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Jam with or without pectin??

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Jam with or without pectin??

Post  cheyannarach on 1/20/2013, 12:23 pm

I got nine lbs of strawberries and want to try making strawberry jam. I have a few noobie questions though. I have my Ball canning book out and there are several different recipes. So...

What is the difference between Jam and preserves?
Is it better to use lemon, or not, or does it matter?
Is it better to use pectin or not? From my understanding if you cook it long enough the fruits natural pectin will work alone? Is that right?
What is the shelf life? Does the lemon effect shelf life?

I would appreciate any input from you veteran canners out there! I sure love learning from you and your experiences.
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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  donnainzone5 on 1/20/2013, 12:29 pm

Although I've never been a canner, my mother used to make a delicious strawberry or raspberry or blackberry frozen jam.

It did contain lemon juice, and there was no cooking involved. She did use pectin, and somewhat less sugar than normal.
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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  camprn on 1/20/2013, 1:10 pm

cheyannarach wrote:I got nine lbs of strawberries and want to try making strawberry jam. I have a few noobie questions though. I have my Ball canning book out and there are several different recipes. So...

What is the difference between Jam and preserves?
Is it better to use lemon, or not, or does it matter?
Is it better to use pectin or not? From my understanding if you cook it long enough the fruits natural pectin will work alone? Is that right?
What is the shelf life? Does the lemon effect shelf life?

I would appreciate any input from you veteran canners out there! I sure love learning from you and your experiences.

Here is a brief description of the differences of Jelly, Jam, Preserves. Conserves are a mix of fruits and often include nuts.

Strawberries are low in natural pectin, so it is no surprise if it is listed in a recipe.
Fruit pectin levels

If the recipe calls for lemon juice you need to use the bottled juice and not exclude it because it is needed to boost acidity. You will not use pectin for jam in fruits with natural pectin. Jam is a soft spread vs. stiff jelly. I have used jams and jelly 2 years after canning, as long as the seals are intact, the product should be good.

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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  cheyannarach on 1/20/2013, 2:23 pm

Thanks, the part that confused me was in the ball book. There is a recipe for strawberry jam with just sugar and no pectin and there is a recipe with sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Do you think one would be better than the other?
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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  Turan on 1/20/2013, 2:44 pm

It kind of depends on your families preferences. The pectin will make a harder set up. Maybe it would work better in PJ sandwiches by not dripping out? Strawberrys are fairly acidic (as my daughter's bottom informed us when she was a baby) so I am doubting extra is needed except as a flavor balance for the high amounts of sugar.

I never use pectin in jam making, but we really only use jam for spreading on pancakes or mixing in yogurt.

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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  littlejo on 1/20/2013, 5:35 pm

It really depends on the type of strawberries, some are more acidic and some are sweeter. I'd add the lemon juice so the jam does not darken and stays bright. If you prefer not to add the pectin, you can take a raw apple, put in blender with a little water and blend til it's juice, and add to your berries, it should add enough pectin but will not be enough to change the taste.
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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 1/20/2013, 6:00 pm

Hi,
In my opinion adding pectin to your jam or jelly makes it a step easier to success. The directions that come with pectin make it idiot proof. If you are following recipes from a respectable canning source, then you need to follow the directions. As somebody who hates to follow directions, I have read enough different sources to understand that you cannot mess around with canning recipes. Also when you pick strawberries to make jam/jelly you need to pick some berries that are a bit under ripe. The berries will have a white, hard tip. If your berries do not fit this description your jelly/jam might not set. Good luck on your new adventure. It will change the way you purchase jam/jelly for a long time.

Patty from Yorktown
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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  camprn on 1/20/2013, 7:12 pm

I, for some reason, have not had success with powder pectin, so I know it's not idiot proof. What a Face I usually make my own from apples.

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Re: Jam with or without pectin??

Post  cheyannarach on 1/22/2013, 10:44 pm

Thanks so much for all of your help! I made it and it turned out great! I used the pectin and the lemon juice and the in laws say it tastes like Hanner's (my hubby's grandma and the canner of the family). So I am very please! I only used 5 lbs and I got 14 jars!
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