Strawberries have always been for me a sign of approaching summer and holidays. What a pity the season for them is that short. But the good news is that we can extend it. When they are in peak season, and they are the sweetest and cheapest, we can freeze them.
I always choose the best looking, firm strawberries, wash them, remove the stalks and put them in a single layer on a paper towel to dry completely. Then I put them on a freezer tray (making sure there is space between them) and freeze. A few hours later (or the next day), I put them to plastic bags. Afterwards, even during cold winter months, I can enjoy them in cakes, smoothies and desserts.
Another way of keeping them longer is in the form of preserves. A while back I posted a recipe for Strawberry Confiture. It is undoubtedly delicious and loved by everyone.
However, it does have one shortcoming: there is plenty of sugar in it. We all know how bad sugar is for us and we should cut down on the amounts we consume. So I also decided to search for a solution that would allow me to make still delicious but low sugar strawberry jam.
Luckily, I didn’t have to look far for the answer as I found it in… fruits. They include a fibre called pectin. Some of them have a higher pectin content (e.g. apples, quince, citrus fruit), others, especially strawberries and raspberries, are low in this fibre.
That’s why when you want to make a jam from these softer fruits, you have to either cook them for a long time or add more sugar. Only by doing either (or both) your strawberry or raspberry jam will get thicker and eventually will set.
However, working with pectin makes the whole process so much easier. You have to cook the strawberries with a QUARTER of the usual sugar amount for one hour. Then you have to add the pectin combined with a bit of sugar and cook for further 5 minutes. And that’s it; your delicious and healthier Low Sugar Strawberry Jam is ready.
As you can see using pectin will considerably decrease both the time and the amount of sugar needed to make a delicious jam. So now, I guess, we can’t excuse ourselves that we are not preparing homemade preserves because they take too long to make 😉