Friday, 5 July 2013
Okay... This is New... I Made Strawberry Jam and It Set!
So. I have made three batches of strawberry jam in the last couple of weeks and they have all set. Beautifully. This is a very new experience for me; my strawberry jam has traditionally been on the runny side. The reason is that I bought and tried Bernardin's No Sugar Needed Pectin.
I'm feeling a bit strange about this, because I am not usually very inclined to write about the products of mega-gigantico international corporations. Au contraire. But this is the first time ever that I have used pectin and had it work. Moreover, I've made a batch of each of three suggested variations, and they all worked equally well.
While this is "no sugar needed" pectin, you can use sugar if you want. My first batch was made as they suggest, with 4 cups strawberries, 1 cup fruit juice and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Compare this to regular jam recipes - the sugar used is way lower. Next, I made a batch with Splenda for my dad, the sweet-toothed diabetic. Finally I made a batch with no sugar, just the strawberries and fruit juice, for my mom, who is on a low-sugar diet and who isn't quite so inclined to sweets. I used a mixture of lime juice and water for my fruit juice in the first batch, and grape juice for the other two batches. They all set up equally well.
My measurement of strawberries got bigger and bigger with each batch I made; I should really concede that the last batch had a good solid 5 cups of strawberries in it. Worked fine. This really seems to be pretty fool-proof stuff.
The ingredients are simple enough; dextrose (a sugar), fruit pectin, citric acid, and calcium ascorbate (a form of vitamin C. No problems there.
I didn't skim my jam, which jam recipes have always said to do. Mine always took so long to set up (assuming it did) that any foam had lots of time to settle out before the jam set. Not this time. The foam managed to make it about two-thirds up the jar before it was caught and set, so my jam looks a little funny. Ho hum. I can live with that.
I've had a number of people recommend Pomona pectin to me, but the trouble is I live in the sticks. It's the products of mega-gigantic international corporations, or local farmers, with nothing in between. In short, I can't get it. Therefore, I really don't know how well it would compare.