A couple weeks ago I had a Little House on the Prairie moment and became determined to make strawberry jam with a mountain of fresh farmers market strawberries. I was fairly successful. Actually the jam is delicious, it’s just really really effing sweet. On fresh baked bread it’s kinda perfect though.
My typical cooking style is to read a bunch of recipes and then try to synthesize them instead of just following one. I would say this is generally a moderately successful approach. In the case of this jam I was determined that it was going to “set up” (ie gel), because my one other jam making experience involved cooking delicious cherries we’d picked for what felt like all day and still ending up with cherry syrup. Reading comments on recipes seems to indicate that this is a fairly common problem. So I went ahead and bought some actual pectin (the liquid kind ’cause the powder stuff is full of gross dextrose) and also some chia seeds because I read that they thicken jam too. I figured a two-pronged approach should do the trick. And it did! The jam set! Hooray!
It’s also super strawberry-y and delicious, not to mention pretty. The only mistake I made was not tasting it as I went along with adding the sugar. There’s an insanely wide variety of amounts of sugar in online jam recipes, ranging from 1 cup for 2 quarts strawberries, to 4 cups for 2 quarts, to 7 cups for 2 quarts, to (I kid you not) 7 cups for 1 quart!! Roughly averaging all that, and knowing that sugar is necessary for the pectin to set and that my strawberries weren’t super sweet, I went for 3.5 cups. Too much sugar. Definitely too much sugar. But the addition of the chia seeds added a nice additional flavor and texture and gelledness, and the jam was definitely delicious on the fresh loaf of whole wheat I made. (In the bread maker–Little House on the Prairie moments only go so far.)
Next time here’s the recipe I would use:
2 quarts strawberries
3 tbls lemon juice
2 cups sugar (maybe more, would taste as I went)
Get a strong boil. Add:
Packet of pectin
Strong boil it again. Cool.
1/4 C chia seeds
Put in jars in fridge. Or can I suppose–again, Little House on the Prairie moments only go so far.
Also, here is the Ratty-Cake showing off fuzzy knees and pink tum and two toy fish.