Friday, April 23, 2010

In a bit of a jam

I was honest.
I admitted I'd never done this before.
So, it should come as no surprise that I asked for some advice along the way.
But first, let me tell you how my jam experience went.

With all my ingredients at hand, I began hulling and quartering my first flat of strawberries. It took longer than I expected, but no matter. Then, into the food processor they went. Once finely pureed I paused to read my instructions.

Did I mention I'm not very good at following instructions?

Let me rephrase that - I'm very good at following instructions when I want to, but usually I modify them intentionally. This was one of those times.

I don't have a canning set so I knew from the start I would be making freezer jam. The instructions said I didn't need to cook the strawberries.
I've never heard of such a thing. So, because I MUST be smarter than the instructions, I decided to follow the "cooked jam" recipe instead of the "freezer jam" recipe, and then follow that up with freezing my jars instead of canning them. I had another motivation also: the strawberries, while beautiful, were not totally ripe, so they weren't as soft as they needed to be for jam. I figured the only way to soften them was to cook them. So, cook them I did.

On I went, adding the required juice, whisking in my pectin, and heating to a rolling boil. So far, so good. Now to add the sugar. Did I mention I used the largest pot we had? Did I also mention it was 3/4 full before I added the sugar? Oh dear, I had no idea jam had a foaming problem. Before long I was frantically reading instructions about how to deal with the foam which was nearly overflowing all over my stove top. To my pleasant surprise there was an asterisk noting that a bit of butter would deal with all that foam nicely - an asterisk I'd ignored thinking "surely I would never add butter to my jam recipe, that would be silly"

"GET ME SOME BUTTER!" Jonathan heard me yell from across the room, followed by a "QUICKLY PLEASE!" as I burned my finger yet again with boiling-fruity-sugar-foam.

Butter added. Jam explosion averted.

After three minutes of a hard boil I began ladling my jam into what I thought would be plenty of clean containers. In all I had four large glass jars, and ten smaller plastic freezer jam containers. So back to the very beginning of my post: While I was at the grocery store perusing berries I was careful to ask the more experienced women around me, how much jam will a flat of strawberries make? "one flat will make oh, about 6-8 small jars" I was told.

Well, let me tell you, after filling ALL of my containers I was RUSHING to find, empty, and wash other miscellaneous jars. In the end, with over 200 ounces of fresh, hot jam, (which, I'm happy to report, all set-up beautifully ) I would consider this project a success. That said, I still have a SECOND FLAT of strawberries to make jam from (you all know what you're getting for Christmas now) and I was left with a kitchen FULL of sticky pink dishes...

...Which somebody washed for me - each and every one.


Kim said...

you are hilarious!

How about I buy some jam from you?

Molly said...

Haha, glad it worked out well for you!