Sunday, April 4, 2010

We're Jammin'

With strawberries about to hit the local farmers market stands and the regular retailers selling a pound for 97¢, the abundance is overwhelming! Spring is here and I love strawberries. I also love strawberry jam, but it's really hard to find it without added white sugar. Trader Joes has a really great organic one, but it's $4 for  a small jar, so I thought I would try my hand at canning my own jam. Success! I have received a good feedback on teaching with pictures, so with further ado...

What you need for one batch:

4 pounds of strawberries
1/2 cup of agave nectar
2 tspn of pectin

Start to heat your water bath. Prepare your jars. Cut and wash your strawberries. Take the stems off, just in case that didn't cross your mind.

Pour your berries into a pot and smash a bit with a potato smasher or blend in a blender. Or leave whole like I did with my first batch. Turn the heat on and start to warm while you prepare the agave and pectin mixture. Follow directions for the pectin that you have. Mine was two tbsp pectin and calcium  mixture (came with the pectin) to 1/4 cup of sweetener.

Heat for a while on medium to low heat. Stir often or you will burn the berries to the bottom of your pot. If you start to get some burning, turn the heat lower. You will start to notice the liquid thickening. Don't get crazy and think you are done. Just keep letting it cook. 

While your berries are thickening, you can prepare your jars and wash the dishes that you have. Less to do later. One thick, pour into hot jars, put lid on and screw the ring loosely. Put in water bath for 5 minutes. Remove, let cool. I would let these jars sit for at least a week before giving into your craving. 

My first batch last night turned out a little better, I think because I let it cook longer. This is an ongoing process for me. When I get market berries, I will try again. It's amazing that eights pounds of berries fit into nine jars. You may have more or less jars depending on how much liquid cooks off and how big your jars are. Happy jammin'!

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