Monday, June 16, 2008

To Cook or Not to Cook the Jam

Now that berry season is finally here, my plan is to fill the freezer with packs of jam. Friends and relatives rave about the no-cook strawberry jam recipe. However, you must still boil the "no-cook" strawberry jam recipe for at least one minute. But what do you really gain? The recipe requires the addition of fruit pectin to thicken the jam, and more sugar. Once, I ran out of fruit pectin, and was forced to make jam the old-fashioned way -- by cooking the jam. I learned some surprising things along the way:

  • Cooked jam requires much less sugar. The no-cook recipe ratio is 8 cups of strawberries to 16 cups of sugar. In the cook method, the ratio is 8 cups of strawberries to four cups of sugar.
  • Your pan is already dirty, and the cook method only requires that you continue to cook the jam just a few minutes longer until it reaches 220 degrees. Really, no biggie.
  • With the fruit pectin no longer needed, and a dramatic reduction in sugar, this is a much more economical way to make jam.
Here's another benefit. The absence of the extra sugar and pectin leaves you with more strawberries per serving. As a result, your jam is a beautiful, deep crimson red. No pink frilly wimpy jam. From now on, I'm cooking my jam.

Here's the recipe for the cook method of strawberry jam.

(Can easily be reduced.)
  • cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.
  3. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.
  4. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F


Kirsetin said...

This totally rocks Susie. Of course, if I had actually gotten my boys out to pick berries, it would be even better. But, still, there might be a few left this weekend, right???

Heather said...

I've always wanted to take my kids berry-picking...although I have a hunch that it's one of those things that SOUND fun, but really aren't.

From AA to NZ said...

It's something you have to do at least once. My friend and I used to take our kids and spend the afternoon making jam and putting it in jars - with paraffin. Talk about messy...

Linda said...

Are you referring to powdered pectin? If you use liquid pectin (Certo), you don't have to boil at all for the "quick & easy" (freezer jam) recipe. That's our family favorite, with lime juice substituted for lemon juice.

Can't wait for the strawberries to be ripe. Thanks for your info!