I have fond memories as a kid going to the “you pick” strawberry farm every summer with my family. We would pick several flats of strawberries then head home to make strawberry freezer jam. I vividly remember mashing strawberries in a metal pan to cook on the stove top with lots and lots of sugar. The jam was sugary and delicious but not very healthy.
Fast forward about 30 years and I no longer indulge in sugary foods for health reasons. We now use honey or maple syrup to sweeten the foods that we eat. My taste buds have adjusted to enjoying foods in a more natural state of sweetness and not the super sweet sugary foods of my childhood. Plus strawberries are naturally sweet so why do you need to add tons of sugar to them anyway?! This honey sweetened strawberry freezer jam that we made is so delicious and healthy without all the added sugar. It also does not require cooking so we finished making jam in a half hour!
Our 35 strawberry plants have been slow to produce due to the drought. I wanted to make strawberry jam and was thrilled to find fresh local strawberries for a great price at the Amish market. We bought several quarts and decided to make some jam.
I’ve made no-sugar honey sweetened jam without pectin in the past but the consistency was a bit too runny. Then a couple years ago I discovered Pomona’s Universal Pectin and was able to make honey sweetened jam that set up well. “Pomona’s Universal is a low methoxyl type pectin extracted from citrus peel. Its jelling power is activated by calcium (included), not by sugar content.” (source)
Pomona’s Pectin typically is carried in natural grocery stores. I have yet to see it in a regular grocery store. You can also find it here online, you just have to remember to order it in advance so it arrives by the time you need it! The recipe we used for honey sweetened strawberry freezer jam is actually found on the inside pamphlet of Pomona’s Pectin. It was quick and easy to make. I loved that we didn’t have to cook the strawberries since cooking often makes the produce lose some of its nutrients.
My mom is here visiting from out of state so making strawberry jam with her brought back a lot of memories. This time Little A helped out so it was three generations having a jam party in the kitchen! Little A loved being able to hold the masher with her grandma and be a part of the jam making process.
Honey sweetened strawberry freezer jam tastes delicious and has a light sweetness. You can still taste the flavor of the fresh strawberries without the intense sugary syrup that regular sugar based jams have. We froze our jam in small 4 ounce glass jam jars (You can find them here). We bought these a number of years ago specifically for freezer jam and haven’t had any issues with the glass breaking in the freezer.
Honey Sweetened Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe
4 cups mashed strawberries (we used a potato masher to mash them in a pan)
1/4 cup lemon juice (we squeezed one medium size lemon to get this amount)
1/2 cup to 1 cup honey
3/4 cup of water to dissolve the pectin in
4-12 teaspoons calcium water (comes with Pamona’s Pectin)
1. Place the mashed strawberries in a large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice.
2. Stir in 1/2 cup to 1 cup of honey depending on how sweet you want it. We used 3/4 cup since we didn’t want it too sweet.
3. Boil 3/4 cup of water. Add 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin and mix well with a blender for a few minutes. I used our immersion blender and blended it right in the pot I boiled the water in. If you blend it in a regular blender, be sure to vent the lid since it is a hot liquid.
4. Stir the hot pectin into the fruit mixture and mix well.
5. Mix the calcium water according to the directions on the Pomona’s Pectin instructions. (All this entails is mixing the calcium powder with water in a jar so pretty easy to do)
5. Add calcium water starting with just 4 teaspoons. Mix this into the fruit mixture and it will start to jell. Add more calcium water 1 teaspoon at a time until it reaches the desired jelled consistency. We used 7 teaspoons of calcium water.
6. Spoon the jam into clean glass jars making sure to leave 1/2″ head space for expansion when it freezes. Put lids on and freeze. Since the jam wasn’t cooked, it wasn’t hot and didn’t need to cool at all before we placed it in the freezer.
The jam should last up to one year in the freezer. To use the jam, remove from freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw. The jam will need to be used within a week since it is raw jam and not cooked.