Thursday, May 22, 2008

Canning Success...and a Failure.

I know I haven't posted in a few days but this time I have a very good reason! I've been canning. Yes, canning!

Last weekend my best friend and I went to the strawberry fields to a U-Pick place and I got 18.94 lbs of absolutely gorgeous strawberries with the express idea to can them into jams and to freeze some for use when they aren't in season.

It took forever to get them all washed and hulled. I used the cookie sheet method to quick freeze about 4 quarts of them and the rest went for jams.

The regular recipe in the Ball Book called for so much sugar that I wasn't really thrilled. I did it though and got 8 pints...of syrup. It just didn't set and it is far too sweet for me. I'm not at all looking forward to re-making that jam but I do plan on it in a week or so.

Next I scoured and asked and googled until I reached a consensus on how to make jam with less sugar. Honestly, if jam just tasted like flavored sugar, what is the point?

I settled on 2 batches with Pectin and one back of "slow jam" from a recipe I got from someone online. The 2 batches with Pectin are gorgeous. Tart-sweet, full of the fresh strawberry flavor and firm in texture. Perfect!

The slow jam isn't done yet but I'll report on that progress.

My goal is to not use sugar or sugar substitutes and no purchased products. I know you're shaking your head out there but it must be possible since jam was made before commercial pectin or wide distribution of sugar. I intend to figure that out!

All told, I've gotten 18 jars of jam (or jammy syrup) with a few more to go in this new recipe. Pretty good for 18.94 pounds of berries!

And to close out with my Beagle picture for the day, here is my man Boscoe in back of our house after he was brought up short by the shoreline while chasing after ducks. While that sounds bad, he is actually trying to play with them. Silly Boscoe!

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