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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mixed Berry Jam - Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry

A Thursday morning breakfast - sourdough toast with butter, cheese and jam.

I've been jamming again. Spring is here and I've moved from Winter's citrus to Spring's berries. I didn't post about this year's plain strawberry and strawberry/ginger, 'cause hey, you can check out those posts from Springs past. (Strawberries and ginger are still magically delicious!)

 Strawberries, ready for squashing.

There is one of those cute, little, white strawberry huts near my in-law's house. A nice family sells berries and other produce from their small farm. We stop there on Wednesday nights and I usually don't have time to jar the berries until the weekend. Several people have sent me a link to this article about using white vinegar to prevent berries from getting moldy. It really works! I simply swish the whole berries in the vinegar water, drain them back in their little baskets and put them in the fridge. They have dried slightly, but have still been delicious. This has saved me the regret of over-buying and waisting precious fruit.

 Raspberries, being squashed.

The only draw back to well stored berries is that they get eaten. This is not really a problem, but I ended up with fewer than anticipated by Sunday. So, I decided to experiment and add some other berries. The strawberries predominate, but the others add a nice tang and unmistakeable berry color.

Here's the blend. I used 1/3 cup of my homemade green apple pectin to help with texture and it worked like a charm. I'm watching the little green apples on my in-law's tree and will make more of this concentrated pectin in June.

Mixed Berry Jam
4 cups lightly mashed strawberries
8 oz. lightly mashed blueberries
6 oz. lightly mashed raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup apple pectin
3 1/2 cups sugar

Mix berries, lemon juice, apple pectin and sugar. Set aside to macerate while you prepare your jars and equipment, or overnight.

Prepare 6 half-pint jars and lids. Prepare the boiling water bath. Place some saucers and spoons in the freezer.

Place the fruit mixture in a large pot with a heavy bottom. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly and boil gently until thickened. I found that this jam did not need to get up to the usual 220 degrees. Stir frequently to avoid scorching. As it thickens, begin to test by scooping out a small amount into one of the spoons from the freezer and place the spoon back in the freezer on one of the saucers. Once cool, push the jam with your finger. When it wrinkles, it is ready.

When ready, remove from heat and skim any foam. Carefully ladle into hot prepared jars, wipe the rims and top with lids and rings. Process in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove to a towel lined tray and allow to cool overnight before labeling. Enjoy!

Makes 6 half-pint jars.

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