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 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? :-)


Mrs. JP said...

Well, I must say that yours doesn't sound all that bad but I know how it is when it's not exactly as you pictured. But it sounds like a good ice cream topping to me!
My first jam experience was Mango freezer jam. So easy and so good because you don't cook the fruit and so it always tastes like fresh fruit. Second experience was under the close supervision of my mom and we made old fashion strawberry jam. Also, a treasured memory because we did it together. She cans everything and now we're getting the hang of it and JP cans BBQ sauce and his hot sauce as well.

YD said...

It actually sounds good, Caramel and Strawberry.
My first jam making experience was about 2 or 3 years ago. We have a friend who owns a farm stand, gave us a box(I don't know the size) of strawberries that are not good enough to sell but still good to make jam with. I went on the internet and found a recipe and made my very first strawberry jam!

Lena said...

To Mrs. JP: Good idea for the ice-cream topping! I will have to try that - sounds delicious. I've saved JPs recipe for hot sauce for the fall - we're growing some hot peppers this year (my fiance is from NM!). Can't wait to try it.

To YD: See, everyone starts with strawberry jam! I'm sure I'll have better luck next time. Especially since we'd like to can some jam and give away at the wedding as favors. :-)

inadvertent farmer said...

I started canning around age 6 under the supervision of my grandma and mother...any bad batches could be blamed on them, lol!

I can a lot of jams and jellies and my biggest pet peave is when they just don't firm up enough (I don't usually use pectin)...but those batches are just used for waffles and pancakes or on cereal, yum!

My biggest canning blunder was homemade pasta sauce which I was too lazy to seed the tomatoes, mistake. They made the sauce have an off taste as well as make my children concerned!

Good for you on your first will get nothing but easier from her on! Kim

YD said...

I forgot to comment on your new look. I like the header of Kane. Guess you don't call it Sleeping Dog Bakery for no reason. :)