For not having a recipe and having never made jam before, we did okay last night when we gave it a try. What we ended up with was a unique strawberry spread type thing, and we really like it. So, I guess that is what counts. Whether anyone would ever call it "jam" when they ate it, doesn't really matter to us.
We were going rogue.
We used very little sugar, because I was making the jam myself so I could purposely cut back on it, since Sugarwings has a little bit of a jelly addiction. Well, with a name like Sugarwings, you might expect her to have a sweet tooth...
- First you need a good berry scrubber with skills in pulling off the "green parts".
- After the green parts are gone, cut off the top, and toss the fruit into a blender. We used 2 quarts of organic berries.
- We squeezed half of a lime over the berries in the blender and then purreed them. To get the most juice out of the lime, we played with it a while, and got it good and smashy before I cut it in half.
- To the berry/lime mix, we added a 3/4 cup of organic sugar and about three good sized squirts of agave nectar syrup, and blended them all together. Have the lid on the blender before your helper pushes any buttons, or else be ready to wipe berry globs off your forehead.
- We opened a packet of pectin (found on the jello isle at the grocery store) and disolved it in a 1/4 cup of boiling water. I have a feeling that the jam might have been thicker if my helper hadn't spilled quite a bit of the pectic powder when she poured it into the bowl. If all your pectin makes it into the hot water, you might have a better end product than we did.
- Mix the pectin/water with the berries and sugar, then pour into jars. Leave space at the top of the jar for the jam to expand when it freezes.
- Let set at room temperature for a couple hours before cooling in the fridge (or freezer if you want to save it for later)
- Make labels while the jars set up.
The whole endeavor might have just been an excuse to make labels. Our yeild was small, only three partial jars, so we decorated the lids, too. We had looked forward to making labels too much to stop at three.
For our labels, we used some fruit rub ons and paint markers on water color paper shapes cut out with our punches.
To me, it tastes a bit like a Margarita. Sugarwings thinks it tastes like jelly, but she's never had a margy. This spread has more of a fresh berry flavor than a jelly flavor. And I don't think it ended up costing any more than if I'd bought three jars of All Fruit spread. Sometimes, kitchen experiments can go a bit crazy in the budget department, but this one did okay financially.
Plus, its something we will really enjoy eating, and it wasn't hard to make. We also whipped up some home made yogurt, and for breakfast today, we swirled some of our "jam" into the plain yogurt, and it was heavenly.