Friday, August 14, 2009
Fruit and Honey Sweetened Strawberry Freezer Jam = YUMMY!
Three weeks ago I spent a lot of time getting ready for our family trip to Winnipeg's Victoria Beach. Someday I will write a post on how to get ready for a family road trip (something I get better at all the time) but this post is about how I was foraging through the fridge, deciding what to take in the car and what needed to be eaten or frozen, and what I need to save from being pitched in the garbage. Last week they had a sale on strawberries at our local shop (no pick your own farms near here) and I got 4 pounds for about $8. It has been ages since I even thought about canning anything, although I used to do some of that when I lived in Maine and had a large vegetable garden. However, I mentioned the amazing strawberry jam my friend's mom made in this post. It got me thinking about making freezer jam, which is easier than true jam. It also tastes really fresh, since you don't cook the berries. My daughter could live on jam and bread so I currently buy Crofter's organic jams. It appealed to me to make some jam for her that didn't have a ton of sugar. Thanks to some research I was able to find an alternative to sugar laden jam.
I found this well written and researched post on a blog called Sarah's Musings. It also includes this helpful link that answers many canning questions. The recipe she used for her jam is fruit and honey sweetened. In order to make a jam without sugar we both used a "no sugar" pectin. This method requires the fruit juice to be cooked with the pectin but the strawberries are not cooked. In the end, it took me less than two hours from start to finish, to make 8 half pints of jam.
HONEY AND FRUIT JUICE SWEETENED STRAWBERRY JAM
What you will need:
8 half pint jam jars
8 cups of strawberries
1 3/4 cup 100% juice
3/4 cup honey
1 package of "No Sugar Needed" fruit pectin
Your first step should be to get a cute and adorable buddy to keep you company while you make jam. I was supposed to have my three year old helping me, but she decided to go and play with her neighbor friend after we cut up all the berries. But Raggedy Andy stuck around to help me in her absence.
- Wash and sanitize your jars before making the jam. I used half pint jars. I boiled them for ten minutes in a stock pot but you can also use the sanitizing cycle in your dishwasher. Place your lids in simmering water at this time. Do not boil them or they will lose their sealing properties.
- Wash, hull, and cut up about 8 cups of strawberries. Crush them down for a couple of minutes using a potato masher. You should have about 4 cups of crushed berries.
- Put 1 3/4 cups 100% juice into a sauce pan. I used apple and a bit of kiwi strawberry, which is what I had one hand. Add one package of "No Sugar Needed" fruit pectin. Heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Once at a boil, boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and add fruit, stirring constantly for one minute, before adding honey. Stir to combine.
- Ladle into prepared jars. Make sure that you use freezer-safe glass jars and leave 1/2-inch space on the top to allow for expansion.
- Place lid on immediately and press around the edges with your fingers. Place ring on and tighten until fingertip tight.
Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight, then store to the freezer for up to eighteen months. Once defrosted and opened, use within three weeks and keep it refrigerated.
In the end, my jam was a bit loose. I will try this recipe again, both with berries and with other fruits. We really don't mind it being more like "sauce". It is still good on peanut butter toast and is excellent on ice cream. Jam makes a great gift for friends and loved ones, who will be sure to return your jars and ask for more. Enjoy! And if this post helps to make jam, please let me know. I welcome your comments and would love to know how you may have tweeked this recipe. Special thanks to Sarah of Sarah's Musings for her inspiration!