So I was going to write a post about pectin being a conspiracy to make money off of an industrial by-product, and my technique for making pectin-less jam (OK, not really my technique, since I adopted and adapted it from many others' recipes), but apparently I already did that last year. (Also, apparently "apparently" is a word I use a lot, because Z says it all the time, which contrasts quite amusingly with his efforts to use "ain't" and double-negatives in an acquired rural Maine patois).
So instead, I'll just tell you about the jams you see here:
On the far left, rhubarb-ginger, next in line, rhubarb-grapefruit, on the right strawberry.
For rhubarb-ginger, I used about 5 cups rhubarb and about 4 cups sugar* (I say "about" because I lost track of sugar and so added more rhubarb in case I used too much), plus a couple tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger and the juice of one lime. It did not seem very gingery at first, but was more so after it sat (I'm thinking about using some of that Ginger People ginger spread next time). Also, the lime is the perfect touch.
For rhubarb-grapefruit, I used this recipe from Rachel at The Slow-Cooked Sentence. Except I wasn't sure what she meant by peel the zest, so I just grated off only the outermost yellow part of the peel. It has a bitter-tart marmalade kind of flavor that is warming and nourishing and will be lovely to eat near the fire next winter, if it lasts that long.
For the strawberry, which I made in two separate batches in two separate pans at once, I crushed four cups of strawberries, boiled them for a few minutes, strained out the fruit, returned the juice to the pan and added four cups of sugar. I boiled the juice/sugar mixture for a good long while, until it started to gel on a saucer that had been sitting in the freezer for a bit, then added the fruit back in and boiled (which much more frequent stirring) while I boiled the jars and prepared to can it all. It ended up quite foamy, but I couldn't figure out how to skim off the foam without losing fruit, so there's a little foam cap in each jar. I hope it doesn't compromise the quality of the jam.
For all jams, I return the jars of hot jam to the boiling water bath for five minutes to ensure total destruction of all bacteria and mold.
Do you make jam? What is your favorite kind to make? Do you have any ideas for yummy additions to strawberry jam (I was thinking lavender...)?
*I know, I know, the quantity of sugar is alarming, but I've tried low-sugar, no-sugar (using fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate or honey) and it never comes out as pretty or jammy. And I'm always worried that the dark jam is hiding pathogens.