Monday, June 4, 2012

Strawberry Jam with a fourth of the sugar

We've got strawberries!!  I picked a whole bowl full from the garden-- oh there is nothing like fresh home grown strawberries.  So sweet....  I decided to make jam with them, I love this way I have been doing jam for about 5 years now.  It used to kill me to make jam because the recipe calls for 4 cups of fruit and 8 cups of SUGAR!!!!  Yikes-- that is way too much sugar.   So let's get started here and I'll show you how to make the best jam using 1 1/2 - 2 cups of sugar.
First wash your fruit really well....   

 I found this great little tool a couple of years ago at a kitchen store.  I think it is used to remove the green tops from tomatoes, but I thought it would work great on strawberries- and it does!!

so after you have washed the strawberrys- remove the stem & green part on the top.  Haha it looks like I have been doing a little garden work today, I really do have a GREEN thumb in this picture! :)

 The jam I made today is freezer jam, but you can make regular processes jam like this too.  I follow the recipe on the pectin package-  you will need:  4 cups of crushed fruit, 1 1/2- 2 cups of sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is) 6 tablespoons of fruit pectin and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Ultra Set.  That is the key ingredient here!!  I bought mine at kitchen kneads.  It is a modified corn starch- I have seen it at the grocery store too, but I'm not sure what name the box had on it- but it did say it was a modified corn starch.  So ask at the store if they carry it.  Do NOT follow the directions on the ultra set package for making jam-- just ask my friend Kristy.. :) 

 crush your berries up- my family likes the pulp in the jam, so I just put it in my blender on pulse a couple of times.  Then measure 4 C. into a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl combine your sugar, pectin & ultra set.  (add 1/4 cup of the ultra set first) and mix them together.  Then pour the dry mixture into your berries and mix well, make sure you dont have any clumps of the dry mixture in it.  Then let it sit for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes stir to see if it is as thick as yo want it-- if not sprinkle more ultra set into the mixutre until it gets as thick as you want it to be.  The ultra set thickens pretty fast, so after about 10 minutes it will be as think as it is going to get- If you want it to be more like a berry butter use 1/2 cup of the ultra set.

 then ladle the jam into containers-- I use whatever I have, plastic or glass jars work great.

 then put the lids on them and put them into the freezer.  You wont be able to tell that there isn't as much sugar in it-- it tastes so good, and you can feel good about having a healthier jam for your family.