Monday, March 30, 2009
Caramel Strawberry Jam - NOT a recipe
Well, it is a recipe. Sort of. That I messed up. :-(
I wasn't meant to be caramel strawberry jam. It was meant to be my very first batch of real strawberry jam. Made from local (greenhouse) strawberries from the farmstand down the road, made without added chemicals like CERTO, or organic pectin (since I didn't have any).
And I messed it up. Turned my head for a second, and......Hello caramel strawberry jam!
Well, the good news is....I learned from it. Plus it actually tastes ok. Not great, kind of difficult to get out of the jar, lol, but that's alright. It still works on my breakfast and on the waffles we made the other day.
I started out with about a gallon of strawberries from the local "Bush n'Vine" farmstand. I cleaned them and cut them into chunks. Then I weighed them and luckily (!) ended up with roughly 1000 g (35 ounces, or 2.2 lbs) of strawberries.
In a generous bowl, I added 1000g of sugar (4.3 cups), and the juice from one lemon.
I mixed all of this well, covered with plastic wrap, and let sit for 24 hours. By that time, the berries had released a lot of juice.
I poured all of this into a thick-bottom pot and warmed to a boil with close supervision (obviously, this should read meticulous since my level of supervision was not enough!). I used a skimmer to skim off the foam every now and then and a brush dipped in water to clean the sugar crystals off the sides.
So the recipe says to look for the jam "jellying up" or forming a skin on top - that's how you know it is done. Or you can do the "jelly test" on a clean, cool plate to see if your jam jellies or not.
This is where I lapsed. All of a sudden I started smelling caramel or toffee (which I love) and by the time I figured out that it was the jam......ah well.
I then continued by pouring the jam into cleaned, sterilized (in oven) glassjars. I let the jam cool and then tightly screwed on sterilized lids. Since I was planning on eating this jam within 2 months, I did not go through the canning process, but instead I am keeping it in the fridge.
Yes, I know....there are no pictures of the final product. I was too disappointed to take some. My dear fiance claimed it tasted just fine, and I felt a little better after that, but still.....
So, time for fess-up.....how was your first foray into jam or jelly making? Was it a complete success, or utter failure? Care to share with me some of the possible mistakes I might make next time? :-)