Yesterday I blogged about the old. I wrote about the history of the domestication of the wild strawberry, told about how the popularity of the strawberry spread from Europe to America. I then provided a very old strawberry jam recipe from the kitchen of Abraham Lincoln’s wife Mary.
Today I want to blog about the new–making strawberry jam using a microwave oven or crock pot. While, I am a great proponent of going old school in the kitchen there have been many times in my life, like when I had small children or was working full time, that making use of modern appliances meant the difference between using up produce or letting it go to waste.
These recipes for using a microwave oven or crock pot to make strawberry jam are a great way to go if you are pinched for time.
Microwave Strawberry Jam
This recipe is great for cooking up small quantities of berries that you don’t want to go to waste, but aren’t large enough for a full scale jamming operation.
2 1/2 cups cleaned, hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
In a large and deep microwave bowl of at least 10 cups, combine ingredients. Gently toss together until strawberries are evenly coated with sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the strawberries to juice.
Place the microwave safe bowl on top of a plate, to protect your oven against boil over. Cook on high for intervals of 5 minutes each. Stir gently after each cooking interval. In a 1650 Watt microwave oven total cooking time should be about 15 minutes. Adjust cooking time accordingly depending on the power of your microwave oven.
If the mixture begins to boil over the top of your bowl, carefully remove from microwave and put into larger bowl and continue.
The jam mixture is done when it thickens slightly and gets syrupy. It will thicken as it cools. (If the jam is too thin after being refrigerated it means that it was not cooked long enough. Return it to the microwave and cook for several minutes longer.)
Pour hot jam into a jar and let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.
Crock Pot Strawberry Jam
You will need crock pot that holds at least six quarts for this recipe.
4 pints of fresh strawberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1 packet of powdered fruit pectin
Clean, hull and quarter strawberries. Put into the crock pot. Add the remaining ingredients and gently stir together until berries are evenly coated.
Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 1 hour then stir well. Cook an additional hour and still well once again.
Increase heat to high and cook for and additional 2 to 3 hours until the jam reaches the desired consistency.
Pour into jars and store in refrigerator for up to two months or in the freezer up to one year. For long-term storage process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes and put into sterilized jars and seal.
To check for jam doneness place two or three small-sized plates in the freezer before starting to cook your jam. You want them to get really cold. When you think your jam is done, place a spoonful of the hot liquid on the cold plate and wait for a minute or two. Then, run your finger through the middle of the jam puddle to see if the jam is getting thick enough to not run back into the stripe you just made with your finger. Tip the plate to see if the jam runs. If the jam is still runny looking or just not as thick as you would like it, cook it longer.
Always remember to support your local growers!!!