When I was a little girl, my favorite meal was peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. I could have eaten them all day, every day if allowed. It wasn't until I became a teenager and had to go strawberry picking that my love for those PB&J sandwiches dwindled. (So I could buy my own $40/pair jeans. Intelligence is NOT a virtue. Thankfully.) Seriously, what was my mother thinking sending me strawberry jam? It was cruel I tell ya.
After the Mister & I got hitched, it took a couple of years before the Betty Crocker Gene kicked in. During those years, I relied on store-bought jam. Now, if that's all you can do, so be it, but making jam at home is so simple, there's really no excuse not to. Unless you don't like jam. But that's just silly. Everybody likes jam.
Please don't tell me otherwise, this is my own little bubble.
Back to jam. It is good. And with berries at their peak, it's time to make some!
This recipe uses Clear Jel instead of pectin. You can use pectin, just follow the directions on the box. I'm using the Clear Jel for a couple of reasons.
1. It's very inexpensive.
2. It's simple.
Clear Jel is derived from corn starch and is used commercially in bakeries. One of the advantages of using the Clear Jel instead of pectin is that it requires less sugar. It's also easier to tell if the jam is setting up properly. The only problem with the Clear Jel is that it has to be mixed with the sugar before adding it to the berry mixture as it doesn't dissolve very well on its own. Or so I read. Instead of testing that theory, I just went with it and it worked. Beautifully, I might add. Clear Gel can be found in stores that sell canning equipment, or online.
4 cups crushed mixed berries (I used raspberries, wild blackberries, blueberries, and a couple strawberries that didn't find their way into a certain 12 year old's mouth.)
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 Tb. Clear Jel
1-1/2 cup sugar
Add the lemon juice to the berry mixture. Combine the Clear Jel with 1/4 cup sugar.
Add sugar/Clear Jel mixture to the berries and stir well.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 1-1/4 cup sugar and continue to cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour into jars. Wipe rims and place 2 piece lids on, securing tightly. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.