Thursday, July 12, 2012

Strawberry Heaven!

With strawberries running $3.98 for 3lbs at Main Street Market, it's time to pull out the canner!

If you haven't tried canning before - don't be intimidated. Women have been canning for hundreds of years quite safely, and they didn't have the advantages of a modern kitchen, precise methods, and the USDA looking out for them.

If you are afraid of canning because you've heard a horror story, let me ask you: Do you not drive because you've heard about people dying in car accidents? What about using electrical appliances in your bathroom? Do you still take showers and step out of the shower all wet?

I could go on. You can either be a scaredy cat all your life, or you can Badger-Up, and go get what you want. In this case, that would be delicious good home-canned with none of the chemicals and preservatives you find in store items.

Take a gander at the ingredients on the back of this jar of Smuckers Raspberry Preserves:  (I didn't have any strawberry preserves from Smuckers on hand to compare - this was left over from making a Linzer Torte, and I had no raspberry preserves left!)


 Yep. Lots of Corn Syrup in there. You won't have that when you can at home.

Now... here's Mrs. Badger's Strawberry Jam:

And... here's Mrs. Badger's list of ingredients:
     8 cups hulled Strawberries
     6 cups Sugar
     1 tsp. Lemon Juice

Yep.  Not a drop of corn syrup or added pectin anywhere.

To can strawberry Jam
  • Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy stainless steel pot. (Do not use aluminum, teflon, etc) 
  • Bring slowly to a boil, making sure all sugar is dissolved. 
  • Cook rapidly until thick (about 30 minutes - do spoon gel test)
  • Skim off as much foam as possible. 
  • Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. 
  • Clean rims
  • Seal and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes
How do I know the home-canned jam recipe is better for me than the store bought stuff?
Easy - I'm a diabetic. And, while sugar isn't good for me, in moderation it doesn't wreck my blood sugar. (Carbs are harder on me than sugar. Don't know why - it just is!)

Let me have a Tbsp of the store bought stuff spread on a sandwich, and my sugars skyrocket.
That doesn't happen with the home canned jam.

So... you tell me - which do you think the body processes better?

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