by the handful

Nutritious culinary and healing recipes collected from the North American garden, orchard, forest, river and ocean

My Wife’s Strawberry Jam

jam1This blog post is by my wife, Rhiannon, who makes the best fresh strawberry jam that has been honed over the course of multiple batches.

I get so excited when strawberry season begins because I love taking my kids out to the farm to pick berries and making jam. I love fresh strawberry jam but I don’t like all the sugar needed when using traditional pectin. I don’t use refined sugar in my kitchen and my sweetener of choice is raw honey because of its anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Raw honey can strengthen your immune system and fight allergies. These are just a few of the benefits, plus is tastes so good. I have used Pomona’s Pectin to make jam because you can use less sugar or other sweeteners like raw honey and it turns out great, but I wanted to bump up the nutrition even more by using grass-fed gelatin to thicken it. Grass-fed gelatin is different from the artificially flavored and colored Jello you ate as a kid. It is full of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals and is great for skin, strong bones, arthritis support, improves digestion, lowers inflammation and more. I get the Great Lakes brand of gelatin in the red can.

My Wife’s Strawberry Jam

About 3 cups frozen strawberries (equals about 1 1/2 cups thawed)

1/4 cup raw honey

1 tsp grass-fed gelatin

1 pint-size jar

I discovered that frozen berries work best so when you bring your fresh berries home from the farm, wash, hull and freeze them. It seems silly to freeze them just so you can thaw them out, but there are two really good reasons to do this. First, you need some liquid to dissolve your gelatin and when you thaw frozen berries there is quite a bit of juice that can be used. Water could be used to dissolve the gelatin, but the flavor of your jam will be diluted a little. Second, thawed berries are easier to mash than fresh berries. I don’t like to cook my berries because jam made with raw berries keeps that bright, freshly picked taste.

So, thaw your frozen berries and drain most of the juice into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the juice and let it “bloom.” This means that the juice will absorb the gelatin. This will take a few minutes. While your gelatin is blooming, mash the thawed berries in a bowl. Add the honey and mix well, then set aside. Once your gelatin is all absorbed in the juice, heat it over medium-high heat. Whisk it as it heats for a couple minutes to completely dissolve the gelatin, but don’t let it boil. Slowly pour the gelatin juice into the mashed berries while mixing well. Then pour the jam into a pint-size jar and refrigerate for at least six hours to thicken. Use immediately or put in the freezer. Jam will keep up to a week in the refrigerator after opening.

jam5

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