Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade jams are one of my biggest weaknesses. I don't need crackers, toast or ice cream to enjoy them - just hand me a spoon and the jar and I'm going to town! After picking strawberries this past weekend, we couldn't let them sit for too long before they would start going bad. Since Monday was a holiday we took the time to make some strawberry jam. Though many jam recipes online don't use added pectin, I find that without it the jam has a runnier consistency than I prefer. Pectin is a thickening agent that comes naturally from fruits, and you can buy it in packets dried. We used Certo Light because we were comfortable with the brand, but also wanted to use less sugar. To make 4-6 small jars of jam from your freshly picked strawberries here's what you do:

1. In a large bowl, crush the strawberries with a masher, in layers, until you have 4 cups.
2. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and an entire packet of pectin and let rest for 30 minutes.  After resting, add 3 additional cups of sugar and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes.
3. Fill the empty jars with boiling water.
4. One by one, empty a jar of the water and fill with jam until there is 1/4 inch of space from the top.
5.  Seal the jars with the lids.
6. Rest for at least 24 hours before keeping in the freezer. The jam will keep for up to one year. 

Enjoy it whatever way you like to use jam, but I'll be grabbing my spoon and trying to make this last longer than a few months! You can also try adding a little bit of vanilla extract or ground cinnamon, to give it some extra flavour.

Note: if you use regular pectin and not a light version you'll need to double the sugar

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