June 19, 2012 by Sara Kreidler
Each week, I post either a cooking or canning recipe that uses the week’s featured CSA ingredient. This CSA week 2 recipe post is a bit overdue. Better late than never, right?
I did a lot of canning last year, but didn’t really do anything in the way of jam (except for tomato jam). This year I want to put up enough jam for the kids’ PB&J sandwiches, and for my toast, and hopefully a few extras to give as gifts.
I know a lot of people do small batches of preserves, but I like to go big. So I ordered a flat of strawberries from the CSA, and when all 8 dry quarts of strawberries landed on my counter, I had a moment of panic; 8 dry quarts is a LOT of strawberries.
To make the project more manageable, I broke the strawberries into two, 4 dry quart batches. The recipe below is for just 4 dry quarts of strawberries, which yielded six 12 oz jelly jars of jam. I wanted to make a low-sugar jam, but most pectins rely in part on a high sugar content to get the jam to set. However Pamona’s Universal Pectin works differently and allows you to make low-sugar jams, so I thought I would give it a shot. Unfortunately, none of my books or other canning resources had recipes that used Pamona’s Pectin, so I had to do some major adapting, which was slightly nerve-wracking since this was my first jam experiment.
Using the Food in Jars cookbook, the Ball Blue Book and the instructions that came in the Pamona’s Pectin box as my guides, I came up with the following recipe. If you’ve jammed before using other forms of pectin (liquid or powdered) you will notice that this recipe has far less sugar and a much shorter cooking time; that’s because Pamona’s Pectin doesn’t rely on heat or sugar to achieve a good set (rather, it relies on calcium, and the pectin sets when the jam is cooled, not when it reaches 220 degrees as is the case with liquid pectin), both of which are big wins in my book.
- 4 dry quarts of strawberries
- 5 cups granulated sugar, divided
- Pamona’s Universal Pectin
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- Rinse, hull and quarter the strawberries. Note that if you don’t have an immersion blended as called for in step 5, you should chop the berries at this point instead of just quartering them.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the strawberries with 2 cups of sugar and mix well. Let the bowl sit at room temperature for about a half hour, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, get ready to jam. Prep your canning station. I used 12 oz jelly jars, but you can certainly use a smaller sized jelly jar if you prefer. You will also need to prepare the Pamona’s Pectin calcium water at this point, as explained on the instruction insert that comes inside the box.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine remaining 3 cups of sugar with 4 teaspoons of Pamona’s Pectin powder and mix well. Set aside.
- Pour the strawberries, which will by now be swimming in beautiful red strawberry syrup, into a large enameled pot (the bigger the better — the more surface area you have, the faster the jam will cook down). Add lemon juice and 4 teaspoons of Pamona’s Pectin calcium water to the pot and mix well. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high flame (watch out, it will produce a ton of foam — another reason why a big pot is necessary). Add the sugar/pectin powder mixture to the pot and stir constantly for about 2 minutes so that the sugar and pectin dissolve completely.
- Using an immersion blender, give the syrupy strawberry mixture a few whirls; you don’t want to get rid of all of the chunks of strawberry, so just give it a few quick spins.
- Bring jam back up to a full boil, then remove from heat.
- Fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top, and process for 10 minutes.