One of last summer's 'Terra Incognitas' was making strawberry jam. My strawberry plants had finally hit their stride and I had more strawberries than we could eat - and we can eat a lot of strawberries.
I decided to try making jam. I started looking into recipes and 'how tos', but every recipe I found seemed more like strawberry flavored sugar to me. The ones that didn't use sugar, tended to use artificial sweeteners, which in my mind is worse, and when I read about reducing sugar, recipes cautioned that changing recipes could result in an unsafe product.
Since this was my first foray into jam making, I elected to avoid the whole issue and go with freezer jam. I tried various methods, some using cornstarch or gelatin - some using both.
In the end the method I liked the best involved neither - it uses apples for pectin and sweetness. I don't recall where I got the idea - if anyone knows, please remind me so I can credit it.
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 large apple, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
Mix together and simmer until thickened - about an hour to an hour and a half. Use a potato masher to blend any large chunks. Pour into jars and store in freezer.
It's so easy, it was almost no effort to make enough to last all winter, and opening each jar was like a hint of spring in the dead of winter.
We just ran out a couple of weeks ago so I made a batch last weekend with the early strawberries from the store. It won't be long, though, before our own plants will be producing and our freezer will again fill with little jars of springtime.