Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Basic Berry Jelly - Strawberry Style

First - I feel like I should say these photos were not altered in anyway... don't you just LOVE it when the strawberries are so red and sweet and gorgeous. It kinda makes you feel like life is just about as good as it gets.

Our local market still caters to the small town shoppers and then run specials when fruits (and veggies) are in season for people to be able to freeze or can them.

Deep in the middle of winter at our house - I told Joseph, I am making Jelly this spring. When Kent's puts their berries on sale, I am going to make jam. He was super supportive of my crazy idea - after all, the grape jelly we made 2 summers ago was a huge success. *Plus, Jelly can end up being on the pricey-er side and if you want one that doesn't contain 75% sugar - well, you actually might be out of luck.

So we set out to watch for the flats of strawberries to go on sale - and plotted our jelly making strategy.

First of all, I wanted to make Jelly - I don't like jam. Perhaps it will be frowned upon by my fellow fruit lovers out there - but I do NOT like chunks of fruit on my toast or in my sandwich

Second, I wanted to use as little sugar as possible - I investigated options like honey, maple syrup and no sweeteners at all.

Third, this was going to be freezer jam (jelly) I have all the freezer space in the world (because both our sets of parents have huge deep freezes that they keep Popsicles for the kids and ice cream fro grandpa in.

You are going to need some equipment

At least 1 large pot;
Large spoons and ladles
Ball jars with lids and rings OR Plastic freezer storage containers (like Rubbermaid or Ziploc)
Blender or Food Mill
and eventually a freezer


2 cups crushed strawberries (about 2 1lb containers)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
6 Tbsp Low Sugar / No Sugar Pectin
5 Plastic (8 oz) containers or 8 oz half pint glass jars with lids and bands 


Put your jars or containers in your dishwasher - wash them on your hottest cycle - Sanitize if you have it. 

Wash and hull your berries. 

Now crush your fruit - I wanted mine as smooth as possible, so I borrowed my mom's super blender and just put the berries and blended them into a puree. 

combiner your blended strawberries with lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sugar, mixing thoroughly. Let stand 10 minutes. You can use less sugar because you are using low sugar pectin - taste it as you go along - make it as sweet as you like, but you will get to use less (and therefore making it better for you)

Add water and pectin in a small saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, continuing to stir.

Add cooked pectin mixture to fruit mixture stir for 3 minutes.

Ladle freezer jam into clean jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Apply caps and let jam stand in refrigerator until set, but no longer than 24 hours. 

Serve immediately, refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year