strawberries for jam

Someone asked me a question today, and I thought I’d repost my response as a blog entry, since, well, it’s that season and I lurve talking about strawberries, and I’ll take any chance I can to promote the Lane County OSU Extension Master Food Preserver program. Oregon residents, please note I’ve posted an announcement about our statewide hotline on the right-hand side of this page.

Christy wrote to me and asked me if Seascape strawberries would be good for jam.  Here is my response:

I’ve only made strawberry jam once, and it was with Shuksans, which were recommended, but I was trying a French no-pectin recipe and it didn’t set up. I blamed the recipe and my skills. Seascapes are so soft and sweet that I suspect they wouldn’t be the best variety.

So I called my friends at the statewide Master Food Preservation Hotline (541-682-4246) and asked them what they thought! They agreed, and said Seascapes are beautiful eating, but wouldn’t hold up well in jam. For mid-season, your best bets include what you’ve been using, the Hoods, or Shuksans, or Bentons. The consensus was that Bentons are best because they make beautifully colored jam. They’re the berries that ripen salmon colored to light red, so the jam they make is bright and lively. Apparently, they’ve been used in commercial jams for a long time.

Some other suggestions were Olympus (also mid-season), Red Craft (late), and a new variety, Firecracker, that apparently has a better flavor than Hoods.

If you do decide to switch varieties, please let me know the results, and good luck!

I forgot to add that the solemn consensus was that Oregon strawberries should be chosen over berries from anywhere else, should that unfathomable choice arise.

I’d love to hear more suggestions and experiences, if anyone else has them!

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