A-Z Recipes

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Jammin' (Read 424 times)

    I thought I remembered a thread on jam-making, but now can't find it.  So, a new thread to ask my jam questions.

     

    We went to a u-pick area last weekend, and it's truly amazing how much fruit two enthusiastic children can pick in about fifteen minutes.  So, I set out to make jam, a first for me.  How hard could it be, right?  I got a box of Sure-Jell and some jars and lids.  Much success - really, it isn't hard.  My only complaint was that I found the jam (strawberry with 1 cup of boysenberries subbed in) too sweet for my tastes.  So, now enthusiastic about jam-making, still in possession of my mother's giant pot and steamer insert, and still with several flats of fruit to use, I got a box of the low-sugar Sure-Jell and made a peach-strawberry jam.  Also much success.  (just did the low sugar recipe; no artificial sweeteners, perish the thought). 

     

    My question is about these stern warnings about following the recipe *exactly*, even cautioning you to level the cups of sugar with a flat edge.  Really?  Really? Wouldn't one batch of strawberries to the next vary enough in natural sugars, natural pectin, and natural acids that some variation in the added sugar would be okay?  Isn't that the point of using the Sure-Jell, so it surely jells?  I'm not talking about arbitrarily halving the sugar or anything, but surely some variation can be accomplished without throwing off the chemistry that badly, right? 

     

    Now, I know the answer to that already, because I did tweak their recipes and still got jam.  Am I just being cocky because I had success?  With the peach strawberry, I was going for color (they were white peaches), and just did my best to guesstimate on sugar adjustments with subbing in one cup of mashed strawberries instead of one cup of mashed peaches (the sugar to fruit ratios were different for 100% peach vs. 100% strawberry, plus peach added lemon juice). 

     

    I guess my questions are:  despite their warnings, how forgiving is making jam with Sure-Jell?  Did I just get lucky?  Are there any sort of guidelines to follow on how much a jam recipe can be tweaked? 


    running yogi

      I used this recipe with with excellent results. Heavenly strawberry flavor. I made a mango jam with the same recipe. 

      I added some citrus peels during the cooking process(to get some natural pectin). I didn't want to used any packaged pectin stuff. It has a ton of sugar, but I only spread a tiny bit on my homemade toast.


      A Dance with Monkeys

        despite their warnings, how forgiving is making jam with Sure-Jell?  Did I just get lucky?  Are there any sort of guidelines to follow on how much a jam recipe can be tweaked? 

         

        Despite the natural variation you mentioned, the volume of sugar in the Sure Jell overwhelms the variation.  In my experience, you need to be pretty tight when you follow their recipes.  That said, the risk is that your jam won't jell and you will either end up with a syrup or just need to reboil with a bit more sugar.

         

        Freezer jams are more foregiving and less sweet, but they don't have the same shelf life.


        A Dance with Monkeys

          I used this recipe with with excellent results. Heavenly strawberry flavor.

           

          It is not clear to me why this would provide enough pectin for the jam to jell.  Also, natural and powdered pectin are identical in their requirements for added sugar, I would think.

           

          Regarding sterilization: I just run my jars through the dishwasher and use new lids.  When I pour in the boiling jam, I invert the jars.  All that boiling acidic liquid finishes the sterilization.  No need to boil the jars for a fruit jam.

           

          Regarding batches: never double a batch.  Make the proscribed batch size as is and make multiple batches if you have a lot of fruit.  LArger batches are less likely to jell and more likely to have fruit unevenly distributed in the juices.


          Home Away From Home

            Ok, Anne here so some help with jammin. I have made hundreds of mason jars of jam of all kinds over the yers, my basement is full of them. In my opinion, toss the pectin, sure-jell additive junk, you don't need it.  You need one recipee book only, Blue Ball cooking book, comes in most stores that sell canning supplies.  Basically, you tkae your fruit, toss in sugar, the longer you cook, the more thick the jam will be when it cools. For jam you want to cook till the hot jam in the pot just hardly oozes off the spoon. You can also stick some on a plate and place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to cool to see what it will end up like. You do need to add sugar but I find you can cut back some, you ust may have to cook longer.  I hate the sure-jell idea becasue you take you nice fresh fruit picked from the garden and then add the additive to it that you don't need. Oh well, that is my advice.

            MM#5768

            "Anyone can do it in ideal conditions"- A quote from a true NE CN runner and friend.


            A Saucy Wench

              get pomona pectin.  That stuff jells every time no matter how much sugar you add or dont add.

               

              I have variety in my results with sure-jell.  My jam from this weekend was surejell and it is a bit on the runny side.

              I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

               

              "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


              A Saucy Wench

                can you re-can jam ?

                 

                I have and will have a bunch of different jams canned in pints and I was thinking of making a sampler variety pack in the cute 4 oz jars for Xmas gifts and stuff if I could just fill with jam and water bath process for 5-10 min.  

                I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                 

                "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7