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I got a quick question. Just picked some fresh strawberries and was looking at an old church cookbook. Was looking at maybe making some strawberry jam. I use to help the neighbor make it back some 20 years ago. While looking through the book at one recipe the wife asked me what Alum was. I can't recall ever using it and don't remember what it is.....LOL. What is this stuff? I was thinking it might be used for preserving. Thanks for any info.
 

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To explain it to you the way I've always understood it...

Alum makes things "Shrink" it will also make thing coagulate...

so, in a jam or jelly, I guess what it is doing is making the jam/jelly Coagulate or Firm up?

If you ever have a ulcer in your mouth, take a dab of alum on your finger and put it directly on the ulcer, it will burn, but it shrinks the ulcer and makes it go away....when we would get an ulcer in our mouths at home, mom always got out the alum and had us dab some on the ulcer...ulcer was gone pretty much by the end of the day and no more pain from it!


Also, alum is used in Pickle making...it helps somehow to firm up the pickles, give them a crunch from what I understand of it's useage.... there are many useages for alum in older cook books, even used in making cakes!
 

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A neighbor lady made the best elderberry pies, she told my wife the secret was to add a pinch of alum. She was one of those old time cooks who never measured, just used a pinch of this and a dab of that. My Mrs said this lady used alum in almost all her berry pies.
 

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being a water treatment operator... we use alum to clean river water. alum coagulates small particles of dirty and debris into larger pieces of flock which settles out of the water.
 
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