My Grandma taught me to can when I was a little girl. She started with jams and jellies. She lived in Indiana in a home without air conditioning – it was built in the 1930’s…no one had air conditioning. She did her canning in the basement because it was cooler. She hung her onions to dry in the root cellar – a tiny little room off that basement that was always cold! It held her canned beans, peas, squash, pickles, relishes, peaches, tomatoes, apple butter, jams, jellies and more. She stored tomatoes from their garden, each lovingly wrapped in newspaper and stored for use through the winter. Baskets of potatoes, hard apple cider, elderberry syrup and more! That basement held so many wonderful smells, tastes and memories for me! My grandparents home was my happy place growing up! Her old canning table resides in my kitchen now.
One of the first things she taught me to “put up” was strawberry jam. It was thickened with sugar…lots and lots of sugar… and cooked for a long time. It was good but I do things a bit differently now. Instead of canning regular strawberry jam that requires lots of sugar. I make freezer jam which requires less sugar, no cooking and can be sweetened with stevia – at least in part. I’m experimenting each year to reduce the amount of sugar and increase the stevia!
My grandbabies love this jam because it tastes like fresh strawberries on their sandwiches, toast, pancakes, french toast or even in their yogurt or smoothies! The original recipe came right out of the Sure-Jell Pectin insert. The adaptations to make Hot Jam are my own. The sugar substitutes are also my ideas. I am always looking for ways to reduce any sugar intake because it drives inflammation in the body and I don’t like to have achey joints…or brain fog!
I hope you enjoy as much as my family does!
The original recipe is from the insert in Sure-Jell pectin. The adaptations are my own creations 🙂 I’m including my option to make “hot jam”! It starts out sweet but then packs a bit of heat on the back of the palate…it’s a pop that everyone loves…even if they don’t love spicy food!
2 cups organic stemmed & crushed strawberries
4 cups natural organic sugar
1 pint jelly jars with rings and seals
Pectin of choice (I use the one for “less sugar”.
Stevia/stevia blend to taste (if you want to experiment with using less sugar)
Crush strawberries 1 cup at a time using a potato masher. DO NOT PUREE! Jam should have tiny little bites of fruit in it! Measure exact amount of prepared fruit into a large bowl. Measure exact amount of sugar into separate bowl. (using less sugar or using sugar substitutes will result in set failures…or so they say). Stir sugar into prepared fruit . Mix well and let stand 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Put 1 box pectin and 3/4 cup water in small saucepan, Bring to boil on high heat. Boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Make sure no lumps of pectin remain. Remove from heat. Stir pectin mixture into fruit. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy (really important to get the sugar crystals dissolved!). Pour into canning jars leaving 1 inch headspace at top for expansion during freezing. Cover. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or store in freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.
First of all…how do we give this recipe some punch? When I make a batch and want it to have that gentle pop of heat, I take out about 1/2 cup of the finished mixture and put it into a small blender with one habanero from my garden. Blend and then put the contents back into the bowl of mixture and stir well. You want it blended enough that you don’t have chunks of habanero…it needs to be almost pureed! Then finish the recipe as indicated. I use glass canning jars because I try to avoid plastic as much as possible due to the health issues it can cause, especially in women. I also make my blackberry jam this way. Going to a special event? Soften a block of organic cream cheese and pour some Hot Blackberry Jam over it and serve with crackers for spreading. People will request you bring it every time! You’ll be shocked at how fast it disappears!
Second, I have kept my freezer jam in my freezer for many years with no issues. I have kept it in the frig for much longer than recommended with no problems and I have also thawed it on my counter overnight and put it in the frig the next day without encountering any problems…yep!..call me a rebel! 😉
Third, in my quest to loose the last of my weight, I don’t eat sugar (besides it is the largest cause of inflammation in the body and who needs that?). My solution this year is to attempt making this jam using a blend from Trim Healthy Mama that measures cup for cup like sugar. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve already tried cutting back on sugar without much issue using stevia instead. Maybe (?) it was not quite as thick (hard to really tell) and no one seemed to notice and the taste was spectacular! I’ll let you know how it goes when I remove all the sugar!