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Strawberry/Rhubarb jam - No added pectin

To ensure jelling, at least 25% of the berries should be slightly
underripe (underripe berries have a higher natural pectin content):

1 cup rhubarb, sliced lengthwise, then cut into 1 inch lengths
6 cups whole strawberries, washed and hulled
4-1/2 cups sugar

Place strawberries in 8 or 12 quart pot. With a potato masher,
crush a few of them against the bottom of the pot to get some juice.
(it's OK to leave most of them whole) Add the rhubarb and sugar.
Stir gently with a long handled spoon. Wait a couple of minutes
and then stir again until most of the white sugar grains have turned
red. Now turn the heat on high and start stirring. You'll need to
continue stirring for quite a while to prevent the mixture from
burning against the bottom of the pot. In 7-10 minutes, the mixture
should come to a furious boil. If it threatens to overflow the pot,
either turn down the heat or, using potholders, lift the pot off
the burner for a few seconds. Continue stirring on high heat for
16-24 minutes after the initial rise, until you feel a significant
increase in resistance against the spoon as the mixture thickens
up. Now take the pot off the heat and fill your pre-heated jars.
Attach lids and process in a boiling water canner for 7-10 minutes.
Makes 5-6 cups.

Natural pectin or "No added pectin" jams are more work, but there's
much less sugar used and your jars are completely filled with fruit.
This is the route to take if you are tired of seeing clear jelly
at the bottom of your jars while the comparatively small amount of
fruit floats to the top, i.e., when pectin is added and the amount
of sugar is necessarily increased.

The above recipe works for essentially all fruits that have some
natural pectin. Use the basic 4:3 fruit:sugar ratio and you should
be fine. Just adjust mixture boiling time to get the consistency
you prefer. Note that you won't really know what the consistency
is until the next day, after the jars have cooled, unless you use
the freezer plate test.

This recipe may not work if scaled up to double or triple batches.
There seems to be something special in the boiling of sugar and
natural fruit pectin that demands small batches at high heat to
get a good jell. If others have successfully scaled up "No added
pectin" recipes, please comment.


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