Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Agave Sweetened Home-made Jam Recipe

I went strawberry picking with my friend's family last week. We picked over 30 quarts! His family are jam enthusiasts and generously sent me home with a box of pectin and some mason jars so I could try my hand at some canning too. 

When I read their recipe I was astounded that it called for 4 cups strawberries and 7 cups sugar! I didn't want to be spreading sugar over my toast all year so I brainstormed some alternatives. I thought of agave nectar and googled it to see if anyone had tried making jam with it before. I got a few recipes (admittedly none of them look too official but I trusted them). I used a mixture of their guidance and the pectin box recipe and came up with some amazing jam.   

Here is the recipe!

Around 5 cups ripe, washed and hulled strawberries*
1 1/4 cup agave nectar (I used amber nectar)
1 box pectin

*Follow the instructions of the pectin box regarding the amount of strawberries.

1. Mash about 5 cups strawberries until you have 4 1/2 cups mash.
2. Mix agave nectar, strawberry mash and 1 standard box of pectin together.
3. Give it a hard boil. Mine needed about 15 minutes to thicken. 
4. Test if it will set by using a spoon left in ice water to scoop out some jam. If it sets in the spoon it's good to go.
5. Scoop into jars for freezer jam or scoop into sterilized jars ( heat jars at 250C while making the jam)  for a longer-lasting shelf jam. If you're trying to preserve it boil some water at the bottom of a pot, tighten the lids of the jars once the jam is in them and boil them with the lids down in the pot for a few minutes. The lids should come out firm or else something has messed up. If the lid isn't firm then the jam won't keep and you should store it in the fridge.

**I'm not sure of the yield. According to the sugar recipe I was supposed to get a whole 4 jars of jam but I only got 1 1/2. I think it's because since I added more liquid (agave nectar) instead of solid (sugar) it had to boil down more.
My witches brew!
I labelled the jam "June agave nectar-strawberry jam" and when I woke up the next day the label was replaced by this! I guess it's a crowd-pleaser at my house. It does well on some vegan french toast too.
Admittedly I did add sugar over the toast too, but it's just because it's fancy orange flavored sugar!

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