There is a booth at the Farmer’s market that makes the best stuff, she was a big inspiration that got me past the awful, heat and humidity filled childhood memories of canning with my mom (I mean, I’m thankful I have a mom that makes stuff, that taught me to make stuff, I just had no fun canning back then, in a midwest kitchen with no A/C). The downside, (never mind the price which I’m happy to pay as a treat) she only sells at one market, the huge crazy, shuffle your feet because you are surrounded by people on all four sides market downtown. Instead we tend to frequent the surrounding neighborhood markets that are smaller and slightly less crowded.
Back to the jam. Until now I’ve avoided trying to recreate her strawberry-lemon jam (or is it marmalade, I think it is more jam than marmalade, obviously I need to buy another jar to taste-test). But we bought half a flat of strawberries last week, ate the first pint as a road trip snack and the second as strawberry shortcake. 4 pints left for jam and a bag of organic lemons in the fridge.
I’m really into making my jam with Pomona’s Pectin. The basic recipes included are lower in sugar than most jams, but then I browse my other books for flavor-boosting variations. This is how I make our blueberry-lime jam. And so it is where I started for the strawberry-lemon jam of my dreams. 4 cups mashed strawberries (my 4 pints weighed in ~36 oz and gave me just shy of 2 cups – I tossed a small handful of frozen berries in to reach that mark), 2 cups sugar (max amount is still so much lower than my Ball book), juice of one lemon, zest of 2 lemons, the calcium water and pectin. Yield was 5 half-pints (and one spoonful for slurping). While I did lick the spoon, the spatula, the jar funnel and the pan once it cooled I don’t think it is the jam of my dreams.
An aside: anyone know how to get strawberry jam to not have those aesthetically marring air bubbles?
Back in 2010 I made two batches of blueberry lime jam, we gave most of one batch away and ate all of the other. We were quite sad when we got down to the last jar. For some reason in 2011 I didn’t make it, but I did make blackberry jam (which didn’t go over as well for whatever reason). So this year I wanted to make sure to make another batch. And I’m trying to get better at recording my notes during canning.
3 pints of blueberries yielded about 2 1/2 cups of mashed berries. I add the zest of one lime and use lime juice for my added acid. With pomona’s pectin I use the full amount of sugar, 2 cups.
Since I had 1/2 cup of mashed blueberries I decided to experiment a little bit. I also had almost a pint of strawberries and almost a pint of raspberries from this weekend I went ahead and mashed up the remaining strawberries and about half the raspberries – this gave me 1 1/2 cups of mashed berries. I added a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, the remainder of vanilla bean pods from a batch of vanilla sugar (plus the remaining tablespoon of sugar) and 3/4 cup of sugar. Oh and I used raspberry vinegar for my added acid. I’m geekily calling it Tri Vanilla Berry Jam.
I first heard of Blueberry Lime jam on the Little Red Bike Blog. Then PDX Knitterati mentioned it. I had to make it. Batch #1 was a half-batch, just 3 half-pints. But it confirmed – this was a must-make jam. I did make it a bit more lime-centric, using a full lime’s worth of zest instead of half a lime’s zest.
Batch #2 was a full-batch, but still small, 5 half-pints (I really thought I’d manage a 6th jar, but it was only half-full). To get 4 cups of mashed blueberries I had to mash about 7 cups of whole blueberries. I used Pomona’s Pectin , the full sugar amount (2 cups), lime juice and the zest from one lime.
Time: cleaning berries started at 8 pm, full jars went in the canner at 11:30 pm…