Thursday, May 28, 2015

Freezer Jam

When the girls were young, strawberry picking season was much anticipated.  William is happy that my friend, Becky, dropped off a flat of them picked that morning by someone else! Manipulating virtual robots on his computer screen draws his attention much more than squatting in a field looking for ripe berries.

Freezer jam is a tradition, passed to me from my mother-in-law.  The intense strawberry flavor, particularly in the winter, makes your mouth tingle. The berries Becky brought were small, very red, and loaded with flavors and aroma.  These were locally grown and the horse apples they try to pass off as strawberries at StuffMart can't compare.

Freezer jam is so easy and quick to make, yet traditionally, it is loaded with sugar.  Looking for a way to reduce the carbs and sugar for a jam lover with Type 1 Diabetes, I could only find a few recipes, but most were for cooked varieties and in my opinion, cooking lessens the intense flavor. So, I made my own.  It turned out fabulous.  Here's how:

Clean the strawberries and remove the leaves and hull.  Put a layer of them in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until there are no large chunks but bits of strawberries are visible.  If you have a boy helping you do this, be sure to show the technique of gently pushing down with the masher rather than banging the strawberries like with a hammer. Either that or change your white shirt before proceeding.  Make four cups of mashed strawberries.

In a saucepan, combine one box of Sure Jell No Sugar Needed with 1.5 cups of sugar substitute.  Mix well. Add one cup of cold water and stir until there are no lumps.  Bring this mixture to a boil and boil for one minute.  Stir the hot mixture directly into the mashed strawberries.  Stir until well blended.  Transfer the mixture into clean jars and put the lids on.  Let sit overnight to gel and then put in the freezer.  

My preliminary estimation is that there are 2 grams carbohydrate per tablespoon.  I believe with sugar it would be about 6 grams carbs per tablespoon.  It set well with the caveat that freezer jam is not like cooked jelly, but is a thick mixture.  It tastes really good on fresh baked bread or for those of you watching the gluten and carbs, on Fage yogurt.  

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