A few years ago when I got into canning the thing that really frosted me was that so many jam recipes include more sugar than berries. The fruit that I can is organic, picked by me at the perfection of ripeness and I want to taste the fruit; only.
After some research I learned about Pomona’s Universal Pectin. This may end up smacking of an infomercial but it was life changing for me in a canning way. This pectin (the substance that causes the jam to gel) provides you can use honey as a sweetener or far less sugar than any other pectins (as well as other sugar substitutes) I’ve found. I was hooked. I’ve made many jams and jellies with this pectin using minimal honey with great success. It DOES taste like the fruit only. There have been some cases, making a jam of wild Raspberries and wild Rhubarb for instance, where sugar was the right taste for the jam and I’ve used the minimal recommended amount with no heavy sugar taste.
I did make a batch of strawberry jam using honey last year. Though it was delicious, the pallor of the jam was very gray, challenging the eye when eating it. Sugar does act to preserve the color better and that played out with this batch beautifully.
If you have not done canning, this is a very easy place to start. Being a complete botulism phobe I will tell you cleanliness and sanitation are critical in canning. It’s very easy (and quick in this case) but you must pay attention to your process. I will share the canning direction for this jam as well as will say you can eat it without canning it (I’d recommend after putting the fruit in hot jars, sealing and letting them cool before refrigerating). If you choose not to can it, I’d recommend keeping it in your refrigerator and eating it within a few weeks time. If you can the jam, it can remain on the pantry shelf unrefrigerated for up to a year (though I’ve kept mine at times closer to two years with no issues) and should be refrigerated after opening and eaten within two to three weeks. Always inspect stored canned goods when opening for a good seal, any growth inside the jar or odd smell. Discard in any of these cases. I have not ever had any of these occur personally.
On my way out the door this morning I slathered some of this beautiful jam on a roll. There is nothing happier to greet you in the morning that this ruby red, luscious jam that tastes quintessentially of summer.
I wanted to also share my favorite canning tools. They are readily available where any canning supplies are sold. For a very small cost, they make the task a breeze. You can see them in the photos above.
Jar Lifter: Use it for lifting jars easily in and out of hot water.
Magnetic Lid Grabber: Use to get the lids and rings out of hot water.
Canning Funnel: Make quick work and less mess of getting the jam into the jar.
Ironically after completing this post when retrieving the Pomona’s Universal Pectin website address, I note this video on their home page making this same recipe. It tracks what I do very closely showing the simplicity of the process.
Pomona’s Pectin “How to Make Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam” from Pomona Pectin on Vimeo.