28 June 2011

Homemade Strawberry-Blueberry Jam (Sugar-free)

When I think of summer, nostalgia takes me to my grandma's yellow and white kitchen with the aroma of freshly baked bread and hot fruit on the stove.  I spent my summers (and winters) with grandma and grandpa, and it was there that I developed my love for home-cooked food and homemade goods.  Grandma was always baking bread (as my memory says) and she made lots of jam in the summer.  There are very few combinations better than that: homemade bread with a smear homemade jam.

After several years of wanting to make my own jam, I finally just went and bought a canning pot and dove right in.  I found a great sugar-free jam recipe here, modified it slightly, and it turned out great.   The recipe and instructions below seem daunting at first glance, but don't be afraid. Making jam is pretty simple.

Sugar-Free Strawberry-Blueberry Jam:

What you need:
2 cups prepared ripe (or frozen) strawberries
1 cup prepared ripe (or frozen) blueberries  (buy about 1 pint per cup of fruit)
3/4 cup water
1 box SURE.JELL For Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes Premium Fruit Pectin
12 SPLENDA® Packets No Calorie Sweetener
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar (I added this for good measure)
1 small bowl and 1 large bowl
3 Jars (I used  jars that held about 1 cup)
Canning lids and rings
Canning pot

What to do: 
1. Wash jars and rings with hot soapy water.  Fill canning pot 3/4 full of water and begin heating.  You want it hot and ready by for your jars.
2. Put lids in a small bowl and pour boiled water over them.  Keep them here until later.
3. Prepare fruit.  Wash and hull strawberries and mash with a potato masher.  Do the same with the blueberries.  Put these into a saucepan.
4. Put fruit in saucepan and stir in water.
5.  Slowly add pectin to the saucepan, stiring to make sure it dissolves well.
6. Bring fruit to a full rolling boil and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add Splenda.
7.  Ladle into prepared jars and wipe rims.  Use tongs to remove lids from hot water and place lids on jars. Secure with ring.  
8. Place in canner, making sure that jars are completely covered by 3-inches of water.
9. Bring to a boil, and cover for 10 minutes.
10. Remove jars and let cool on towel for 24 hours. The rings should make a popping noise after about an hour--this is good as it means they are sealing properly.  Once the jars are cooled, test for a proper seal by pressing on center of lid.  If it doesn't bounce back, it is sealed and can be stored in your pantry.  If it didn't seal, refrigerate and enjoy.
11.  It will take about a day for the jam to solidify completely. Don't worry if it seems too thin at first--this is normal. 
**Note: Remove the rings from jars for storing.  You can re-use these over and over.  Lids, however, can't be reused.

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