Classic Strawberry Jam with Pectin

(From Preserving by Pat Crocker, Harper Collins, 2011) In my opinion, there are three ways to make classic strawberry jam, a favourite of almost everyone. The traditional was was to add some tart cooking apples for their natural pectin and boil the fruit mixture long in order to make the jam set. That was the only way to get a thick, jammy texture, but it did alter the pure taste of the strawberries. Once powdered and liquid fruit pectin became available to home cooks, it was possible to use low-acid fruit such as strawberries with adding high-acid apples or citrus peel, and the result was a pure, more strawberry-tasting jam.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups crushed strawberries
  • 2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pkg (49 to 57 g) fruit pectin crystals
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsps finely chopped fresh sweet cicely or tarragon


Preparation

1.  Heat eight 1-cup (250 mL) jars in boiling water and scald the lids, lifter, funnel and tongs.

2.  In a Maslin pan or canning kettle, combine strawberries and lemon juice.  Sprinkle pectin over fruit and stir until dissolved.  Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Add sugar in a steady stream, all at once and stir constantly.  Return to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  Boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in sweet cicely, if using.  Stir for 5 minutes.

3.  Skim off and discard foam (or eat it too…sometimes this is the best part.)  Fill hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Run a thin non-metallic utensil around the inside of the jar to allow air to escape.  Add more hot jam, if necessary to leave a 1/4 inch headspace..  Wipe rims, tops with flat lids and crew on metal rings.  Return jars to the hot water bath, topping with hot water if necessary.  Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 10 minutes.

4.  Remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars to a towel or rack to cool completely.  Check seals and store in a cool place for up to 1 year.

*Sweet cicely, with its sweet anise flavour is the perfect foil for the fresh tart flavour of strawberries.  For eating fresh, use sweet cicely generously – 3 or 4 tbsp chopped per cup of fresh strawberries.  For preserving, use considerably less.


Servings

Makes 8 cups


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