• Make it Yourself: Honey Berry Jam

    by  • June 29, 2009 • Local Food, Make it Yourself • 10 Comments

    The strawberry dilemma of a few weeks ago was solved this Wednesday when we got another six quarts of berries from our Wayward Seed fruit CSA.  I was thrilled!!

    yes, that is a fruit thief hand

    yes, that is the hand of a fruit thief!

    In the span of a few hours on Thursday, I made three quarts of berries into jam. Many people bemoan jam making, but it really is quite simple.

    Over the last few years I have developed a recipe using honey instead of refined sugar for the sweetener.  Honey is arguably healthier and provides a delicious compliment to the tart strawberries.

    Here’s how I jam:

    1) Wash three quarts berries

    2) Remove stems and chop into pieces (I do this in my hand dropping pieces right into a ten quart cooking pot )

    3) Place eight pint jars in your canner (I use our pressure cooker pot), add water, and bring to a boil.

    4) Place lids (new) and rings (can be reused) in a smaller pot, fill with water and bring to a boil.

    5) Back to the berries: Mash with potato masher and add one packet of Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin, Low Sugar.  Mash more until all large pieces are broken and Sure-Jell is well mixed.

    6) Put strawberries on a burner set on medium and bring to boil.

    (Yes, you now have three pots on the stove.  I suggest doing this on a cool day.)

    7) (Meanwhile) Once jars are boiling, carefully lift out and place on a towel next to strawberry burner.  I use cooking tongs in one hand to grab the jar and a towel in other hand to hold it as soon as it is out of the boiling water.  Dip a ladle into boiling water to sanitize it too.

    8) When strawberries are at boil, add in four cups of honey.  Stir frequently.

    9) Allow strawberry/honey to return to boil and then keep at boil for five minutes.  Stir frequently.

    10) Turn off the heat.

    11) One at a time, fill jars:

    • Funnel jam into santized jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of the top. I use a Stainless Steel Wide-Mouth Funnel to make this easier.
    • Wipe rim with clean towel
    • Place lid centered on top
    • Screw on lid to finger tight
    • Carefully place into canner

    12) Fill canner with enough water that all jars are covered by at least one inch.

    13) Return canner to high heat.  Boil for ten minutes.

    14) Remove jars to a towel.

    15) Allow to cool completely (24 hours).

    16) Remove rings and wipe away any jam that may have escaped to the sides.

    That’s it!  I know 16 steps sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t hard and only takes about two hours start to finish.  The quality is astounding compared to store bought jam.

    Making jam is an investment initally.  Thrift stores often have appropriate pots and sometimes pint jars too.  You can see that I don’t use or recommend a canner specific pot – any tall sided pot will do.  Jar tongs are handy but not necessary.  You do need to buy new lids each time to create a proper seal.

    Do you make jam? What’s your favorite kind?

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    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. I often wear purple and never refuse a drink.


    10 Responses to Make it Yourself: Honey Berry Jam

    1. Kristin
      June 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm

      I made some jam a couple of weeks ago. I used the sugar/lemon juice no pectin recipe. It doesn’t get super firm, but it is tasty! I recycled a Sweet Thing jar b/c I had no ball jars. Since then I bought some at Big Lots – 12 jars for around $5 – not bad. Thanks for the lid tip – I would have just kept reusing them….:)

    2. June 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

      thanks for the recipe. Also, do you have a 4 person fruit csa?

    3. Tara
      June 7, 2010 at 11:15 am

      Thanks for this!! I have wanted to try all honey and no white sugar, but was to scared to have it not turn out (and waste all my berries and TIME!! ) So thanks you for being the guinea pig for us :)

      • June 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm

        I hope this recipe works out for you!

        This year I’ve been using Pomona pectin which can use any amount of sugar/honey/sugar substitutes. The instructions on the box are easy to follow and I love the results.

    4. Rachell
      September 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      I know this is an old post but I just stumbled across it. I did sugar free peach jam this year with honey. It didn’t seem to set as well but just as tasty. Have you done jam with frozen berries? We got a little too ambitious this year and have a bunch of frozen strawberries and then someone gave us some boysenberries and mulberries I’m not sure what to do with. I’m feeling a mixed berry jam but wasn’t sure about using frozen. Plus, I didn’t want two new variables with frozen and no sugar so I was curious about your experience.

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    8. Sharon O'Connor
      June 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

      I recently made several batches of Strawberry jams. Balsamic Strawberry w/ Thai Basil, Strawberry Rose, Strawberry Vanilla Mint and Strawberry Lime. The lime tastes like a Strawberry Margarita. The rose is my favorite. I used Rose Water, common in Persian cooking. I added 2 tsp to a batch which produced 5 1/2 pint jars.

    9. June 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      I do have the 4 person, every other week CSA, Beth. You?

      Kristin, I’ll have to look for jars at big lots – that’s a good price. I need some more pints.

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