Saturday, July 03, 2010

Strawberry jam

Canning season has officially begun here at the Big Red House. On Thursday I picked up our order of Klicker strawberries from Winegar's, which sells them locally. The berries are a bit spendy (20 pounds set us back $50, but we did split the order with a friend, which helped)--though in hindsight, they were completely worth the cost because they arrived in a food-grade plastic bucket already hulled and sliced.

With all that prep work done, it only took me an hour to cook, can, and process my jam. This is the first year we've made strawberry jam, and I experimented with a sugar-free batch, while Jim made a batch of the fully-leaded variety.

I used the recipe from the "no sugar needed" pectin box, with a couple modifications. I doubled the recipe and added butter, which the pectin instructions recommended to reduce foaming. I also eliminated the cup of apple juice that was called for, and added lemon juice.

Sugar-free Strawberry Jam

4 cups prepared strawberries (hulled and sliced)
1 1.75-oz. package no sugar needed fruit pectin
1-1/2 cups artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)
1-1/2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Prepare boiling water canner, jars, and lids.

2. Combine prepared berries in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan and mash gently to release juice. (The recipe didn't call for it, but I actually simmered my berries for 15 or 20 minutes while I was washing jars and getting the canning kettle boiling.) Gradually stir in pectin and lemon juice. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.

3. Add artificial sweetener. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim if necessary.

4. Fill and seal jars. Process in water bath for ten minutes.

Yield: 4-6 half pints (doubling the recipe, I filled four pint jars)

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