Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sugar Free Strawberry Freezer Jam (Using Honey instead of Sugar or Splenda)

Okay, so as I mentioned in my last post, I had lots of strawberries, and I wanted to make some jam. Without sugar. But I don't believe in Splenda or all those other artificial sweeteners. I think they're just as bad for you as the real deal, and in my opinion not nearly as good. So I use honey. That is my sweetener of choice. And really, the flavor it adds to stuff, starts to grow on you after awhile. :)

Like this Strawberry Jam. Honestly, I like it far better than regular Strawberry Jam. You know, the jam that calls for 4 cups of Sugar and 2 cups of strawberries...to make 3-4 pints of jam. That's at least one whole cup of sugar, per pint...and only half a cup of strawberries! The suggested serving size for jam, is one Tablespoon. (who actually only uses only 1 tablespoon of jam?) Ok. So...There are 2 cups in a pint, and 16 Tablespoons in a cup. So, there's 32 servings of jam per pint. So let's see...that would make 1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar, and 1/4 Tablespoon of Strawberries. That isn't even one whole Strawberry.

So here's a visual for you...this is what this looks like...in black and white.

I took 1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar, and then smashed up one small strawberry...making a little over 1/4 Tablespoon of Strawberries. Do you see that? That's crazy!! I don't know about you, but I would never eat the bread in the above picture...much less feed it to my child. But, honestly, that's what we're doing! Okay. I'm all grossed out right now. So. Now that we have this out of the way...here's a much better version. :)

I originally was looking for some "No Sugar Needed Sure Jell". But I couldn't find any, and I was in a hurry. So I grabbed a pink box of Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin, with No Sugar Needed Recipes inside. But ew. You had to cook the jam, and it called for Splenda. One of the main things that attracted me to this particular one was that it called for 4 cups of Strawberries, and only 3 cups of sugar. All I did, was followed the recipe exactly as it was in the box. Substituting honey for the sugar...and adding one ingredient into it. :)
So here you go.

Recipe:

4 Cups of crushed Strawberries
2 1/2 -3 cups of Honey
one box of Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin
4 Tablespoons of Cornstarch

Wash and rinse your containers and lids.Rinse and hull your strawberries, and then crush them in a food processor or blender. Measure exact amount of fruit into a bowl. Measure Honey into a saucepan and stir in one box of Sure Jell. Mix well. Add one cup of water. Combine 4 Tablespoons of Cornstarch in 4 Tablespoons of water. Mix until cornstarch is totally dissolved. Add to the Honey and Sure Jell mixture. Bring to a full rolling boil. Stirring constantly. Boil for one full minute. Mixture should be nice and thick.
Pour into bowl of strawberries, Stir until combined. Fill prepared containers. Leaving about a 1/2 inch space at the top for expansion during freezing. Let Stand at room temperature for 24 hrs, until set. Refrigerate up to 3 wks. Otherwise store them in the freezer for up to a year.

This recipe made 4 pints of Jam.


Enjoy!

Here are some other suggestions for strawberries: Strawberry Salsa, Strawberry Honey Butter

And if you don't have a great bread recipe, go here: Whole Wheat Bread Recipe. This recipe is very versatile, and delicious.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Strawberry Salsa

So It's strawberry season! YAY! :) There are few things more delicious, and summer, than a fresh warm strawberry. They're so red...and juicy...and...good. :) But the fact is, by the time strawberry season is saying it's final goodbye's, even the most ardent of strawberry lovers, can walk by a dish of fresh strawberries without a second look...or even a bite. It's sad. But true.

So this kinda tends to make you want to run, and scream. But not from the joy of having more strawberries than you need. It's more like a scream of frustration and terror. A run aimlessly directed...anywhere. So long as it gets you away from the strawberries. The molding strawberries. The squishy bruised strawberries. The slightly unripe strawberries. The giant strawberries that poured all of their energy into becoming the largest one of the pack, and seemingly none of their energy into becoming flavorful. Those strawberries are cruel and misled. So you're running away from that bowl of strawberries. Your screaming from the injustice of it all. You're deeply desiring to bury these strawberries. Well, at least that's how I get.

But anyway. Back to the subject.

So basically yesterday I spent most of the day with my mother in law and sister in law's making strawberry jam. I didn't make any. Because I was horrified at how much sugar it took. So I smugly watched from the sidelines and ran the timer for them. "Stop STIRRING! Your minute is up!" "Hey! You're supposed to stir the ENtire 3 minutes. Don't stop now, you have 17 seconds left." Yeah. So in the end I took home a large bowl full of strawberries to make my own, much less deadly jam. ;) Which, I made this morning. But I have to wait til tomorrow to see if it turned out. :) I only made one batch, no use helplessly flopping several batches of jam. Needless to say, I had quite a few strawberries left over.

So I made Strawberry Salsa.

I love fresh salsa. I love all things salsa. I can eat salsa by the spoonfuls. And if you have never had strawberry salsa, you are missing out. It's rather incredible. [on a side note, I've now written salsa so many times that I'm no longer sure if I'm spelling it correctly.]

It's sweet...and strawberry-y... and salsa-y. And awesome. GO TRY IT NOW!

Oh wait. You need the recipe. About that. Growing up my younger bro Veldon, was the one who made the strawberry salsa in the family. He made the best. [But that's probably because he was the only one that ever made it.] So I never recall seeing the recipe. So I sorta just felt it...ya know?


Recipe:
4-5 cups of finely chopped strawberries
1 chopped large green pepper
1 medium sized red onion finely chopped
1/2 of a large jalapeno (or however much you want) minced
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 small lime juiced
1 small lemon juiced
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2-3Tablespoons of Honey (or to taste)
A little bit of Crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 -4 hrs. (Or skip that part and just eat it all up right away.)
Serve with tortilla chips, or cooked chicken, or turkey, or pork...or...the options are as endless as they are delicious.

I put mine in jars to freeze. It made about 2 1/2 pints. Also! I found this really awesome place online where you can customize and print off your own labels! For free! You can choose from 5 different designs, and 3 different colors. So that's what I did. As you can see in the above picture. I just printed them on regular copy paper. Tediously cut them out. (the only drawback) Then, I "glued" them on with milk! It worked like a charm. :) 
I have yet to see if the label will stay on once I freeze it, but oh well. It looks cool right now. :) I'm letting them set out for awhile, so the flavors mix, before I freeze them. I like freezing stuff like salsa and jam's, better than canning them. Because they're fresher tasting when you go to eat them.  
Here is the link: Jam Labelizer


So yeah! There you go! Please try it. Really. It's one of my favorites. Let me know how it turns out and what you think of it!

If you want to know of another good way to use up excess strawberries, you could always make strawberry honey butter! Recipe here: Strawberry Honey Butter


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