The addition of bay leaves to this simple strawberry jam recipe gives it a unique herbal flavor. It's a great recipe to make when you have an abundance of strawberries. Make it chunky or smooth, whichever texture you prefer.
Though it may seem as if we're giving Pomona's special attention in the recipes, it's not intentional. The product is the only no-sugar pectin we know of, so it's the one we end up using in the recipes!
Each box includes a little packet of calcium powder that must be made into calcium water before it can be added to the recipe, followed by the pectin.
To make the calcium water, combine ½ teaspoon of calcium powder and ½ cup of water. Add the appropriate amount of calcium water that the recipe calls for, then add the recommended amount of pectin powder and cook as directed. Store the extra calcium water in the refrigerator between uses.
Hull and quarter strawberries. Place strawberries, bay leaves, lemon juice, and 1 cup sugar in a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to facilitate the breakdown of the fruit. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 30 to 45 minutes, or until fruit is soft. Stir often to prevent scorching.
Remove from heat. Pick out bay leaves and discard. If you prefer a smoother texture, blend mixture in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a standing blender or food processor. Return mixture to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Add calcium water.
Mix pectin powder and remaining ½ cup sugar together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add pectin mixture to strawberries. Bring mixture to a boil. Skim off any foam. Check for doneness using a chilled plate.
Pour a bit of the fruit spread onto a plate and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. When you take the plate out, check to see if any juice has separated from the pulp. (Alternatively, you can chill a plate in the freezer and then add a spoonful of preserves to see if it separates.) If separation occurs, the mixture needs to be cooked more. If it holds its shape, it's ready to be ladled into jars.
Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Check for air bubbles, wipe the rims, and seal. Set jars in a pot of boiling water, ensuring that there is enough water to cover the lids by 1-inch. Let jars boil for 10 minutes. Processing at higher altitudes require additional time.
The foregoing is excerpted from Tart and Sweet by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2010 by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler.