I should really title this post " I don't think you're ready for this jelly" or "Beyonce Rules my life". Whatever, I've made the commitment and I'm sticking with it.
This past weekend started out looking gloomy and cold but soon morphed into sunshine and heat. One of the perks of living in Morganton is I can walk where I want to go. My Romeo walked with me to the Saturday morning Farmer's Market where we snagged some good looking pork belly, beets and eggs. Since it was overcast Nathan and I decided to spend some time doing one of our favorite shared interests, THRIFTING! I love looking through junk shops for vintage kitchen treats. Nathan is usually more into old records and Spanish books. I scored some major finds, Pyrex and Fireking dishes and a whole box of mason jars for $5!!! When we were thrifted out we decided to pick some strawberries. SO MUCH FUN and pretty cheap. I imagined us picking strawberries and hiding out at the house all weekend cooking and cleaning while decked out in my most fashionable sweatpants drinking beer. I've spent the last 3 weekends away from home and was looking forward to some low key apartment time. I was determined to make some plain jane strawberry jam. I don't even like strawberry jam. I find it to be a little gross with the chunks of fruit in it but it was vital that our cupboards housed some of this red magic goo. I make all sorts of tasty jelly jar treats that you couldn't find in a supermarket but alas my boyfriend likes strawberry jam. If we don't have any in the house he will bring Smuckers Jam and let it live in our fridge. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! High Fructose Corn Syrup goop laced with strawberries lives next to my artisanal homemade jams? I guess you can't put kumquat chili spiked jam on a PB&J but c'mon! So I made 3 different kinds of strawberry jam in one afternoon (I was motivated). They passed the Nathan taste test so we are hopefully on our last jar of Smuckers. I did try a new jam method and I think I will never make go back to my traditional methods. I love jam but you literally use more sugar than fruit in order to get a successful gel. There is an Italian kind of pectin that uses significantly less sugar to that provides ample gel called Pomora's Pectin. You don't need as much sugar AND you don't need to cook it as long so your jam retains a brighter, jewel like hue. It's my current obsession and I don't know if I'll ever go back to full sugar recipes.
Low Sugar Strawberry Vanilla Jam
From Food in Jars blog
- 9 to 10 cups strawberry pulp
- 2 1/2 cups cane sugar, divided
- 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
- 2 small lemons, juiced
- 1 tablespoon calcium water
- 1 tablespoon Pomona's Pectin
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 4 1/2 pints.
- In a low, wide, non-reactive pot, combine the berry pulp, 2 cups sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pods, lemon juice, and calcium water.
- Set pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook at a vigorous boil for 20 to 25 minutes, until the volume has reduced by approximately half and the foaming has subsided.
- Stir pectin into the remaining sugar and stream it into the cooking jar, using a whisk to stir to help prevent clumps.
- Return the contents of the pot to an active boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Funnel the jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Strawberry Basil Freezer Jam
From Let's Dish
- 3 1/3 cups mashed strawberries
- 1 1/3 cups white sugar
- 4 tablespoons instant pectin
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- Place mashed strawberries in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and pectin.
- Add sugar/pectin mixture to strawberries and stir for 2-3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in basil.
- Ladle jam into clean, freezer-safe containers. Let stand 30 minutes to set before freezing or refrigerating.
- Makes four 8 ounce jars.