We have been loving using our freshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker from Ball™ and to celebrate National Can it Forward Day, which is coming up on Saturday August 17th, we made a special Strawberry Verbena Low Sugar Jam. The extremely hot temperatures of jam making means it’s something I usually avoid doing with the children. However, with our new gadget it’s easier and safer and we all set about making jam in under 30 minutes.
Rémy is keen to try a watermelon jelly and I’m keen to preserve a few of the many figs that I have managed to keep from the squirels. The tree is full to bursting with dark purple fruit.
Minty commented upon the sweetness of the strawberries this summer and so we wanted to capture that essence of summertime in blue anniversary Ball mason jars. If you don’t have a freshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker you can follow this recipe using a large saucepot, bringing it to a boil stirring until the sugar dissolves and then cooking rapidly until it has reached gelling point, stirring the thickening liquid to prevent it from sticking. The tiny amount of butter helps to reduce foaming of the jam as it cooks – if you want to omit and skim foam you can.
Strawberry Verbena Low Sugar Jam Recipe
2 lbs ripe and juicy strawberries – enough to make 3 cups of crushed berries plus 1/4 cup small whole strawberries
3 tablespoons Ball™ RealFruit™ Classic Pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 sprigs fresh verbena
Makes about 32oz (2 pints) of jam
1. Wash the strawberries under running water and drain in a colander. Hull the berries, set aside about 1/4 cup of the smallest berries and chop the rest.
2. Crush the chopped berries, in three batches, using a potato masher.
Measure out the 3 cups of crushed berries and set aside with the other measured ingredients.
Pick three sprigs of lemon verbena from the garden, rinse and set aside.
3. Sprinkle the pectin evenly over the bottom of the Pot fitted with the stirrer.
4. Add the crushed berries and the smallest berries evenly over the pectin and add the butter.
5. Press jam button and the machine will show 21 minutes. Press enter.
6. Wait 4 minutes as the stirrer incorporates the pectin into the fruit. After 4 minutes the appliance sounds 4 short beeps – indicating it’s time to add the sugar.
Add the sugar gradually as the stirrer continues running. Add the verbena leaves.
Place the Glass Lid on the pot. (I managed to break the plastic knob on my machine as I was assembling the lid – oops!) The stirrer will continue to automatically stir the ingredients as they cook for the remaining 17 minutes.
Steam will be released from the holes in the sides of the glass lid and the mixture will bubble up as the jam cooks as the minutes count down.
7. Wash the jars, lids and bands of the mason jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and set aside the lids and bands. Prepare the jars by submerging them in a pan of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. It’s important to have hot jam jars for the hot jam.
8. At the end of the jam making process there is another beep to signal the jam cooking is complete. Press cancel, unplug the appliance and remove the glass lid. Carefully remove the verbena leaves from the jam and discard.
9. Transfer the jam from the pot using a ladle into a pyrex measuring jug and then pour the hot jam into the hot prepared glass mason jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe away any jam from the rims of the jars. Center the lids on jars and twist on the bands until fingertip tight. As the jam cools the lids are sucked down – You can process the jars in boiling water in a canning rack for 10 minutes to ensure a perfect seal but I find that the hot jam will seal itself as it cools.
10. To check the seals press on the center of the cooled lid. If jar is sealed the lid will not flex up or down. If it is not sealed, refrigerate immediately or re-process.
11. Cut out a circle of fabric using a small plate as a template. Place this over the jar and tie with string or elastic. Label the jars with the contents and date and store sealed jars in pantry for up to 1 year.
12. Enjoy the homemade jam with thick slices of homemade bread and butter or give as a gift.