Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Low-Sugar No-Cook Strawberry Jam

It is January. While it may be freezing and snowing up north; you have my sympathies if you live there; it is warm and sunny in Florida. This time of year  means strawberry season is in full swing for the sunshine state! I was able to get a great deal on 1lbs of Florida Strawberries at a local green market this past week. It was buy 2lbs at 1.99 each get 1lbs free. I knew we would not eat three pounds of berries before they turned so I decided to test drive a new type of pectin I had purchased at my natural health food store Pomona's Universal Pectin. 
What first drew me in was the natural aspect of this product. The pectin is made from citrus peel. The recipes allow for use of honey, sugar, or a sugar alternative to make your jelly or jam and most recipes only call for 1 cup of sweetener.  A traditional strawberry jam recipe can require 7 cups of sugar; yikes! My mom has always made homemade strawberry freezer jelly and it is tradition I (and Rich) want to continue sans massive amounts of white sugar.

Low-Sugar No-Cook Strawberry Jam

2 lbs of whole strawberries washed, stemmed and sliced ( this will equal about 4 cups of mashed  berries)
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
1/2-1 cup of raw honey to taste
3/4 cup of water

1 box of Ponoma's Universal Pectin which you will use the following:
3 tsp of pectin powder 
4-12 tsp of calcium water (I used 8 tsp)

A little show and tell of what is in the box. My biggest annoyance was that the packets were not pre-labeled.

1. Prepare calcium water by adding 1/2 tsp of white calcium powder and 1/2 cup of water in small jar with lid. Set aside.

2. Turn your whole berries into a 4 cup mashed mixture. I mashed my berries in four separate batches in my Blendtec blender and measured it out. Add the four cups of mashed berries to a large mixing bowl with the lemon juice and raw honey. Stir the berry mixture until the honey is dissolved.

3. Next bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil in a pot on the stove. Place the hot water in a blender and add in pectin powder, vent lid and blend until all powder is dissolved. It is important to vent the lid so pressure doesn't build up from the hot liquid. I did this by removing the plastic middle piece of the lid and placing a tea towel over the hole.

4. Add hot pectin mixture to berries and stir until completely mixed. Next add 4 tsp of calcium water and stir. Continue to add 1 tsp of calcium water at a time to berries until it jells. I used the spoon method to test the jelling.

5. Store in 1 cup glass jars in freezer immediately. Thaw in fridge before using. Jam is stable in fridge for 1 week.

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