When I have time I like to read other locavore and farm blogs and today I had tome to go check out Val Taylor's Cincinnati Locavore blog and to my delight found a recipe for no-pectin strawberry preserves (click on the title of this post and you will be taken there).
We grow strawberries and at some point I will have a need to make strawberry preserves. Usually I am lazy (or because we grow day neutral berries I am making preserves in late summer or fall so have no natural pectin sources like green apples) and use commercial pectin but it has chemicals that I don't really want to ingest and I agree with Val that the commercial pectin makes the preserves rather solid. I was planning on making preserves using apple pectin though I will have to wait another week or so until the green apples are big enough to fuss with. I even went to the liquor store in Richmond, IN to get some pure grain alcohol (which they don't sell in Ohio for some reason) for the preserve making process. I need the moonshine to check the pectin, it does not go into the preserves themselves. No, I am not making high octane jam. I don't think alcohol and pectin will work together, than again... What I use the alcohol for is to check to see that the sugar to pectin ratio is correct. When I am prepping the apple pectin I have to mix ground apples with sugar and cook that for a bit, if I am remembering this correctly (I will consult with the Joy of Cooking before doing this so I do it correctly). Than I put a bit of the apple/sugar goo into an ounce of 100 proof alcohol and it will either jell or not. When it is correct than it is put with the strawberries and cooked and put into hot sterile jars and sealed.
But Val has a recipe that uses under ripe strawberries that she claims have enough pectin in them to set up the preserves. So check out her recipe. I know I'm going to try it when I have enough strawberries to make 6 to 8 pints of jam.