My kitchen smells like strawberry jam

CSA Rhubarb and a Canning Book from the Library

Our monthly “craftogether” event turned into a “cantogether” instead. Canning is a craft though, isn’t it? Yes, I think canning could be considered a craft. So we three crafty gals got together with a bunch of CSA strawberries, CSA rhubarb, Maine blueberries and had a regular ‘n Bitch meeting minus the Stitch.

Local Blueberries and Rhubarb

I had bragged about how delicious and beautiful Gloria Nicol’s Blueberry-
Rhubarb-Lime Jam
was that I made a couple of weeks ago so we made a batch of that. Both times I’ve made Gloria’s recipe I’ve had to add a packet of liquid pectin to get it to set up like jam and not like pancake syrup.

Blueberry Rhubarb Lime Jam

We sterilized the jars in the dishwasher on the extra heated rinse cycle (my hot water heater is set at 185 degrees F so it isn’t hard to get a sterile cycle through my dishwasher).

Sterilizing Jars

The second recipe we used was from a link Marissa at Food in Jars had to linked to from her Facebook page: Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam. This was the recipe that we will probably remember forever! After slow-roasting strawberries and rhubarb in the oven I started to ladle the fruit into the sterilized jars. Then there was juice at the bottom of the tray – well, I can handle making a little funnel from the aluminum foil. Strawberry-rhubarb juice spilled up and out of the tiny jar and all over the stove top. What fun! What a mess!

The adventure did not stop there! My friend was peppering me with questions about “head space” and certainly my head was in space because I thought the jars didn’t look overfilled. Uh-uh. After processing in the boiling water bath for ten full minutes I plucked the jars out and all but one was leaking from the lid. Can anyone tell me how much head space I should have left for this type of un-jam? The fruit plumped way up in size inside the jars and were trying to evacuate through the lids. Whoa! I don’t remember ever encountering this while canning with Mom.

We ended up rejarring the jam into larger jars and leaving an inch of headspace instead of the paltry quarter inch from the first try, and reprocessed the batch. No leaking! The lids sealed and the color is amazing. I’m thinking this one’s going to be brilliant on my sourdough English muffins, or as a pancake compote.

Low-Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

But as you can see the berries again pushed way up to the lid and there’s no visible head space. It is delicious though!


4 thoughts on “My kitchen smells like strawberry jam

  1. Shame I can’t come round next time to make my blueberry lime jam for you without pectin, not that adding it is a big deal or anything. I hardly ever add extra pectin to my jams. Since starting to can and so following the US market more, as canning hasn’t happened here yet! I am amazed by how often pectin is used in the US. Seemingly noone ever makes a jelly without it. Last summer I canned some whitecurrant juice to use to boost pectin in my jams but it is still in the cupboard waiting to be used. Pectin is sold as a product that will not only help jam to set but also will cut down on cooking time, so the flavours should be fresher too. Perhaps I just cook my jam longer. Having said that, I don’t find the taste compromised by the extra cooking and I prefer to not be tied into buying another branded product. Also perhaps I am prepared to accept slight variations in the set, batch on batch?
    Your event sounds like great fun and I wish I could come along sometime. x

    • You are welcome in my kitchen anytime Gloria! I’m not a fan of the commercial pectin products either but I haven’t taken the leap into making my own pectin yet. No currants in my neck of the woods, I hear apples make a good homemade pectin.

      Thanks for the inspiration – I think I’ll pull “homemade pectin” to the top of my to-do list and give it a try. Stay tuned!

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