Marge Braker, a retired home economics teacher demonstrates how to make small batch jam using fresh strawberries, sugar, ...
and other simple ingredients.
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Hello! I am Marge Braker, and I am with Preserve and today we are going to make small batch fresh strawberry jam because strawberries are in peak of season right now in Oregon.
This is a very easy recipe and it calls for fresh strawberries sliced and I have three cups here. If I were going to buy fresh berries in that little pine basket, I would use about one-and-a-half baskets of berries or four cups of whole berries but basically it's three cups sliced berries, one cup of sugar, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice that I have pre-measured.
Today, just to add a little interest to this small batch, strawberry jam. I am going to add a tablespoon of diced candied ginger. You can add more but I recommend to start with just one tablespoon unless you really like hot jam because sometimes ginger can really add some heat.
Then, stir this up, and then I am going to move over to the stove, turn the heat on high, and just start cooking it. The advantage of making a small batch jam is that it cooks very quickly, and you are using a smaller amount of fruit and sugar but you are also doing it in a wide pan, and the wide pan allows for the moisture in the fruit to evaporate quickly.
So you end up with making a jam in about 10 minutes. You make a small amount; about a cup, cup-and-a-half. It depends on how much evaporation is needed. You end up with a full. So what I like about it is you can have strawberry jam in small amounts and then maybe some plum and maybe some apricot, maybe some peach without having 110 jars in your pantry. So I like small batch really well.
Now, berries are, one of those, especially strawberries, they hold different amounts of moisture. So sometimes this batch will cook up in five minutes and sometimes it will take eight minutes just because the amount of -- if it's been real rainy, and how big the berry is, how much water it's holding within it's tissues?
And along side here, I have a bowl that's sitting in some ice water, and this is one of the steps that you will want to do ahead of time, so if you have a nice chilled bowl, you could also put it in your freezer. Because when this starts to boil and gets to the stage where it's starting to thicken a little bit, you want to test it.
You want to test it to see whether it's jelled yet, and a jam like this is not going to be really -- you don't want it real stiff set. You want a jam that isn't overcooked. That's one of the nice things about this recipe.
So go ahead and start testing it. I will show you the steps, but you need to have your bowl chilled ahead of time. So this is starting to boil, it smells lovely. You could use an electric skillet as long as you keep stirring, sometimes they tend to heat spot. This is really rolling boil now, and you can see the steam coming off it. A lot of moisture evaporating fairly quickly.
Starting to form a syrup. It's still pretty hot liquid. It is almost ready. I am going to turn down the heat, and I am going to do a little test to see -- first I will take off some of this foam, and I am going to take about a teaspoon or half-a-teaspoon of the jam, and put in my cold bowl.
I am just going to let it sit there for a few seconds, and if it runs. You can see how this is, it runs, not like a syrup, but it's just starting to set up. I am going to give another minute, and then I am just going to go ahead, and put it in a jar. I will turn down the heat a little bit.
This jam is not a precise. That's one of the reasons I like it. It's kind of guess, and no matter how you do it, it's delicious. And if it's a little bit too soft, I say put on pancakes.
The only thing it probably won't work for is the peanut butter jelly and jelly sandwich that you want to take with you, because the jam might just run out of the sandwich.
Okay. I am calling that good. At this point, I am going to fill the jar. Since this is such a small batch, I am guessing, I will use -- I will make one eight ounce jar and then have ready a four ounce jar. If you are making jam and doing anything with the boiling water canner, you have to have one of these handy gadgets; jar lifter.
We have got the hot pad. We'll start putting our jam in the jar, little blob there. I am going to fill it to about an eighth of an inch from the top. Then I have this handy little gadget I like which is a magnet for my lids which have been soaking and boiling water.
Well, I have got one step here. Always make sure you wipe the rim of your jar, so that you don't have any jam that might interfere with the compound on the lid, and prevent your jar from sealing in the canner. Put on your rim, and it gets hot and then just give it a little tight.
Put that in the jar, and I am not using a big water bath canner, I am just using a big soup pot because as long as I have an inch of boiling water over the top of the jar, I don't need a huge cauldron. So you can be really flexible in kind of pots that you use.
These rubber scrapers really come in handy. Little more dab in there, and then I think what we have is enough for the little table, the table dab I call it. I have got this little four ounce jar, tap that down. Water comes. When the water comes back to a boil, then I am going to time it for 10 minutes.
The reason we give it a hot water bath is, during processing so that you can destroy any mold spores or yeast cells that may cause the jam to spoil while it's sitting on the shelf.
So anything that comes out of boiling wanter canner, you can just put on your shelf, and it will stay there a year or more, and you don't need to worry about it. But, with many jams, you want to use them up quickly within a year because strawberry especially after a year, you will notice, it will have gotten quite dark in the jar. But, the boiling water ensures that you never get moldy jam.
We are done. Now we are ready to take our jars out of the processor, and be sure when you open the lid, put it away from you, so you don't get steam in your face. With your handy-dandy jar lifter, you just pull out your jars and put them on a towel just in case your counter is real cold.
You don't want to put a hot jar on a cold counter, especially with people who have granite, might want to be a little careful about that. Then we just let them sit for 12-24 hours until they cool. And that's jam.