My mom and aunt are wonderful canners so I had been wanting to try canning myself for awhile. I was intimidated by the process, but this year faced my canning fears and made strawberry jam! My family and I try to eat real unprocessed food and cut out refined sugar as much as we can, so I was on a quest to find a strawberry jam recipe that fit this criteria. Through research I discovered that my favorite food blog, 100 Days of Real Food, had a strawberry jam recipe that didn't use pectin and replaced the refined sugar with honey!
Why no pectin, you ask? Pectin is a natural occurring thickening agent and is extracted from fruit such as apples, plum, gooseberries and oranges. Some commercial pectins add dextrose or may contain artificial sweeteners, fillers or chemicals. If you are buying a "pure" commercial pectin, you may have no idea the pesticides/herbicides that were used on the fruit it was extracted from.
After reading the reviews of the 100 Days of Real Food strawberry jam recipe, I became nervous about how the jam would turn out. A handful of reviewers said the jam's consistency was thin due to the lack of pectin and it had a strong taste of honey. Overall, though, the majority of reviewers said it turned out great so I decided to go for it.
When shopping for the ingredients I tried to go as local as possible. The gorgeous strawberries purchased for the jam were from a local Oregon farm, Parsons Farms, and were melt in your mouth delicious! The raw honey purchased was from My Local Honey, a product available in Washington and Oregon. The back story of the company is really interesting so if you have a minute you should visit their website.
|Gorgeous strawberries from Parsons Farms|
|Raw Honey from My Local Honey|
Overall, the jam making process was a success! The 100 Days of Real Food recipe includes some great canning tips for newbies like me. I had a great time canning and it turned out to be a lot more simple than I thought and the strawberry jam turned out delicious! Yes, it isn't as thick as a store bought jam, but that doesn't bother my family and I. Also, we didn't get the strong taste of honey that some reviewers complained about. One thing to note is that the recipe states that you should get about 6 pints of jam where we only got 4.5 pints. Will I use this recipe again? Absolutely!
Next up...raspberry jam. I can't wait!