Sunday, May 22, 2022

Blue Chair Jam Cookbook: Grown-Up Strawberry Jam

Whenever we start getting into fresh produce season, I start getting itchy to make jams with all of the goodness.  I just can't bear to see all those luscious berries go to waste.  It's a way to capture them at their absolute peak and enjoy them the rest of the year.  This jam is a little thinner than I'm used to, but that just makes it perfect for dessert sauces.  The Drambuie gives it a little extra flavor kick.

Note: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of powdered pectin to make the jam thicker.

Grown-Up Strawberry Jam
From Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

3 pounds 14 ounces hulled strawberries
2½ pounds granulated sugar
6 ounces strained freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided use
2½ ounces Drambuie

Place a saucer with five metal teaspoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing the jam later.

In an 11- or 12-quart copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive kettle, combine the berries with the sugar and 4 ounces of the lemon juice.  Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula.  After a few minutes, as the juice starts to run and the mixture begins foaming a little around the edges, gradually raise the heat to high, stirring often.

Boil the mixture vigorously for 20 to 30 minutes, gently scraping the bottom of the pan every few minutes with your spatula to be sure the jam is not sticking.  If it begins to stick, decrease the heat slightly, being sure the jam continues to cook at a rapid boil.  Continue to cook, stirring and scraping the bottom frequently, until the foam subsides, the mixture acquires a darker, shinier look, and the berries appear softened and saturated with liquid, 20 to 25 minutes total.

Remove from the heat.  Do not stir.  Let the mixture rest for a moment, then use a metal soup spoon to carefully skim all the white foam from the top of the mixture.  When you have removed every last bit of white, stir in the remaining 2 ounces of lemon juice and the Drambuie.  Return the jam to medium or medium-low heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently.  If necessary, gradually lower the heat to prevent scorching.

After 3 to 5 more minutes, your jam should again look glossy and dark.  At this point, remove from the heat and test for doneness.  Do not stir.  To test for doneness, carefully transfer a small representative half-spoonful of jam to one of your frozen spoons.  Replace the spoon in the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove and carefully feel the underside of the spoon.  It should be neither warm nor cold; if still warm, return it to the freezer for a moment.  Tilt the spoon vertically to see how quickly the jam runs; if it runs slowly, and if it has thickened to a gloppy consistency, it is done.  If it runs very quickly or appears watery, cook it for another couple of minutes, stirring, and test again as needed.  This jam, while spreadable, has a relatively loose texture.

When the jam is ready, skim all the remaining foam from its surface, then stir well to be sure the berries and liquid are evenly distributed.  Pour the jam into sterilized jars and process according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes 5 to 6 8-ounce jars

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