I made it out to the pickin’ patch (aka Walnut Drive Gardens) Sunday morning and scored roughly 9lbs of sweet, glorious, Ohio strawberries. Mmm….
Diane and I decided that they were just too good to solely be used for jam so we split 5lbs for ourselves and the remaining 4lbs were destined for jam. Classic, old school strawberry jam. My go-to recipe is from my treasured Blue Chair Jam Cookbook.
4lbs of berries, 2 1/2lbs of sugar, and lots of lemon juice and stirring.
Strawberries are a notorious low pectin fruit and most people jam them using commercial pectin or in combination with higher pectin fruits (like citrus). Jamming low pectin fruits on their own, without commercial pectin, takes time. A lot of time. In the case of this classic, old school strawberry jam we’re talking roughly three hours start to finish. Whew!
I washed, hulled and halved the strawberries and added them to my dutch oven along with the sugar and about 3 1/2 ounces of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Over medium low heat I stirred constantly until the berries started releasing their juice and there was some gentle foaming. This took about 35 minutes or so.
Then I gradually raised the heat until we were at full force and the berries were boiling vigorously. This stage requires near constant stirring as well because if you’re not careful the berries can scorch and stick – no good. The jam boiled for about a half an hour and and then I continued to cook the jam for another thirty minutes, again stirring almost constantly.
At this point the jam was shiny, dark red and a bit thick. I added another 2 ounces of lemon juice and cooked just another 5 minutes or so. I tested the doneness via the ol’ spoon in the freezer test and skimmed the remaining foam.
Then it was into the jars and into the water bath canner. Well, minus the few tablespoons I saved for myself. Oh man, soooooooo tasty!!
I am torn on this one. It is so much work and there isn’t too terribly much money to be made. Should we hoard it all for ourselves or share the love at the Haymaker Farmers’ Market? I’m still undecided….