So, this was my first real Instant Pot fail!
I wanted to make strawberry jam in the electric pressure cooker, as it is that time of year here in northern Michigan, when berries are bright and beautiful! So, I researched at least FIVE different recipes, picked the one I thought was the one for me, and tried it.
I was committed to using local honey, as I had just interviewed a beekeeper for a magazine article, and his honey is OH.SO.DELICIOUS! Plus, strawberries use a LOT of sugar and I wanted to avoid that.
Also, I love the combination of strawberries and a good balsamic vinegar, and I get a lovely product from my friend Mario, an Italian farmer living on our beloved Old Mission Peninsula, who make the best balsamic vinegar I have ever tasted.
This should have worked. The flavor is lovely, with a deep and complex note brought out by the balsamic, and the strawberries and the honey pair well…but, after two different tried, doing very different methods, I have sauce, NOT jam. It is totally delicious and great over ice cream, but it is NOT jam.
On the second try, after the pressure had released, I took some of the hot berry juice and mixed it with tapioca starch to make a slurry, added it back in, boiled it for a minute or two and then let it cook to set. Still runny!
I kind of suspect that strawberries and pressure cooking just don’t go well together. They are basically little red cellulose and water fruits…and pressure knocks the stuffing out of them. I think cooking the basic freezer jam recipe in your Instant Pot is fine, but the step of putting them under pressure for even a minute is superfluous – the recipe does not need pressure and you gain nothing from it. In fact, it leaves the berries somewhat wan, and washed out, leading me to believe that the pressure step is too much, and unnecessary.
So, I ask all of you…have you done it successfully? what recipe did you use? did it end up JAM? or sauce? I would LOVE to hear from you…I will be over at the table, having my delicious honey balsamic strawberry sauce drizzled over some vanilla ice cream!