I am not the sort of gal who "cans." In fact, I've never even really wanted to. Don't get me wrong, I think it is cool as hell. Whenever someone offers me a jar of homemade jam I am in awe. That said, it's just not my thing. But you know, I thought that same thing about knitting. Then a friend taught me on a camping trip and. . . six hats, four scarves and one sweater later, I am indeed a gal who knits. So, I decided maybe I shouldn't be so quick to put limits on my abilities and interests. And whenever people have offered me homemade jam, I have envisioned hours of intensive labor and eons of patience in every jar. So much so, I am hesitant to even eat it. Like that would somehow be sacrilegious. It was joy enough to be a person who could merit a homemade jar of preserves.
But I live in Oregon - land of the berries. They are so prolific here even us non-Martha Stewart types can't bear to see these luscious berries go to waste. Every year I freeze a crop of organic blueberries and blackberries for smoothies and other treats. But it just isn't the same as using them fresh. Sure, I make an occasional pie. But that just doesn't cut it. Finally, I was at Whole Foods last week and there was a sale on local, organic Chester Blackberries. They were huge, sweet and unbelievably delicious. And a mere $2 a carton! I've been known to pay three times that. I loaded up on organic blueberries and raspberries as well. How could I let these beauties go to waste? That's when it hit me. I will and I must be a gal who cans!
With the berries in hand and the "I will mold" time clock a ticking, I was driven to complete my mission. I decided to make this a family effort and enlisted my mom and my two kids for morale and support. And, thankfully, they were excited. Now all I needed was a recipe. I knew what I wanted - organic, sugar free jam. Now I had to determine if that was possible. I had read once that without sugar it is difficult to get the batch to "gel." But, no way in hell was I going to put refined sugar in my pure, virgin berries! I researched online various "iffy" recipes until I found one that seemed legit and feasible. And to my surprise, not at all labor intensive. I found the recipe at www.eatdrinkbetter.com.
We had a blast making it. And you can't imagine the joy I felt as I heard the "popping" sound of the jars sealing and the thrill of opening my first jar of perfect, organic, sugar free jam. Below you will find the recipe. And, in case you are wondering, I am now "that gal." I have become a canning fiend. I made Organic Fig preserves to take to a cheese/wine tasting party, and another batch of berry preserves which I have been handing out with vigor. And you can't imagine the pride of my daughter as she handed her new teacher a batch of berry jam she helped to make as her first day of school gift.
Organic Summer No Sugar Jam