During strawberry season you can usually get a flat of ripe organic strawberries for cheap ($20-$25). A “flat” is 6 pounds or 4 three-packs. I like to buy a flat and keep a three pack to eat fresh and can the rest as strawberry jam. This recipe makes enough strawberry jam to fill your canning pot perfectly full with maybe a little left over to top ice cream while it is still hot!
This recipe will fill 13 eight ounce jars of jam. This is like getting 13 jars of gourmet strawberry preserves for $1.50-$2 a piece. If you are intimidated by canning for making this much jam, then simply divide this recipe by three and make just enough to keep in the fridge.
Agave is slightly more sweet than sugar, but I use it in much smaller amounts than most recipes to make it a low-sugar strawberry jam. Agave tastes great with strawberries and doesn’t overpower it, but you could use honey or organic cane sugar instead.
This is also my first time using Pamona’s Universal Pectin. It is the only pure pectin (no fillers) on the market that I know of. They include a little packet of calcium powder that is essential for making the pure pectin jell and give instructions for mixing it with water and adding it to the fruit. If you are using Ball or another brand, buy the low or no-sugar needed pectin and you will skip the calcium water step.
Makes: about 13 C.
Cans: 13 eight oz. jars or 7 pint jars
Very ripe organic strawberries (You will need 4 pounds, or 8 full baskets, or 12 C. mashed)
2 Tb. calcium water (if using Pamona’s)
2 C. or 1, 23.5 oz. bottle organic agave
2 Tb. Pamona’s pectin
- Mix up your calcium water according to the packet if using Pamona’s.
- Set up your canner. Sterilize 13 eight ounce jars or 7 pint jars along with lids and rings.
- Wash and stem the berries. (Freeze the tops if desired for use in smoothies)
- Coarsely mash with a potato masher. Measure 12 cups. Mix with the calcium water.
- Bring the berries to a boil, stirring often.
- Whisk the pectin and agave. Add to the boiling berries and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes.
- Bring back to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat when the second boil is reached.
- Skim the pink foam off the top and discard. Stir.
- Ladle into hot jars with 1/4 inch headspace. Secure lids.
- Process 10 minutes.
- Wash the strawberries. Cut a little more than 1/4 inch off the top and place them in a gallon ziplock freezer bag to use in smoothies. (Yes, the green tops can be eaten as a great source of chlorophyll!)
- Halve or quarter the strawberries. You should have about 20 cups. This amount is not as important as the mashed amount.
- Place in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher, until they are the consistency you like for strawberry jam. I leave mine a little chunky, but no big pieces. You should have about 12 C. of mashed strawberries.
- Stir in the calcium water to the mashed berries. Place in a large, heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Thoroughly whisk the pectin into the agave. When the mashed berries have come to a boil, add the pectin-agave mixture and stir vigorously for one or two minutes to make sure the pectin is well dissolved and distributed. Bring the jam back to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking on the bottom. Remove from heat.
- Skim off the top layer of pink foam that has most likely formed on your jam. Discard the foam. Stir the jam.
- Fill your hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place the sterilized lids and bands on, fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes in your boiling water canner. Let cool overnight before removing the rings and checking the seals.
- You can do the spoon test to check if your jam has jelled. After it has come to the second boil and you have turned off the heat, place a spoon in a cupful of ice to chill it. Place some jam on the chilled spoon. Wait one minute then tip it. If it is very runny, keep heating further, if not you are ready to fill the jars.
- The jam might look a little loose when you are filling your canning jars. After processing and cooling it will have fully jelled.
- You can make 100% fruit sweetened jam. The chart that comes in Pamona’s packet or Ball’s low-sugar Pectin will give you instructions. Just make sure to use the sweetest variety of strawberries you can find.
- Generally 1 C. of chopped strawberries will produce 1/2 C. of mashed strawberries. As you increase the amount, you will find that the chopped strawberries will yield a little more than half when mashed. For instance, 14 C. of chopped yields 8 C. mashed.
- Go ahead and can the whole flat of strawberries!! 6 pounds of berries should get you about 16 cups of mashed. You will end up using the whole packet of Pamona’s pectin and 3 Tb. of calcium water. I would try using 2 1/2 cups of agave or more to your taste. You will end up with about 18 C. of jam.
- If you final product looks like multiple colors of pink and red jam (light on top and dark on the bottom), not to worry. Just stir it after opening to distribute the pulp or chunks that can float to the top in canning. This is more likely to happen if you use a very large variety of berry that has more fibrous white strands in the middle of the berry.