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May 23, 2012 / Do. Make. Eat.

We Jammin’

Today I had a mid-day dental appointment, so I took the day off of work.  Originally, I had planned to do some berry picking this weekend, but since the temps will be 90+, today sounded much better.

Field berries

Berries at Spencer Berry Farm

It was beautiful out, but very sunny.  I picked a little over 9 lbs of berries in about 1/2 an hour.  What did I do with all of these berries?

9 pounds of berries might have been overkill…

I made Jam 🙂

I decided to make a low-sugar jam.  I researched recipes last week  and all of them called for more sugar than berries.  Obviously this is why jam is so delicious, and it also explains why peanut butter and jam sandwiches are like crack for little kids (and adults too, let’s be honest).

I found this no added sugar recipes on the Ball Canning website:

Light Strawberry Jam

You will need:

4 cups crushed strawberries
1 cup unsweetened white grape juice
3 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Directions:

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) COMBINE strawberries and juice in a 6 to 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
3.) LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
4.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check for seal after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
I had a bit of a hard time figuring out how many berries to use to end up with 4 cups of crushed berries.  Google told me that there were approximately 10 ounces of berries in a pint and 1 pint of berries = 1.5 cups of crushed berries.  So, I weighed my berries.

I used just over 30 ounces, but ended up having to get a few more ounces to get to 4 cups.

I then prepared to crush them.  I first rinsed them well and let them drain.  Then I hulled them using a spoon.  This worked pretty well, except on the berries that were a little unripe.

Here’s how I set up my berry crushing process.

After all of the berries were crushed, I added them to a large pot along with the grape juice.  I then put my jars into the water bath to simmer and my lids and rings into a smaller saucepan to simmer (it’s behind the smaller pot, so you can’t see it), while I brought my berries to a boil.

My canning set-up

Once my jars and lids were nice and hot, I removed them from their baths and put them on the towel to dry.  I slowly stirred in the pectin and constantly stirred the jam until it reached a full boil.  Then I turned off the heat and skimmed the strawberry scum of the top of the jam.

Strawberry scum: not pretty, but delicious 🙂

Next I ladled the jam into the the jars.  I used three 8 oz. jars and six 4 oz. jars.

The baby jars don’t hold much, but they’re so cute!

I then put the lids on and screwed the rings on finger tight.  The jars of jam then went into the boiling water bath to process for 10 minutes.

10-minute water bath

I let the jam cool and then gave it a test run on a fresh sourdough roll.

Yum!

The verdict: it is a bit tart, so if you are used to realllly sweet jam it’s a bit of a shock at first.  It is delicious and fresh-tasting though.  If you’re watching your sugar intake, this jam is perfect.

With all of the berries I have left, I plan on making more jam that is low-sugar (so my husband will actually eat it).

Barely made a dent…

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