As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a sucker for berries and tend to pay way too much to secure the first of the season, especially strawberries. I kept seeing raspberries at the market, but way overpriced so I waited, and waited. Unfortunately, it got to the point that I thought I missed them completely. For the second year in a row, I was berry free.
Then my luck changed! I was at the Union Square Greenmarket and super excited to spot some of the final raspberry and blackberries of the season (and on sale too!). I came home with with 3 containers of delicate raspberries (3 for $10) and 4 containers of blackberries for just $2 each.
After “sampling” a few, I was ready to jam. In early fall, I was at the Park Slope Food Coop and purchased a box of pectin. The woman at the register was intrigued to know what I was making, but I really didn’t have an answer at that point. I always like to have pectin on hand, just in case I wind something to jam. The advantage of using pectin is I can use less sugar (or other sweeteners) and still have the jam gel properly. This time I went simple and just used a bit of sugar, but in the past I’ve used honey or agave nectar for some jams. Just get yourself a box of pectin and you’re ready to go!
Low Sugar Berry Jam – Makes 4-5 half pints
- 4 c berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, etc)
- 3/4 c sugar (or 1/2 c honey or agave nectar)
- 2 tsp pectin powder
- 2 tsp calcium water (included with pectin)
Stem, hull, pit fruit as necessary. Mash fruit in medium saucepan. Add calcium water, mixing well, and bring to a boil. In separate bowl, mix pectin and sweetener. Add pectin-sweetener mix to fruit and stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes until pectin dissolves. Return to boil and remove from heat. Fill hot half pint or 4oz jelly jars, leaving 1/4in head space. Center lids and screw on rims. Process in boiling water bath for 10min.
Remove jars from water bath and do not disturb for 24 hours. Check seals on jars. Label sealed jars and store for up to 1 year.
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Ohhh preserving berry season! So important to get through the winter!
FYI I am *superbly* lazy – in addition it’s been real real hot around these parts as of late, so canning is low on my list of things to do. Instead, I freeze my berries. Usually I do a dry sugar pack, but with less sugar than recommended, and the berries come out fine. And by “fine” I don’t mean “just like when you picked them” but I do mean “great for baking or to put in yogurt.” 😀
My friend was talking about freezing berries. He freezes them individually on a cookie sheet, then once frozen packs them in bags. No sugar needed, but freezing individual berries? It makes jamming the lazy approach! 🙂
Oh I do that with strawberries – put them on a cookie sheet then bag them once they’re frozen – but other berries? No way! Would definitely make me less lazy!
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