Last summer, I had high hopes of making some sort of jam for the first time. I had a ton of blueberries and enough blackberries to feed my entire town, but I couldn’t find the right recipe (one without white sugar) to make the kind of jam I wanted to.
I knew that with so many strawberries from my first trip picking last Saturday, I would need to finally find that jam recipe.
A blog I came across a few months back actually posted a jam recipe that I vaguely remembered. I went back and checked it out and it turned out to be the perfect one!
Jill at Real Food Forager made a jam by cooking down frozen raspberries and sweetening it by adding honey at the end. I figured this had to work with fresh strawberries…right?
From a little Googling, I figured out that using the least ripe berries would be best if I wanted to forgo using pectin to help it set. The least ripe berries have more pectin in them than the ripe ones, so they will produce a more jam-like consistency. So I picked out the least ripe strawberries from my six quarts and ended up with about 1 1/2 quarts for the jam.
In a large shallow skillet, I put the hulled berries in one layer and added just a little bit of water. I also sprinkled them with a tiny bit of salt.
Over low heat, I let it start bubbling. I mashed up the berries a good bit and let it continue to bubble, stirring frequently (no need to stand next to the stove the whole time, but don’t go too long without stirring).
I just sort of eyeballed it and when I could tell that it had moved from a watery state to a little more gel-like, I turned off the heat to let it cool. I would say I let it simmer for about an hour, maybe a little more. You can tell how much it has reduced if you look at the edges of the pan.
Another way to test it is to dip a spoon into it and pull it out. If it slides right off, then it isn’t ready, but if moves slowly or doesn’t move at all, then you know you’re good to go!
The above photo wasn’t quite ready, so I kept it going for a little longer and ended up with the below photo. Just right!
After it was cooled, but still in the pan, I drizzled in some raw honey. If you’re using raw honey, you want to add it at the end so you don’t kill of all of the beneficial enzymes and bacteria (most commercial honey is pasteurized which kills off a lot of it’s benefits, so buy raw honey when you can!). You’ll want to add at least a tablespoon or so, but add some and then taste it to see if it is sweet enough. I probably ended up with 2-3 tablespoons total.
The 1 1/2 quarts of berries made two 8oz jars with a little leftover in a third jar. The stuff is absolutely delicious!! My honey said it was just the right amount of sweetness which is great to hear considering how little it is actually sweetened. And you can actually taste the strawberries, not just the sugar like in store-bought jellies and jams.
So now that I had this wonderful jam, I thought to myself…what am I going to put it on?? I know it will make a great ice cream topping, so that is definitely on the menu this week, but I really wanted to have it on toast. Since the gluten-free bread in the stores is either disgusting or just way too expensive, I decided to make my own.
I found a recipe a few months back that I decided to change up a bit based on the ingredients I had on hand. It turned out to be the perfect bread for toast to go along with my jam 🙂
Simple gluten-free bread (Makes one loaf)
- 1 cup flax seed meal
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon stevia
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Combine the dry ingredients.
2. Beat the eggs a little and add the wet ingredients. Make sure the melted coconut oil and butter have cooled before pouring into the eggs.
3. Mix everything together with a spatula until completely combined. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken up. I added a teaspoon of arrowroot powder because mine was pretty thin.
4. Grease a loaf pan (I find that coconut oil works best) and pour the batter in. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until it is completely set and a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Serve toasted with butter and strawberry jam!
This is such a great all-purpose bread for toast and maybe even a small sandwich. Or maybe some French toast one morning…yum!! It puffed up a bit, so it’s much taller than other breads I’ve made. It’s also a little eggy, so if you don’t like that, I would reduce the number of eggs to four and a little more water.
I’m excited that the recipe turned out so well because it is the perfect match for the jam!
Since I started writing this post and made the jam, I’ve talked to a few people about the recipe. I’ve been told that my jam is really more of a fruit butter based on its consistency and the method of cooking. Strawberry butter just doesn’t have the same ring to it as strawberry jam, so I decided to stick with calling it jam. It’s still yummy no matter what you call it though 🙂