The last time I made strawberry jam, Jan complained that it was too sweet. I decided to cut the sugar way back. At the start, I was unsure whether I would need to add some commercial pectin. This is a total experiment.
I simmered the strawberry mixture for half a hour and the jam had reached my desired consistency. However, in testing it, I found that it would not jell. One teaspoon of commercial pectin was enough to get it to set up nicely.
Karl’s Low-Sugar Ginger Strawberry Jam
3 cups strawberries
½ cup sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1± tsp. commercial pectin, if necessary
1. Rinse, trim, and slice the strawberries into small pieces.
Tip: I cut each strawberry in half and then sliced the halves into 5-7 slices
Note: I had originally planned to use four cups of strawberries, but daughter Eilene found them first.
2. Put the strawberries, sugar, juice, zest, and ginger into a small heavy pot.
Note: Put some jars in a pot of water. Sterilize them and their lids for 20 minutes.
3. Stir the ingredients to mix and let the strawberries to macerate for 30 minutes.
Tip: The sugar draws out the strawberries’ juices and breaks down their cell walls to make a saucy mixture.
Note: Do not let them macerate for more than 30 minutes or they will turn to mush. You want your jam to have some texture.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer it for 30 minutes.
Tip: During the last five minutes, scoop out a bit of jam with a teaspoon and set it on a plate with a cube of ice. After three minutes, pour the contents of the teaspoon back into the pot. If the fruit mixture pours off of the spoon it has not set. If the jelly slides off of the spoon in a sheet it has enough pectin in it to fully set once you put it into the jars.
Note: Most of the pectin in this recipe comes from the white pith attached to the lemon zest. If you zester takes very fine shavings of the lemon skin you may not get enough pectin to set your jam. In this case, you will need to add just a tough of commercial pectin.
5. (If necessary) Sprinkle one teaspoon of pectin over the fruit mixture and stir it in.
6. Simmer the jam for another five minutes and test it for jelling again.
Note: If your jam still hasn’t set, repeat steps 5 and 6.
7. Pour the jam into the sterilized jars and screw on the lids.
8. Let the jars cool and store them in the refrigerator.
Note: This is a small enough batch that you do not need to worry about long term storage. They will very likely be consumed in one month.