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Super Fab Glam Strawberry Jam

April 23, 2009
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Okay, that is not really what this jam was titled.  Made from Tessa Kiros cookbook, Apples for Jam, it is much more simply titled, “Strawberry Jam,” but then that doesn’t really do it justice.  Because it is fabulous! Super Fabulous, to be exact. The taste is bright and rich, it had some great little tips and came together nicely.  Glam?  Well, the color is like a 1940’s red lipstick, so much better than the pasty, cloudy looking strawberry jam I made last year.  And so I am re-christening this, as my new go-to strawberry jam recipe, as Super Fab Glam Strawberry Jam.  Doesn’t that sound worthy of a go?
I thought so which is why you find this post here.  Last year was my first go at strawberry jam (although I’ve made blackberry jam for many years now), and I was less than thrilled with my results.  Who knows if it was my fruit, or method, or what, but this year’s far surpasses it.  This was also my first try at one of Kiro’s recipes.  Prior to this her book has been purely reading material and eye candy, but I’m guessing I’ll be dipping back into this volume soon.  I think this Meringue with strawberries and chocolate is calling my name before the strawberry season is over.  Don’t ya think?
(btw: you can check out her cookbook at google books   and see some of the very yummy photos and take a gander at her recipe style….have I mentioned I love google books for previewing books, both for personal and academic consumption?)
img_4449Well, I’ll skip any further swooning over this jam, and get to the recipe straightaway (kind of).  Just a few notes about what I liked about her methods.  First off, she does something I certainly didn’t do last year, and that was have the fruit macerate in sugar and lemon juice overnight.  I like this for two reasons: 1) I’m pretty sure this helps with the color and flavor, and 2) it spreads out the work making it seem like less– I’m a fool for recipes that allow part of the prep the night before; by the next day I’ve forgotten all about that late night labour, and I’m ready to go, feeling ahead of the game.  
I also liked her recommendation for sterilizing the jars by washing and then heating them in the oven.  This is so much more sane and takes less time than boiling away, and solves my wet jars problem I’m had in the past.  Simple, but completely appreciated.
This recipe is also great as a first go at jamming as  you don’t need any special equipment except ingredients and jars because she doesn’t do the hot water bath, but instead uses the flipped jars method.  As another side note– I would not recommend reducing the sugar.  I tried when I doubled this recipe, and mine didn’t gel quite enough.  Still delicious, but a little runny.
Strawberry Jam
adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
3.5 cups strawberries, hulled (this should be about 1 1lb container of strawberries)
1 cup superfine sugar (you should be able to use reg. sugar no problem. I just spun mine in a food processor to superfine it– you can also buy “baker’s sugar”)
juice of 1 lemon
I think this recipe will make about 2 jars of jam as is.  I doubled it and got about 4 good jars.  Next time I’ll be quadrupling it to get a good case, and do a hot water bath to get a longer shelf life from it.
Day 1:
Quarter the strawberries, or cut them up even smaller if they are large.  Put them in a nonaluminum bowl and add the sugar and lemon juice.  Toss them around, cover and refridgerate overnight to draw out juices.
Day 2:
Sterilize your jars before you get started cooking the jam.  Preheat oven to 250.  Wash your jars and lids (although she doesn’t specify this you want to make sure you are using new lids for a good clean seal. You can reuse jars and rings, but buy new lids each time) and rings in hot soapy water, rinse well and place on a baking sheet.  Leave in 250 oven for at least 20 min, or until you are ready to use them.  Let the oven dry the jars–don’t use a dish towel.
Take your **fabulously** already sliced and macerated strawberries (painless labour, right?) out of the fridge and prepare to get jammin’!  Drain off liquid from the strawberries into a large heavy bottomed jam pan.  Add half of strawberries and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for abt. 15 min, until thickened.  Puree until smooth (I used my immersion blender), then add rest of strawberries and bring back to a boil.  Simmer over low heat for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, then test to see if it ready by dropping a heaping tspful onto a plate.  It should not run directly off, but rather cling and slowly glide down.  If it isn’t ready, try cooking it a while longer.  It should have a nice red color and look sticky.  If it doesn’t seem to gelling as you think it should be I would go ahead and seal the jars up anyway.  It may set as it cools or you have just made some super fab glam strawberry syrup for your next bowl of ice cream.
Take the baking tray with the jars out of the oven when your jam is ready.  Be prepared with some handy towels or hot pads in case you need to turn or move the jars–they will be HOT! Spoon the jam into the jars, avoiding spills onto the edges.  If you do get a spill, wipe clean carefully with a dampened clean cloth.   You don’t want any spilled jam where your seal will go.  Put lids and rings on and turn upside down.  Cover with a dish towel and leave overnight or for a couple hours until cool.  This will create a suction seal.  She says they will last for about 6 weeks like this.  Once you open them, refrigerate and use quickly.  I’ve made other jams, and if you have a good seal with new lids then they should last a bit longer than 6 weeks unopened.  I’m pretty sure that if you do a 15 min. hot water bath they should be good for at least 12 months on the shelf, but don’t quote me on that quite yet.
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