So why should you bother to spend an entire day over a hot stove waiting as the fruit slowly turns into mush? Jam is cheap and it can seem silly to can your own jams and sauces when you can buy it for $2 at the store. Well I do it mostly for the following reason: it’s the only way you can control how much sugar goes into your food.
Of course, jams are supposed to be sweet, in fact every recipe I read in my canning book asked for at least 500-700g of sugar (that’s 2-3 cups of sugar.) Yes, dear sir, that’s the as much as you would add in a cake. This goes for jams we buy in the stores as well, Smucker’s Strawberry Jam’s Nutrition Facts has 12g of sugar for every 20g (one teaspoon) of jam. In other words, 60% of the jam is sugar.
This to me seems a little silly since strawberries and apples already contain some of the highest concentrates of fructose which makes them naturally very sweet. Jams use sugar both as a natural preservative and a gelling agent when cooked to 220F. Needless to say, in my Grandma’s era the importance wasn’t so much keeping a trim figure, but rather making sure that the jam would stay preserved. In fact, the biggest argument I had with my Grandmother while making this jam, was how much sugar I should or shouldn’t use. And needless to say, 50 g (1/4 cup) was NOT a reasonable amount of sugar (she’s one of those old school 700gs of sugar gals.) However, since I was the one that was making the jam, I won this round. I doubt though that my potato-farming grandmother will change her attitude anytime soon. Even if she did admit to liking it in the end!
Here are the recipes:
Juice of 2 Lemons
4 lbs strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
Remove the stems from the strawberries and half them. Lay strawberries out and crush them into a mash. Add to pan and bring to 176 Degress F. Cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally so that the bottom doesn’t burn.
4 lbs quartered, peeled apples
1/4 cup water
Add a small amount of water to a large pan to stop the apples from burning. Add quartered and peeled apples. Stir occasionally so the apples won’t burn. Let the apples simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Place in food processor and pulse for a few seconds.
Recipe translations to come tomorrow!!!