So while I shouldn't have been excited (actually, thrilled) over the 16 quarts of slightly mushy, overripe local strawberries sitting in the buddy (free) bin on Wednesday, I was.
I snagged all those strawberries in a heartbeat and promised I'd bring people jam the next day. I decided to use a "Basic Strawberry Jam" recipe from a book called something like "The busy person's guide to canning" (I'm just busy because I'm canning, so I don't know if this book is for me).
I thought it was odd that the recipe didn't call for pectin, but it called for astronomical quantities of sugar, so I figured that would help it set up once it reached the jelly point (220F). So I purchased 36 cups of fair trade, organic cane sugar, 3 more cases of canning jars (I had one) and high-tailed it home. At this point it was 6pm. Probably a little late to start a quadruple batch of jam, but nevermind that.
The jam went according to plan until I had it all sealed up and processed. It had passed the "does it run off a cold spoon in single drops or sheets" test decently. It was a little thinner than usual, but I figured it would just be a softer set kind of jam. Wrong. More like a not-set-at-all type of jam.
So my 42 jars of strawberry jam were delayed until last night. I opened each jar, resterilized the jars, reboiled the jam, and added plenty of pectin this time. Bingo! Forget any risky low acid fruit jams without pectin for this girl. I'm sticking with the sure thing.
As I was eating the jam straight-up out of a spoon last night, I realized that I'd never had homemade strawberry jam. Usually I'll try something before I make 42 jars of it. But, really, who wouldn't like homemade strawberry jam?