What to do when someone gives you a flat of fresh picked strawberries. Make some jam! I love a good jam and strawberry is our favorite. But the hubby is a diabetic so I thought I’d would try some sugar free jam for him and regular for everyone else. The berries were large and really sweet and I hated to chop them all up for jam but we’ll enjoy the jam for longer than these berries will stay fresh. I kept the nicer berries out to slice for the dehydrator because we like those for snacking and cereal. I thought I had plenty to fill the dehydrator but turned out to only be 3 full trays. I hated to run the dehydrator with just three trays so I had some celery and carrots that were not the freshest but great for the dehydrator. So I grated the carrots for soups and sliced up all the celery for soups and celery salt. So now the dehydrator is full and I can start the jam.
I hulled all the berries this morning while I was watching the news. That takes the longest time when you have 12 quarts of berries to do. I smashed all the berries for the jam with my hamburger chopper from pampered chef and that worked great. I did run the stick blender through them quickly just to get the big chunks out, even though they don’t suggest that because it does something to the pectin. But once that was done I split the crushed berries into two pans. One for sugar free and one for regular jam. I followed the recipe in the pectin box because it is a great and easy recipe. Basically put the berries, lemon juice, tablespoon of butter and the pectin in the pan till it boils that you can’t stir it out. Then add the sugar or sugar substitute and return to boil for three minutes stirring constantly. I think I may have boiled it a little longer just because I had two pans going. Then I turned the both pans off and got my jars ready to fill. I had washed the jars earlier so I just kept them in the canner to keep them warm till jam was done. I filled all the jars with the sugar free jam first and then did the regular. I ended up with 5, 8 ouce jars and 1, 4 ounce jar. The regular jam I ended up with 12, 8 ounce jars. I put all the jars in my canner and put more water in to cover the jars. Boiled for 10 minutes. Turned off the canner and let it sit for 5 minutes and then took them out. For the most part they all popped as I was taking them out of the water. What didn’t popped within minutes of sitting. Of course, now the problem will be to keep everyone from eating it all before the summer is over.