Couple weeks ago I came into about 10 pounds of strawberries that were just about to be past their prime. I don't know about you but middle of winter is not when I imagine myself to be eating 10 pounds of strawberries just as a snack. So what to do with them?
I could dry them in my oven into strawberry chips. But the last batch of those I made are really only good in oatmeal with a bit of honey drizzled on top.
Maybe I should try making some jam.
Background: I've been canning for a number of years. Mostly apple stuff: apple sauce, apple butter, apple slices, apple pie filling. But I have branched out into tomato sauce. I did can some blueberry jam for the first time this past summer and I had to sneak a jar out to my parents' house so Nick (my husband) didn't eat it all before I could share. So that was successful. I also made homemade cranberry sauce and canned that - though weirdly I used more cranberries than the recipe called for and got fewer pints than it said it would make. Figure that one out.
So here's the scene: Me in my kitchen, with 10 pounds of strawberries, and a canning recipe. I cook the strawberries down and add the pectin. Now the recipe calls for powdered pectin. I only have liquid.
What's the big difference? I say to myself as I'm pouring the packet into the bubbling strawberry mass on the stove.
Apparently a lot.
Add the sugar and we're off to the races. I have all my piping hot jars ready and waiting, my jar lids are in some very hot water, and I have all the rings I'll need. I fill each jar to allow the proper headspace and process them in the boiling water canner. Then I pull them out and let them rest on the counter. For the rest of the night I get to hear the satisfying plink of jars sealing.
Next morning, I can't resist popping open one of the 1/4 pint jars I'd made to see how it had come out. It came out alright. My strawberry jam is actually strawberry sauce... Not to say it's not delicious but it doesn't have the same effect when you're pouring jam onto your toast as when you're spreading delicious bits of jam.
So when I next attempt strawberry jam I'm going to actually follow the recipe and use the powdered pectin. But in the mean time, I'll just be over here figuring out what else strawberry sauce goes well on.