I thought I had made more than enough, but with a PBJ lover in the house, we actually ran out of peach jam! Strawberries were on sale last week, so we picked up a 4lb. container of them, and made strawberry freezer jam (after eating a few big bowls of berries!)
When I started reading recipes, I was not happy about the amount of sugar required for standard freezer jam - 4 cups mashed fruit gets 4 cups sugar. I asked around about alternative recipes, and a wonderful woman who goes by LydiaLin told me about Pomona Pectin.
This stuff is so cool.
"Regular" pectin reacts to the sugar in the recipe, so if you lower the sugar, the jam or jelly can get runny. The Pomona Pectin reacts to calcuim. Inside the box there is a packet of pectin and a packet of calcium (and very good instructions). So, you can adjust the sugar, use artificial sweeteners, stevia, honey, agave nectar, apple juice concentrate...whatever you like! In our case, I used 5 cups mashed fruit and just over 1 cup of sugar. It jelled perfectly, and it tastes fabulous!
Normally, freezer jam isn't cooked. I did cook this, just a little. I read on the instruction sheet that 'raw' freezer jam lasts about a week in the fridge, but if it's cooked, it lasts 3 weeks. I just brought it to a quick boil, so the fresh flavor and color are still there.
Here's the finished product, along with the box of pectin.
From the 5 cups of crushed berries, sugar, a little water and pectin, I ended up with 7 half-pints of freezer jam, plus a little extra. It's got more fruit, less sugar - how cool is that? Also, this pectin goes a long way. One box of it (about $3) is good for about 20 cups of fruit. It can be used for any jam or jelly you might want to make, and there are recipes for some other items as well, such as custard pies. One caveat - I've been told that jellies will be slightly cloudy. If you want crystal clear jelly, you will have to use the standard pectin and a full dose of sugar.
You can find it in health food stores, but it seems to be sort of hit and miss - some of them had it, some didn't. You can also order it online - just google 'Pomona Pectin', and it's even offered in bulk!
I don't work for this company - I am not making anything by talking about it - I just really like the product. It's so much more versatile than standard pectin, and all-natural! If you plan to 'jam'...you might want to try this stuff!