Strawberry Sage Jam
I’ve had a hell of a time making jam. I guess at my nice young age of 24, I’ve still got some time to perfect my skill set. A lot of the time my jams don’t set into a solid jelly form, and end up becoming cocktail syrups, but this time, I finally got the consistency right.
I was forced to use Pectin – which always makes me a bit nervous because I don’t believe that it will ever set by only boiling for one minute before canning the mix up. My reaction to the use of Pectin is the same reaction my grandmother had when I told her we didn’t need a paper map anymore… I don’t want anything to do with it, I don’t understand it, I don’t want to understand it, let me live my life without Pectin okay?
Well, I put on my big girl panties and forced myself to learn how to use the dreaded Pectin.
The trick here guys, is to let it come to a rolllllllin boil for exactly sixty seconds, not 58 seconds, not 67 seconds… SIXTY SECONDS. Okay? Okay.
This whole sixty second thing seems easy right? Well, here’s what I had been missing in the past – this is my lightbulb moment of the jelly making process. You’ve gotta let this come to a boil low and slow.
You can’t decide to make jelly 30 minutes before bible study and turn the heat up all the way to high to get your rolling boil… You’re probably going to end up being late for bible study. Just saying.
Okay, so the trick – after you add your Pectin & sugar, leave the jelly on medium/low, and let it come to a full rolling boil. Which is not just a normal rolling boil. Don’t be fooled by this kitchen talk – a full rolling boil means that the mixture still boils even when you stick a tasting stick in it. Or perhaps you might know ‘tasting stick’ as wooden spoon, whatever you want to call it, when you stick it in, and give her a swirl, your jam has to continue boiling – now let that happen for 60 seconds… okay done.
Now you can pour, boil, and preserve this, and you can bet your money that it will’ve set.
A little science, for those of us who now understand pectin (and threw away all the paper maps): the Pectin, sugar, and fruit have to dance (boil) for 6o seconds because some chemistry magic happens during that time. If you boil too long, or boil too short, you’re not going to have a good marriage.
This is difficult for those of us who “don’t like to use recipes” or who “like to make it up as we go”… Anyone with me on that?
Strawberry Sage Jelly
Adapted from the Sure-Jell Pectin Box recipe
- 6 cups chopped strawberries (about 12 cups whole fruit)
- 4 cups sugar
- lots of fresh sage
- 1 packet Sure-Jell Pectin
Step 1: Chop up the berries, getting rid of the stems. Place the berries & sage together in a pot on the stove.
Step 2: Add 1/4 sugar & pectin mix to the fruit, stir together, and let the mix come to a full rolling boil for sixty seconds.
Step 3: Add the remaining sugar, with heat on medium/low, let the mix come back to a full rolling boil. This took me about 20 minutes to reach! Once it gets there, let it boil for precisely one minute (science here), then remove from heat.
Step 4: Pick out the sage leaves, then fill prepared (read: sanitized) jelly jars with the jam. Leave 1/4″ head space.
Step 5: I like to use Weck jars because they are cute, place a clean & unused rubber ring onto the jar, top with a sanitized lid, and add the metal jar locks (do these have a real name?)… Place into a large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes (adjust according to your elevation). You’ll know your jam has set in a Weck jar when the tab of the rubber ring is pointing down.
This jelly is goat approved. Meaning they ate the stems, and also taste tested the jam. While it was cooking. In the house. The goats were in the house.