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It's Time for Strawberry Jam

It’s strawberry picking time again, and it would be a crime to let it go by without doing everything strawberry-related.  Strawberry jam makes the memory of summer last through the year,  so I made a batch with the first berries I picked. 

Making jam with pectin and tons of sugar is not difficult.  Measure, follow the directions and voila, you have jars of the 'J' in PBJ sandwiches. But the quantity of sugar needed for pectin based jams and jellies is staggering – some recipes call for nearly equal amounts of sugar and crushed fruit, and the resulting jam just tastes like sugar. 

“NO MORE” my brain said to me. And so I dug around and found a ‘Low-Sugar Pectin-Free Strawberry Jam’ recipe. I tweaked it a little by cooking it longer than it said to, and the results are outstanding.  My family is loving it.  So much I’ll need to make more soon.  

Strawberry Jam

12-14 cups fresh strawberries
4 tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice

Directions

Rinse berries and remove the green hulls
Crush them one layer at a time in a large, heavy-bottomed pot
Peel and core apples and dice them small
Add the apples, sugar and the lemon juice to the pot with the strawberries and bring to a boil, stirring.
Put a small plate in the refrigerator. You will use this to tell whether the jam is thick enough.
Simmer for a long time, stirring regularly. Your house will smell like strawberries.
As the jam begins to thicken, drop a small amount on the chilled plate and check the texture. If it's not thick enough, clean the place and put it back in the fridge and cook the berries for 20 more minutes. When it is thick enough for your tastes, it’s done. 
Mine cooked for about 2 ½ hours on low and the volume reduced by nearly half.
Place in hot, sterilized canning jars and cover with sterilized lids and rings.
Process in a boiling water bath for 5-7 minutes.