Canning, Jams

Strawberry Blackout Jam

While browsing my favorite preserving blogs I noticed a link to a 3 Day Strawberry Jam recipe from which was illustrated with a picture that can only be called food porn. The scoop of jam shown is a deep red color, looks silky and shiny and can only be thought to taste unbelievable to match the image.

Scott gleaned the idea from another blog, who pulled together her recipe from three other sources. Which makes my take on the recipe fourth hand at best. You can always follow the links through the recipes to unravel the concept though, I find it interesting reading.

This recipe does take three days, and thus will hog room in the fridge for a couple days. First with fresh berries, then with macerating berries, and finally with partially cooked berries. Its worth the effort, even if just to try it compared to a traditional strawberry jam. One of the finest caveats of this recipe is it lacks pectin, and thus with only the basics of fruit, sugar and acid you can make jam. No last minute run to the store required. Perfect for a long, lazy weekend project.

3-Day Strawberry Blackout Jam
2 pounds of strawberries
1/2 pound of blackberries
4 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of butter (optional, I can never decide if this actually helps with foaming)

Day 1:
Rinse strawberries, hull and chop into chunks. Unless you are worried about the cleanliness of the blackberries do not rinse them as it can strip the delicate flavor away. Add sugar and lemon juice, put into non-reactive container (I used my biggest Rubbermaid container with a nice lid) and then put it in the fridge. Shake or stir a couple times, I shook it every time I opened the fridge to get something else.

Day 2:
Move mixture into a pot large enough to prevent splashing/overflow. Boil for three minutes, adding the butter if you wish, to help with foaming. Return to original container and put back in fridge. Remember that cooling it back to room temperature before putting back in the fridge will help with your power bill as the fridge will have to work hard to adjust for such a large heat difference.

Day 3:
Dig out your jars, lids and bands and sterilize according to common practice. This recipe should make 4-5 12oz jars, but I normally use a mix of half pint and 4oz jars. Put a plate or spoons in freezer if you test your jam using those methods.

Strain the solids from the syrup. Boil the syrup in a large pot until it hits 220 degrees on a candy thermometer (or use an instant read thermometer). Its noted this should take about three minutes of a roiling boil. My stove sucks and took longer. If you like a thicker jam boil a bit past the goal temperature.

Add the solids to the pot and boil til the new mixture hits 220 degrees on your thermometer. Then test the set using your preferred method. Once you are happy with the set of your jam, ladle into hot jars, then process for five minutes in a hot water bath. Store any unsealed jars in the fridge and use within a couple months. Store the rest for up to a year.

Other options/Ideas:
*Use only strawberries. I had some fresh wild blackberries on hand and the husband had said a strawberry/blackberry jam would be nice.
*Try replacing the blackberries with other berries. Blueberries, elderberries, raspberries, etc would make a nice addition as well.
*Add some spices. Wrap some spices in cheesecloth and add to any of the steps. Remove before the final jarring state. Ideas for spices include cinnamon, pepper, allspice, cloves, star anise, ginger, mint, and dried chili peppers.
*Add a dash of flavor. Balsamic vinegar, rum, vodka, etc. A scant shot added right before you jar should work fine and not effect the set of the jam.

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