Monday, May 14, 2012

Strawberry Jam - an experiment

Strawberry season is about done for us. I made lots of jam. YUM. I had only ever made the full sugar versions before, and this year I wanted to try something different. An experiment. Can I get away with no sugar? Is there a middle ground that will work best?

Well, I tried 4 different recipes. Yes, 4! All freezer jams because I like the fresh taste they tend to have - and I am too lazy to do all the cooking and canning required for regular jam.

Second - I will say - ALL 4 batches failed to set. I have never had this happen before. So, obviously I did something wrong. Unfortunately, I have NO idea what! I did not create any of these recipes, so I will trust that they actually do work usually and that I just did something wrong. I will comment on flavors and what we liked best as a family.

First batch - full sugar. 4 cups of sugar to 2 cups of strawberries. YIKES! Not so much on the healthy side. I thought this just pretty much taste like sugar. Too sweet for me. Kids and hubby think it is fine.

Second batch - I will call it the half sugar version. The company called it low sugar - which is a stretch for me. It is indeed lower in sugar than the full sugar versions, but NOT low sugar. I used the standard recipe on the low sugar pectin package. Better in flavor than the full sugar version, but still has a LOT of sugar - something like 3 cups sugar to 4 cups strawberries.

Third batch - Low sugar version. Recipe found here. This is my favorite for regular use - sandwiches, pancakes, etc.

Forth batch - Non-sugar version. Recipe found here. This is my second favorite. For regular use, I wanted a little more sweetness - but this is MUCH preferred to the full or even half batches I tried. My kids will eat all 4 versions without noticing. YEAH! This recipe is my favorite to use in my cupcakes (post coming soon). I also prefer this as a topping on ice cream. No need to add more sugar to these already sugar blasted items. This adds a great bright strawberry flavor.

And, just because I thought you would like to see a few more pictures and a favorite strawberry recipe....
Strawberry Shortcake:
semi-homemade biscuits
(Bisquick with a little sugar)

strawberry sauce
(strawberries in the food processor)

and homemade whipped cream
(whipping cream and a little sugar)

And no - this is NOT low sugar or low calorie. But it was oh so good!

The healthy version of this - one bite.  Enjoy!


  1. I've been thinking about giving canning or freezing a try this season. As you know, Michigan has so many great fresh fruits and veggies all spring, summer, and fall. I feel like I need to take advantage of that, but haven't really known where to start. I have found my kids don't really like frozen blueberries and strawberries because they get mushy when you that them. But maybe I need to try more recipes like jam. Thanks for the post - I may be motivated enough to look into this more now! :)

  2. Some fruits don't freeze well. If you make a sauce - those freeze really well. Blueberries - if you can dry/dehydrate them. They go great in muffins. I was just reading about freezing onions and peppers. I will have to try that. I also want to try making homemade pasta sauce and freezing/canning that. I will post favorite methods as I do them.