I think I finally have a Strawberry Jam recipe I really like! AND, it is a freezer jam that is LOW in sugar. BONUS! In general, I prefer freezer jams because they retain the fabulous fresh flavor (say that 5 times fast) of just picked fruit. However, there are not many recipes out there for freezer jams using the low/no sugar pectin. Last year I made a variety of jam recipes ranging in sugar amounts. I found the full sugar recipes taste more like sugar than fruit. AND, since I am dealing with too much sugar in our diets, I really wanted to use a low or no sugar recipe.
The Ball pectin is what was available to me here, so that is what I am using. I started with the recipe for no sugar jam on their label - as is. I suspect if you have really sweet berries, this would work well. I ended up using 1TBPS of sugar in this first round. I added it while in the cooking stage. I tasted as I went and found it needed sugar to balance out the tartness. I probably could have added more sugar. The jam is fine and we will finish eating it, but since this is a cooked recipe, I wanted to keep experimenting.
Last year I tried this recipe. Mine did not set - but then none of mine set last year, so likely it was user error. So this year, I came up with a solution that is somewhere in between the cooked version from Ball and the recipe I tried last year. The result is a big success! At least it is to me. :)
One tip I learned - work with small batches. Yes, that is written on the label of the pectin, but I missed that previously. Ooops. Probably why things failed last year.
I have found, I like using my food processor to 'mash' the strawberries. I know, I know - most other recipes will tell you absolutely do NOT use a food processor. Well, I like the texture. Small to medium bits of strawberries without the stringiness I get when I hand mash. I like to use the pulse function to get the right texture. Do Not puree the strawberries, we are making jam, not baby food. :) Also, don't do all the berries at once. I do 3-4 rounds to get the 2 cups.
What you need:
- 2 cups processed strawberries
- 1.5 TBSP low sugar pectin
- 1/3 cup 100% apple juice concentrate
- 2 TBSP sugar (This is flexible and can be omitted entirely if your strawberries are nice and sweet, or you can add more if you have really tart strawberries.)
- 3 - 8oz Jars - prepped as per jar instructions (either boil for 10 mins to sterilize or run through the dishwasher)
- sauce pan
- metal strainer
Pour the strawberries into a metal mesh strainer. Catch the juice - I like to use the sauce pan I will be cooking the juices in (let's not dirty more dishes than necessary). Use the spatula to mush things around a bit to get as much of the juice into the sauce pan as necessary.
- Combine the strawberry juice, pectin, and juice concentrate in the sauce pan.
- Bring to a rapid boil. Hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Add strawberries and sugar to taste. Stir all together.
- Pour into jars. Clean the rims, put lids on, finger tighten. Let cool. Put in freezer.
Yes, it is a bit more work than other recipes, but combines the best of both worlds. And look at that mess!!! Luckily, it cleans up fast.
Are you ready to make jam?! I hope to use this base recipe for other fruits this year too. I will let you know how it goes.
Until next time...