Sugar-free Jam?! What?!

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Before this summer making jam wasn’t on my repertoire of things to do.  It seemed like a daunting task.  A full day in a steamy kitchen, sweating and smelling of raspberries just didn’t seem like my idea of a good time.   I know, shocker.

I do love me some jam though and my eldest son consumes it in a similar fashion to the time we saw the lion feeding at the zoo.  His eyes get slightly glazed over and there may or may not be some grunting involved.

So when I learned that there was a way to make Jam that didn’t have to involve 17 hours of work, I was curious.

When I learned that there was a way to can jam without having all of the fancy pants pots, I leaned in a bit and started to eavesdrop.

But it wasn’t until I heard the words sugar-free combined with delicious that my jaw dropped and I raised my hand and jumped up and down repeating, “pick me!  pick me!”

It seemed too good to believe but I knew I had to try it.  I don’t know about you  but I’m a visual learner.  It’s why my favourite recipes are ones that have lots of pictures in the cook book!  The pages with no pictures?  Skip right by ’em.

So when my friend offered to come over and make it with me I knew life couldn’t get much better than that.

Being taught in person by someone who knows well?  Amazing.

Being able to produce something awesome while chatting and stirring together in a kitchen?  Triple amaze.

I kid you not this is the most amazing jam I have ever tasted.  It also contains not one stitch of added sugar, though of course there are naturally occuring sugars.  And if I told you it only takes an hour would you believe me?  Because it does.  One. Hour.

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I arrived home from the berry farm at 8:30 am and spent the next 10 minutes washing the berries.  So far I’ve made strawberry, raspberry and blueberry. The strawberries are the only ones you have to slice up – so that might take an extra few minutes.  The raspberries and blueberries are fine to use whole.

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Measure out 12 cups of berries and dump them into a largish pot on the stove.

Grate up a green (granny smith!) apple, peel and all, and chuck it into the pot!

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Note: the apple must be green as they have the highest levels of naturally occuring pectin, especially near the center of the apple.  This is your natural Certo!  No more icky preservatives or chemicals under the guise of ‘natural flavours’ entering our jam, thank you very much!  If you like a thicker jam you can add 2 apples.  I did with my raspberries but not my blueberries so we can also use it more like a runnier syrup!

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Squeeze the juice of one lemon and add it to your berries.  I also like to grate the peel finely and add the zest in because in my opinion you can never get enough lemon zest!

Next, measure out one and a half cups of honey.  The local-er and more organic-er the better!  Put that into your berry pot and you are ready to cook!

I cooked mine over medium heat adjusting the temperature slightly along the way to avoid any unsightly boil-over.  As the berries heat up they’ll start to liquify and you want to get a good boil going.  Once that happens, turn the temperature down a bit but still having a rolling bubble.

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Set your timer for 45 minutes and stir at random.  If your berries aren’t breaking down as much as you’d like you can either use the potato masher to mush ’em or a handheld blender does the trick too.  Depends if you like your jam on the smoother side or with some nice berry chunks in it.

Your jam will start to reduce and thicken and will literally taste like heaven.  After the 45 minutes it should be done!  The most amazing jam you will ever taste and it contains zero added sugar, is completely natural and as organic as the ingredients you choose to add are!

There you have it.  One hour, amazing result, and a great thing to keep your people happy throughout the year!

**I obviously haven’t included the ‘canning’ process here as there are a bazillion youtube videos about that.  however, if you’d like a rhonda tutorial on my simple ways without large pots or fancy racks, let me know!

Making jam is my new jam!  (ha ha too much?!)

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