Friday, 1 July 2016

HFF - In a Jam

In A Jam...or Jelly, or Pickle (June 3 - June 16) In a world before refrigeration, preserving food was an important task. For this challenge, make your favorite preserved food - bonus points if it’s seasonal!

I really wanted to make a jelly, but right now I don't have a counter or a way to hang a jelly bag.  I used to hang it from one of the cupboard handles, so it could drip into a container on the counter.  Since I have neither cupboards or counter top right now, I made jam instead.

The garden strawberries weren't quite ripe yet, so I used some that were in the freezer. 

In the Cooks Own Book, 1832, Boston, I found this recipe for strawberry jam.

The Economical Housekeeper, 1837, London offered this recipe.

Currants would cut the sweetness of the jam nicely.  As well, currants have lots of pectin, so they would help the jam set.   My currants are frozen in 1 kilo bags, so I substituted 1 tsp of lemon juice, to 600 g of strawberries and 600 g of sugar.   It took only about 15 minutes on a modern electric stove.

I tested the readiness of the jam by dropping a bit on a chilled plate to see how it set up.  If it is ready, the dollop of hot jam should have a bit of a skin on top as it is cooling down.

When the jam looked about done, I poured it into heated canning jars.  I screwed on the lids and rings and popped them into a hot water canning bath for 10 minutes, so sterilize and seal properly.  It was a bit of a waste of my huge canning pot for only 2 1/2 cups of jam, but the jam was really tasty.   I'm not a huge fan of strawberry jam, but this was pretty good.    The only issue was that I've made only 2 batches of jam/jelly without commercial pectin, and there is a bit of a learning curve as to when the jam is set.   This jam is a little to thick for my preference.

Cost - $1.00 for the sugar and probably about $4 worth of strawberries.
Time - 2 -3 hours includes prep, cooking, canning and clean up
Accuracy - except for the lemon juice substitution, pretty accurate
Success - tasty but thicker than I'd like.  I will try again with peaches or apricots, which are my favourite jams.

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