Of course, it is jam we're talking about, and when I make preserves for holiday gift giving, the sugar does play a certain role in that respect. Most pectin demands sugar to work, and while I'm always playing with low-sugar options like Pomona's and Ball's, but sometimes having the convenience of perfectly proportioned ingredients trumps fancy-dancy fine tooling. Since I can a lot of things at a time to conserve energy (water bath canners take forever to heat up!), by jam #4 I'm getting ready to call it a day. Not willing to toss the ingredients into the freezer for another day, thereby admitting defeat, I pulled out one of my fail-safe jamming secrets when time is short - sugar with pectin already added and mixed in. Using the bag of that set up a ton of strawberries and rhubarb, and thanks to the natural thickening properties of rhubarb, the mix gelled more than the directions say it will (meaning less sugar per serving!).
Since it still seemed a bit too sweet for my taste, and mom loves the combination of strawberries and black pepper, I chopped up a handful of my beautiful, zippy homegrown nasturtium blossoms and tossed them in with a dash of white pepper for interest! The floral peppery-ness really amps up the fresh flavours of the berries, and is definitely something I will continue to do!
Are you a fan of savoury and sweet combinations (like pepper and strawberries)?
Shared with Gluten Free Fridays
Makes 8 cups, 64 2-tbsp servings
600g (~4.2 cups) fresh or frozen whole strawberries, thawed if frozen
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup chopped nasturtium blossoms, plus 8 whole ones
1 full bag (1 kg / 5.218 cups) Redpath's QuickSet for Jam (or another jelling sugar, around here it's either Redpath or Lantic)
- Combine the berries, rhubarb, water, lemon juice and pepper in a large pot and bring to a simmer.
- Cook, mashing berries and rhubarb to a chunky pulp, for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped nasturtium blossoms and Quickset and bring to a full boil.
- Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.
- Ladle into sterilized jars and top each with a whole nasturtium flower.
- Seal and process in a waterbath for 10 minutes.
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Total Carbs: 17.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.1 g