rinses and shakes out quick and easy. Best of all, it has held up all season - very economical.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:24AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The use of the 'infamous' Villaware/Roma food strainer can dejuice these things in seconds, and there is no need to be concerned about seeds with the proper berry screen used. No prepping is necessry either. Because some berries have high natural pectin (cranberries), its hard to know which is the major factor. Most people have the opposite problem of a jelly/jam not setting up at all. It ends up like a syrup! Just before I commit a batch to jars, I spoon out a tablespoon of it, toss the sample in the freezer, and wait a minute (while the rest is still simmering slightly) for the sample to cool quickly. If its sampled and is still like rubber, I have boiling water also handy and pour in a little of it to slightly dilute the mixture in the simmering pot. All this 'adjustment' can be done in 5 minutes or less. If it needs a bit more water, add that again. You can also add even more water, and only face an issue of the set being loose. The toast stays toast. BTW, my favorite store bread is the 2 pound square sandwich loaf of Arnold brand bread. Its as close to my Polish granfdathers white bread recipe.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 1:21PM
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melissajeanne(z5 NY)

boing!!!! you are right, it never occurred to me. It has so much flavor that I could afford to add water.

The only time I ever had trouble with setting (strawberry jam this year), I also discovered something burnt on the botton of the kettle. I think some pectin didn't get mixed in well and...

I grew up with polish/russian family also. Have you tried to can borscht yet? Any rules of thumb?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 1:32PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

You can also add water to jams in the jar if they're too stiff. Add a tablespoon or two of warm water to reach the consistency desired.

Mulberries are high in natural pectin. With the original mixture of berries commercial pectin probably wasn't even needed to get a good set.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 2:35PM
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melissajeanne(z5 NY)

Thanks! I didn't know that I could deal with it now. Hubby is happy putting spoonfuls on muffins lol.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 3:10PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Commercial Borscht canned is horrible, and I don't think any is worth, or even safe to home can either. I make mine with the beet greens sliced up and added last. The beet greens are cut off about an inch away from the bulb. The reason, it reduces the color losses when cooked. I also cut off part of the root tip. Boil the beets in lightly salted water until they are nearly fork tender. Then, drain, cool, and peel the skins and cut off the short green stems and root. The greens are washed well and cooked in water, a couple of minutes. Drain in a colander, but allow the bit of liquid to remain in the pot, as it can still have sand. I use beef broth as the liquid. The greens are cooled, the beets are cut into julienne slivers, add a couple of picking cukes cut up, and some green onions (scallions). Salt and pepper to taste. then a dash of white vinegar, and chill. Served with rye bread, or if you like, sour cream. Great for a nice cool summer meal. Thats how my mom and her mom did it. My grandfather owned a bakery in VT and started out years before at Jordan Marsh as a baker in Boston, back in the 1900's. Jordn Marsh was famous for there blueberry muffins way back then. It was my grandfathers recipe that made them unique.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 7:13PM
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