Spring time brings that glorious little red berry that I have loved since childhood – Strawberries!! Strawberry pancakes, strawberry sundaes, strawberry ice cream, strawberry and cream scones, strawberry… anything, makes me smile! My birthday was this past Friday and my bride made my favorite – strawberries with angel food cake with fat-free whipped topping. YUM! Strawberries also bring out the Ball and Mason jars! It’s time to put some of these delicious globes away for those days when the berries have left us.
Strawberry Jam with Splenda as my sweetener of choice is frowned upon by many I know. Yet, some health decisions have to be weighed and measured by each of us personally. Right now, I need the sugarless and reduced calorie choice, so it is Splenda in with my delicious berries.
Harris Teeter has a great sale on strawberries right now, so my bride purchased five pounds for our needs this past weekend. One pound was for the birthday party and the other four were for me to make into jam.
6 cups prepared strawberries (about four pounds of whole ripe berries)
1½ cups of reduced calorie apple juice
1 Tbs. lemon juice
6 Tbs. Ball Real Fruit Pectin for Low or No-Sugar
1¼ cups of Splenda
While prepping the jars for canning, I capped and cut the four pounds of strawberries. The strawberries were then hand mashed (yes, I know there are easier ways, but sometimes you just gotta do it old school) and placed into my stainless steel pot.
Before turning on the heat, I added the apple juice, lemon juice, pectin, and a tablespoon of butter. (The butter helps reduce surface tension and greatly reduces the amount of bubbling of the cooking mixture resulting in less to no skimming)
Bring the mixture to a full boil. (Note – stir continuously) That’s a boil that continues even when being stirred. Boil for one minute while you stir the pot constantly. Remove the pot from the heat source and stir in the Splenda. Should any foam appear on the top skim it off and discard.
Using hot jars, ladle the hot strawberry mix into the jars to within an 1/8 of an inch from the top. Make sure you rims and threads are wiped clean. Place lid on and screw down band.
Place jars in hot water bath (boiling water) for 10 minutes. Make sure the water is at least 1 – 2 inches above the lids.
After 10 minutes in the boiling water, remove to cooling racks or towels. Make sure the jars stay upright. Allow them to completely cool. You may hear the lids “popping” as they seal. That’s a good thing.
When they are cooled press the lids to check to make sure they sealed. If a jar didn’t seal, then place it in the fridge and use it first!
This recipe yields about 8 cups or 16 pints of jam. A Tbsps. of this jam is about 20 calories.