Jam making is an art, not a science. A slight variation in temperature, mixture or the berry variety used will cause your jam to be a different consistency each time. But remember, good ingredients will give you a good tasty product and practice will teach you how to get the jam your family prefers. There are no ‘failed jams’ since you can always enjoy ‘berry topping’ for pancakes or ice cream!
There are many good fruit pectins on the market. When you use these products, follow the directions carefully. The recipes will vary for freezer jam, no-cook jam, microwave jam, stovetop cooked jam, low-sugar or ‘light’ jam and no sugar jam.
- Do not reduce sugar or use sugar substitute. The exact amounts of sugar, fruit and pectin are necessary for a good set.
- Use fully ripe fruit at room temperature to help sugar dissolve. Do not use overripe fruit.
- Crush berries 1 cup at a time, using potato masher. With food processor, pulse to chop fruit; do not purée; jam has bits of fruit.
- Do not double recipes. Mixture may not set.
- It is natural for strawberries to float to the top as the jam cools. Depending on your processing method, you can either stir occasionally as they cool or as you open jars for use. Always refrigerate jam after opening jars.