Do you love making freezer jam, but hate all the sugar that has to be added to make it jell? Then once your fresh fruit is made into jam you almost feel guilty eating it because it’s loaded with sugar?
This was my predicament for many summers. I think it kind of defeats the purpose of making jam if it ends up being pure sugar and you have to treat it like a dessert you can only consume on special occasions.
The problem with most freezer jam
I always choose to make freezer jam because it saves time in the kitchen. You just mash your fruit, add sweetener and pectin, and you’ve got jam to store in your freezer and enjoy all year long. The issue with most fruit pectins is they require SO MUCH sugar to create a firm jam. It always seemed so silly because the berries I use to make jam are already sweet. I noticed the high sugar content would sometimes overpower the flavor of the delicious fruit I had so carefully selected for my jam. And I’m just not down with that.
Furthermore, I would prefer to use a natural sweetener, like raw local honey, to sweeten my homemade jam. If only there was a way to make freezer jam with a natural sweetener. Oh, but there is!
Last year I felt like I hit the jackpot when I discovered this natural pectin that is extracted from citrus peels. This pectin depends on calcium instead of ridiculous amounts of added sugar to get a firmly set jam.
This pectin allows you to use low amounts of the sweetener of your choice. Honey, maple syrup, sugar, sucanat, stevia, or any other sweetener…YOU choose.
A packet of calcium powder is included in each box, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing any extra ingredients. The powder is mixed with water to make a calcium water that can be stored in the refrigerator for several months and used for future batches of your delicious jams or jellies!
If freezer jam isn’t your thing, you can also use this pectin to make cooked jams and jellies.
Now I can finally slather my favorite freezer jam on my toast, knowing it’s sweetened with just a bit of honey, and not fear that I’ll collapse into a sugar coma after breakfast. Check out the recipe I use:
Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Freezer Jam
(recipe adapted from Pomona’s Pectin insert – makes about 6 cups)
You will need:
- 4 cups mashed strawberries (rinsed and hulled prior to mashing)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ½ cup raw local honey
- ¾ cup filtered water
- 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin powder
- 5-6 teaspoons calcium water (calcium included in pectin box)
- blender or food processor (we highly recommend this blender)
- several small glass canning jars and lids (this recipe filled six 8-oz. jars for me)
- Prepare your calcium water using instructions on pectin insert. Set aside.
- Prepare several small glass jars and lids by washing and/or sterilizing and set aside.
- Combine mashed berries and lime juice in large bowl and mix well.
- Add honey to bowl with berries and lime juice and stir thoroughly to mix.
- Bring water to a boil, then pour into a blender or food processor. Add pectin powder and blend for 1-2 minutes, venting lid so steam can escape.
- Add hot liquid pectin to the bowl of fruit, mixing well.
- Add 5 teaspoons calcium water and mix well. Your jam should start jelling at this point. If it isn’t jelling, you can continue adding 1 teaspoon of calcium water, stirring well after each addition, until desired consistency is reached. (Keep in mind it will be thinner than cooked jam.)
- Fill jars with jam, leaving about ½” of head space. Screw on lids, and freeze immediately. You can start eating your first batch right away!
*Once thawed, jam will keep in the refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks. You can make your jam in small 4 oz. canning jars if you’re afraid larger amounts will go to waste in the fridge.
Looking for other ways to enjoy your fresh strawberries? See all our favorite ways to use and preserve in-season strawberries here!