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Old 05-10-2018, 12:24 AM   #1
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ISO help/advice cooking jam

Hey everybody!
I am a complete utter newb, in the canning and jam arena! tried my first hand at making blueberry jam a few months ago,after reading how many fruits have their own pectin, so no need to add any just cook them longer, so off I went! LOVE IT! so far I have made some blue berry ,Strawberry, Raspberry, and a jar of Peach! first adjustment i made was cutting down on the amount of sugar in many recipes! YIKES! I enjoy more tart and taste the nuances of the fruit better.
I have questions on the actual cooking of the jams. boil,simmer etc,? and when to stop? recently , my strawberry preserve I had made for my granddaughter, were a tad loose.? first time ever to be that loose !. when I laid the jars down to send them they moved in the jar! the blueberry sat stiff and nice. re: strawberry. I noticed store bought preserves,have those little tiny red seeds in them, strawberry has more than most. mine does not? is mine wrong , or over cooked? I have not mastered the cool plate thing yet, just been going by how it feels when I am mixing it and how it is when stirring it. eventually i will get better. should certain fruits need some pectin to help?
I noticed blueberry stiffens well. the strawberries are harder to judge the amount needed. I had to cook more to finish filling my jars, the blueberry did not lose as much bulk. still wondering why my strawberries are not as dark as store bought also? one jar is slightly darker than the others. I was surprised how tasty my Peach was! might be a favorite! def like it with chunks!! does more sugar aid in thickening? I was so glad when my jars sucked their caps in real nice! YAY! thank all ahead of time, for reading all my newbie questions!! There is an attached pic of the jams I made for my granddaughter. her birthday is today . she recently added new foods so these will be a pleasant surprise , her name is Eliie, so i called them Ellie Jelly!! (I made the box also!) ENJOY !!!

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Old 05-10-2018, 10:55 AM   #2
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Jams and jellies are generally “done” when they’ve reached a certain temperature. I haven’t canned in a few years, but I seem to remember that they’re supposed reach 220F. Much hotter, and your jam won’t set; it’ll harden!

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Old 05-10-2018, 12:34 PM   #3
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Jam does need to reach 220F to set, and it also does need sugar. Fruits do have pectin, but it's not always enough for a good set. The plate test is really easy, so I would definitely do that. This is just a guess, but it's possible that your strawberry jam is not as dark as commercial because it hasn't cooked long enough.

This article has answers to a lot of your questions, as well as links to more information: http://foodinjars.com/2016/08/jam-didnt-set-what-to-do/
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:45 PM   #4
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GotGarlic is right on with the advice and
the link she posted.

There are a few things I do. I can't bring myself to
use that much sugar, I use I/3 cup sugar to one cup
fruit. I also blend one apple and add for the extra pectin
do not peel the apple. If it is not red enough add a little
beet juice.
The seeds are probably the variety of the strawberry. If
your jam does not set share it as pancake or ice cream syrup.
It will be beautiful .

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Old 05-11-2018, 01:02 PM   #5
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I have always wondered about those seeds in the Strawberry. mine does not have them like that. I did notice one of my jars being darker than the others, guess I cooked one batch longer. and I will need to fix the sugar. when you calculate it is the the amount of cut up fruit or the amount of cooked fruit to measure the sugar? i used maybe a third for the entire 4-5 cups!!
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:21 PM   #6
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I chop most of my fruit in my food processor
for a few seconds and then measure and add
sugar . It works for me

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Old 05-14-2018, 02:58 PM   #7
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One thing I have to mention is the preservative. What do you use in place/as the preservative? Otherwise you better start eating those jams really fast. Small amount of sugar would only make even less time of keeping. Strawberries have more water in them and thus are harder to cook. As far as strawberry seeds, you have just as many as your strawberries had initially. Seeds are not going anywhere.

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