Last week I went berry picking and picked a little over 20 pounds of strawberries. Most of them I froze but I also wanted to make some jam. I have made strawberry jam many times in the past but the recipes always called for a crazy amount of sugar, some calling for as much sugar as fruit. While the jam tasted good (how could it not with all that sugar!), I didn’t feel good about consuming that much sugar every time I spread it on my toast. So this year I tried something different. I found Pomona’s Universal Pectin at my local food co-op and was delighted to find that the pectin could be used with honey or sugar of any amount. Pomona’s Pectin has a two pouches in it; one is a calcium powder that you have mix with water beforehand and the other is a citrus pectin. It was easy to work with, and I was very happy with my jam results. I made both freezer jam and cooked jam that I canned.
Pomoma’s has great directions in the box for both freezer jam and cooked jam. You need to read and follow the directions in there but I am going to share my ratio of fruit to sweetener. You may need to add more or less sweetener to suit your tastes. Taste your finished jam before you fill your jars to make sure it is to your liking.
*Important: Make sure to mix up the calcium water according to the package directions before beginning your jam.
1. Freezer Jam
Freezer jam is quick and easy and stores great in the freezer for about a year. (I just finished off my last jar from last year this week.) This recipe makes a bit over 3 pints.
4 c. crushed strawberries (I use my potato masher to smash the berries)
1 c. honey
3/4 c. boiling water
4 tsp Pomona’s calcium water
3 tsp Pomona’s powdered pectin
Mix together strawberries and honey in a large bowl and stir until well combined.
In your food processor (or you could use a blender), add boiling water and pectin powder. Making sure to vent your food processor to let the steam escape, blend the pectin and water about 1 minute until all of the powder is dissolved completely.
Add hot pectin/water mixture to your mashed fruit and still well. Add in 4 tsp of the calcium water and stir. It will start to get less runny and more jell-like. Freezer jam is generally softer than canned jam so set your expectations accordingly. Pomona’s directions say that you can add more calcium water to get a better jell but I found it was pretty thick after the 4 tsp.
Fill your containers and put on an airtight lid. You can use whatever container you have but I have had great success with glass pint canning jars. The only thing to remember with glass jars is that they do not flex so leave a good 1 inch of headspace when you fill them up so they don’t crack.
Store your jam in the freezer. Let thaw before eating.
2. Canned Jam
This jam certainly is quicker to make than other cooked jams I have done and tastes awesome! This recipes makes about 3 1/2 pints of jam.
4 c. mashed strawberries (used the potato masher here)
1 c. honey
2 tsp powdered pectin
2 tsp calcium water
Heat clean pint or 1/2 pint jars in your canning pot filled with water. I heat them up to boiling and then let them sit in the hot water until I am ready to use them. Toss in your lids and rings when the water gets to boiling, turn off the heat, and let them sit in there with the jars until you are ready to seal up your jars.
Put your mashed fruit in a large saucepan and add 2 tsp calcium water and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
While you are waiting for your strawberries to boil, mix together honey and pectin in a bowl until completely combined.
Once your fruit is boiling, add in the honey/pectin mixture then cook and stir for 2 minutes until dissolved and well incorporated. Remove from heat.
Remove jars from the hot water (dumping out any water that is inside of them) and fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims clean with a damp cloth, put on the lids, and screw on the bands to finger-tightness. Put the filled jars in the canning pot, make sure that the water covers the tops of the jars, and bring the water to a boil. Boil jars 10 minutes (it must be at a boil!) and then remove from the water. Allow to sit undisturbed for several hours until cool and then check the seals. The top should be sucked down and should not move or make noise when you pushed down in the middle.
*Note: It is ok that the fruit floats to the top of the jar and the juice stays toward the bottom so don’t panic. When you open the jar, just mix the layers together before spreading on toast.
There you go! Delicious, homemade jam with less sugar two different ways.
Have you been jammin’ yet this season?
This post is linked to Carnival of Home Preserving, Homestead Barn Hop,Seasonal Recipe Round-Up, The Morris Tribe, Like a Mustard Seed, Beyond the Peel, Whole Lifestyle Nutrition. Frugally Sustainable. and Healthy 2day Wednesday.