Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hood Berry Jam

I mentioned in a previous post  that I was hoping we would get enough Hood Berries (strawberries) to make some jam and WE DID!

 This haul was too much to munch on or to put on cereal so we decided they must be processed.

First, I hulled the berries, washed them real good, and put them in a glass bowl.

Okay, here is where I completely deviate from most jam/preserve recipes. I just CANNOT get on board with the traditional 4:1 ratio of refined white sugar to berries. That's 4 CUPS of sugar to 1 cup of berries. I had about 6 or 7 cups of berries so that would be like 28 CUPS of sugar!?! Fug that.

So I found a few replacements for sugar -- and I don't mean artificial sweetener because that stuff tastes like chemical death to me.

Here's the alternatives I used to sweeten the berries (though they hardly need it!): honey and unsweetened applesauce!

I mixed the honey (about 1/4 cup), one snack pack size unsweetened applesauce, and maybe 1/4 cup regular sugar into about 10 cups of whole berries last night and let them chill out in the fridge overnight.

Then I took out the mixture today, smashed it all up, and put it on the stove to get thick and bubbly. Mixing and whisking away.


I learned that one the hard way. I put the lid on and went to do one tiny thing and totally forgot about it!! I came back 20 minutes later to massive berry explosion and a wrecked kitchen. It took longer to clean up the mess than it did to make the jam!!

Oh well,  c'est la vie! The outcome was worth it.

I managed to still have a lot of berries left in the pot so proceeded with adding some tapioca (about 4 tbsp) to the berry mix (which was closer to 5 or 6 cups after the explosion). I stirred and stirred till it thickened up, then I ladled it into jars. (Note: I used tapioca because I had it on hand. Sure-gel (pectin) works good too.)

I think (2) half pint jars, (1) pint jar, and a baby food jar full of yummy Hood Berry jam is a pretty good yield (considering the explosion and all)!

I was too tired from cleaning the mess to do water bath canning so I just filled up jars and put them in the fridge. To make sure it all is enjoyed before it spoils (since I didn't can them), we'll give some to neighbors and eat the rest.

I can't wait to try it out (on ice cream)!! YUM!

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