Kevin and I needed freezer bags this weekend so we could butcher our chickens, so that meant a trip to Kalona and the Stringtown grocery store. Those who live in eastern Iowa know about Kalona and this store. It’s run by the Amish, and you can buy just about anything there in bulk, from spices to noodles and homemade baked goods.
We found our chicken freezer bags, but the store has expanded since we were last there, and they’ve added a produce section. We found the most beautiful, fresh-picked strawberries that I’ve seen in a long time, so, of course, I came home with a flat to make some homemade jam – and a lot of other things for canning and smoking fish later in the season. And some homemade pecan-topped cinnamon rolls. And cheese curds. Good thing we don’t live next door to this place!
I love to make jam, but I hate the fact that so many jam recipes take a ton of white sugar, something I’ve been trying to avoid. Last summer I made several different jam recipes and substituted honey for the white sugar, so I decided to do the same with these gorgeous strawberries.
I used a raw buckwheat honey, which was delicious on its own, and the result is amazing strawberry jam. I did use pectin, which I don’t normally do, because there isn’t a lot of pectin in strawberries, and I didn’t want to add apple (a natural source of pectin). Two quarts of berries yielded 5 half-pints of jam in the end.
Strawberry Honey Jam
2 quarts freshly picked strawberries, washed and hulled
1 1/3 cup unprocessed, raw honey
1 box powdered pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Wash and hull strawberries. In a large pot, add the strawberries, and mash well. Add honey and powdered pectin to the pot. Stir until combined. Heat mixture to a boil, and stir constantly until the jam starts to thicken. The length of time depends on your pot size, how juicy the strawberries are, etc. I stirred this batch for approximately 20 minutes.
When thickened, ladle jam into sterilized jam jars. Add lids and rings; tighten just until finger-tight. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Yield: 5 half-pints