Low Sugar Mixed Berry Jam
Even though it is still winter where I live, the grocery store is full of berries shipped in from the other hemisphere. The sales on berries prompted me to make some jam. I created this mixed berry jam mixture not knowing if it would set properly since I did not have a recipe that matched the berries I had bought. I am happy to report success with the Low Sugar Mixed Berry Jam recipe.
Recently, I read The Case Against Sugar which you can read about by clicking here. I have not cut out all sugar, but I am reducing the amount I use. So for this recipe I bought Sure Jell in the pink box which is made for low sugar or no sugar recipes. The instructions have recipes in addition to others I have, but I could not find a recipe using strawberry, blackberry and blueberry. So I set out to create the mixed berry jam.
You will need a water bath canner, canning jars, lids and rings for this recipe. I like to use Ball lids and rings the most but I have also had great success with Kerr products. Even though I like to recycle, I only use Ball or Kerr jars when canning. Jars saved from grocery store items tend to break in my canner during the processing. I do like to vary the jar sizes because yields are inexact.
The jars need at least ten minutes in boiling water to sterilize, however the lids only need two to three minutes. The biggest challenge is the timing. I usually start the water in the canner before I prepare the fruit. Jars are removed from the canner just after I stir in the sugar. This allows me to immediately pour the jam into jars that are still warm. If you have a helper in the kitchen this task is much easier.
Low Sugar Mixed Berry Jam Recipe
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 pounds Strawberries
1 pint Blueberries
12 ounces Blackberries
1 box Sure Jell Low Sugar Pectin
4 ½ cups sugar
Yields About 7 Cups
Preparation of Berries
I prepare the strawberries first. Wash and cut the hulls off the berry. Then slice each into quarters. If the berries are very large you may need to chop them into smaller pieces.
The blueberries are a favorite for some of my family members, but you do not often find them used in jams. You need to carefully wash, de-stem and cut the larger ones in half for this recipe. Be sure to wear an apron or old clothes to avoid staining from the berries.
The blackberries can be the messiest. Wash and slice the berries in half. Like the blueberries, they can stain fabric.
Cooking the Low Sugar Mixed Berry Jam
For the most part, I follow the directions on the Sure Jell packaging. However, for this recipe I used two additional steps. First, I placed three tablespoons of lemon juice in the bottom of my pot. Then, I put a single layer of strawberries in the bottom of the pot. Turning on to medium high heat, I let the strawberries heat until mash able. After mashing, I added a second layer of strawberries. Once the strawberries were mashed, but not cooked, I added the blueberries and blackberries.
From this point on, I followed the cooked jam directions from Sure Jell. I used a total of 4 ½ cups of sugar. Taking ¼ cup of sugar from the above amount, mix with the powdered pectin and stir into berries. The constant stirring along with the heat, breaks up the berries into small pieces. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. This means there are bubbles all over the top even when stirring.
At this point the remainder of the sugar is added. Continuous stirring is needed so the jam does not burn. Once the mixture returns to a full rolling boils, cook for one minute more and the remove from heat. The mixed berry jam is ready to jar.
I place a kitchen towel on my counter to set the jars on. I also have a clean wet wash rag to wipe the tops of the jars before attaching the lids and rings. Fill one jar at a time and close before moving on to the next one. The jam jars seal better this way.
I loved the taste of this jam, not too sugary and small bits of fruit. Next time your grocery story has berries on sale consider making this Low Sugar Mixed Berry Jam. I think you will like it.