Friday, September 27, 2013

Jammin' in the kitchen!

With a bounty of fresh fruit going on a super sale last month, we were excited to have a wonderful group of friends join us for some fun in the kitchen! There seems to be no limit to the amazing flavors and fruit combinations found in jams & jellies! 

The ingredients are gathered... ready... set...go!!

In the past we have made single fruit jams, such as strawberry jam, chokecherry jam, plum jam, ect. -- cooked in the traditional way with just as much sugar included as fruit. But this year we tried fruit combinations and a sugar free option!

Our favorite new fruit combinations:
strawberry - plum   ::   orange - lemon
strawberry - rhubarb   ::   mango - strawberry

...and all made completely sugar free!!

We were delighted to find this "Real Fruit Pectin - No Sugar Needed" at our local store! It came complete with recipes & instructions for making the switch to "low sugar" or "no sugar" jams & jellies. Yummy!! Total fruit jams are delicious! 

What an incredible day we had with these wonderful ladies! 
stories -- laughter -- teasing -- creativity -- tasting -- sharing -- giggles
Yep. That pretty much describes our day!

After 15 batches of jam, and much sampling & tasting... (Thank you Hannah for the batch of fresh bread! It definitely added to the delicious tasting spread!) ...this combination was voted the favorite:

Strawberry Mango Jam
8 cups strawberries, washed and hulled (enough to make 4 cups crushed berries)
3 cups fresh peeled, pitted and cut-up mango (enough to make 2 cups crushed mango)
Juice of 1 lime
1 (1.75 ounce) package no-sugar-needed pectin
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
(or 5 drops of liquid stevia or other natural sweetener)Instructions
1. Prepare 4 pints jars for jam by washing them in very hot water. Set out 4 rings and place lids in a bowl of almost boiling hot water. 

2. Place the berries in a large bowl and, using a potato masher or a large spoon, crush the berries (do not puree in a food processor). Measure out 4 cups crushed berries and place in a deep saucepan or stock pot. Place the mango pieces in the bowl and crush. Measure out 2 cups of mashed mango and place in the pot with the strawberries. Stir in the lime juice and pectin. 

3. Over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, bring the fruit to a full, rolling boil (the kind you can’t stop by stirring). Add the sugar or  sweetener all at once and stir to dissolve. CAREFULLY taste the mixture; add more sweetener if desired. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture back to a rolling boil, and cook and stir at a boil for 1 full minute. Remove from heat. Skim any foam off the top. (Using sugar will cause the foam as it boils. If you used a natural sweetener, there probably won't be any foam!) 

4. Spoon the jam into prepared jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. You may not need all the jars. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place a lid on each jar, and screw down tightly with a ring.

5. Using a hot pad, flip each filled jar upside-down onto its lid. Allow jars to cool undisturbed for an hour before turning them right side up.  Please note: if the jars are cool enough to be handled without a hot pad, they are not hot enough to seal correctly! Follow directions below to seal. 
Or ... transfer the filled jars into a pot of boiling water. When water returns to a full boil, boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and place on a towel or cutting board to cool completely, without being disturbed, for several hours. 

6. Enjoy the little *plink sounds* which mean your jam is sealed for the season!!  :)  

"O taste and see that the Lord is good;
 blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" 
Psalm 34:8

Linking up:


Anonymous said...

Oh they all sound amazing, and with friends over to help that had to be fun! :)

Mrs. Bryson said...

The little "plink" sound - definitely one of our favorite sounds of the season! Pomona's Pectin is our pectin of choice - have used it for many years & it also has fruit only/sugar substitute/sugar/honey/etc. options. They have a website with lots of good recipes too - no turning upside down .... One thing to keep in mind with very low or no sugar jams - they will mold much more quickly, perhaps within a week, if the jar is not used up! So don't let them get lost in the back of the frig ... or open one up "just before you leave" on a trip & leave it there, thinking it will be OK as a store-bought jam. It won't! Thanking God with you for the bounty He provides ~

Mrs. Bryson again said...

Oh - we also use evaporated cane juice crystals (Florida Crystals is one brand) for our sugar - works the same as white but the jams are a slightly different color. At the Mennonite bulk store in the Thumb of Michigan, I can get 50# for $38! ;)

Maria said...

Looks like you are having so much family fun!


Lexi said...

Looks like a tone of fun!
In Christ,

Gloria said...

Thank you for your insights! We didn't know something like this existed, and you've been doing it for years! We appreciate you sharing with us tips from your own experiences with it. And we agree... LOVE that 'plink!'

Mindy bean girl said...

We make your strawberry mango jam....

So delicious...

Would you mind posting pictures of you or One of the girls making your bread recipe?