"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~Confucius

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Strawberry Preserves

We also found some organic strawberries at the farmer's market on Saturday, which is a blessing because in our home strawberries are commodity! Jason and Kai's eyes actually lit up when they saw them...Jason started getting visions of strawberry jam, which always seems to be the first thing to disappear from our pantry, and Kai loves a good strawberry-banana smoothie. A 3 pack cost us $10, so they were cheaper than the other berries we've been buying.

After dicing up the berries and removing the tough white parts, we put the chopped fruit into a stock pot with a half of a cup of water and let them simmer until the berries were soft. Next I used an immersion blender to smooth out the juiced pulp. I don't usually do this, but Jason likes a smoother preserve while I enjoy it chunkier, so I blended it until it I thought it would please us both. The only thing I didn't like about this part of the process (other than losing all those nice bits of strawberry) was that it created a lot of foam. I remembered hearing that a trick to get rid of foam is to add a bit of butter to the mix, so I tried this rather than skimming it off, and it seemed to work rather nicely.

From here we followed the direction included in the package of low sugar pectin. I added about a 1/2 of a cup of water and approximately 70% of a package of pectin, bringing the mixture to a boil for EXACTLY one minute and then took it off the heat before adding the Splenda. This amount of berries only makes about a half of a batch of jam, so the ratio we used here was 3 cups of pulp to 2 cups of Splenda (or sugar if you prefer). We filled five 1/2 pint jars which we then processed in a water bath for 10 minutes, and so far the set looks perfect. It is definitely nice to have this back in the pantry again!

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