just me

Mixed Berry Jam

In sweets on March 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

Sweet, sticky, and delicious.

Guess what, guys – I made jam! I’ve never made it before, but I’ve always been intrigued by the process of turning whole fruit and sugar into a cohesive, spreadable mass. So, of course, I decided to experiment. I was a little bit daunted at first by the fact that none of my local supermarkets carry pectin, which by all accounts, is necessary for a successful jam. Pectin, you see, is apparently what hold it all together and causes it to thicken. So yeah, stupid supermarkets strike again.

Instead, for this jam, I relied on the fact that all fruits contain natural pectin in small amounts. I figured that with enough tender loving care, I could make a success of it anyway. Pectin – who needs it? Believe it or not, it actually worked! They consistency was perfect – it’s a bit thicker than most jams, even. If you don’t really like a thick jam, just don’t cook it as long. Really, feel free to take it off the heat whenever you like.

I made a mixed berry jam, because Florida berries are just coming into season and they looked beautiful. Use the best, ripest berries you can find – sweet, with intense color. I’m not sure if this pectin-free method will work with other fruits – if you’d like to experiment, please let me know how it turns out! Otherwise, stick to the berries. Your actual strawberry-to-raspberry-to-blueberry ratio can be whatever makes you happy.

Mixed Berry Jam

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed berries (I left the blueberries and raspberries whole, and chopped the strawberries)

additional 1/4 cup each strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

2 cups sugar

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the 2 cups berries and the sugar, stir to coat.

Combine the 1/4 cup of each berry in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Add puree to saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until desired consistency is reached. Mine took about 15 minutes, but once the foam is almost gone from the top you know it’s ready.

Remember that the jam will have a thinner consistency when it’s hot, so judge by the residue on the spoon you’ve been stirring with. It will cool quickly between stirs, and you’ll see the true consistency.

And don’t worry if you overcook it a little – as long as you don’t actually burn it, it will just get thicker. If it turns out to be too thick to spread nicely, just nuke it for 20 seconds or so right before use.

See how nice and easy that was? Don’t you feel all domestic and stuff?

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