Friday, 5 July 2013

Okay... This is New... I Made Strawberry Jam and It Set!

Strawberry Jam

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.


TheSweetOne said...

Have you tasted it yet? I've found the Bernardin jam flavour to be quite different from the Certo...curious about your thoughts on it.

Ferdzy said...

Yes, I ate my photographic model! I was happy with the flavour and can't say I noticed anything besides strawberry and lime. I have nothing else to compare it to; I haven't used Certo in years. (I might as well admit - that's the brand that has NEVER worked for me.) The texture is not quite traditional, which is not surprising since it is cooked form MUCH less time and uses MUCH less sugar. I would say I do like the effect of both of those things.

RuckusButt said...

Good to know! I will have to try it. We've found it hit or miss whether things set using certo powder and liquid pectin. I have huge problems getting hot pepper jelly to set. This year, my strawberry jam and strawberry-rhubard jam set like nobody's business. Had the same issue with bubbles setting up even though we did stir & skim for a few minutes.

We had taken to using the "no pectin" long boil jams in bernardin's recipe book.

Is there a reason not to like Bernardin? I figure a big company whose main gig is canning is still a pretty good company to

Ferdzy said...

Ruckus, I don't know of anything against Jarden (the owners of the Bernardin brand). On the other hand, I don't know anything much about them, either. I'll certainly continue to buy Bernardine brand... not like there's much alternative out there that's readily available and affordable.