I seem to be in a jam making mood. Last week I published the recipe for Easy Sugar-Free Raspberry Jam and now: Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam. I got so thrilled about my (finally!) successful raspberry jam experiment, that I wanted to try out the same method for strawberry jam. And, my husband prefers strawberries to raspberries.
Just replacing raspberries with strawberries didn’t work, there were many other things to consider and to change. But, finally I succeeded in making jam which my whole family likes, including me. Hope you like this as well!
In a large saucepan, combine all the other ingredients except xanthan.
Place the saucepan on the stove top and turn on the heat to high, stirring constantly along the bottom of the saucepan.
When the mixture starts steaming, turn the heat to the minimum.
Cook the mixture for 15–20 minutes, or until you have the preferred chunkiness, mixing all the time and crushing and breaking the strawberries with the back and the side of the mixing spoon.
Sprinkle the xanthan little by little on top of the mixture, mixing all the time while sprinkling.
Continue mixing and let the mixture simmer for 2–3 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Put the saucepan aside, cover, and let the jam cool down completely.
Store the jam tightly covered in the fridge.
Per tablespoon (0.5 oz = 15 g):
Per teaspoon (0.18 oz = 5 g):
Tips for making the strawberry jam
Actually, there are two options for making this jam, depending on how chunky you prefer your jam and how you are going to use it. If you prefer chunky jam, just follow the directions in the recipe.
If you prefer smooth jam, combine all the ingredients, except xanthan, in a food processor and purée until the consistency is to your liking. Pour the mixture in a saucepan and sprinkle the xanthan evenly on top pinch by pinch, mixing all the time while sprinkling. Heat over a high heat. Stir all the time along the bottom. When the mixture starts steaming, turn the heat to the minimum and let the jam simmer 10 minutes, mixing constantly. Let the jam cool down.
All in all, it’s better to stir the jam all the time while cooking it. First of all, stirring prevents the jam from burning. Secondly, stirring prevents the jam also from bubbling vigorously and the scalding jam from spreading and shooting in all directions. In any case it’s best to be careful with the simmering jam and keep the lid available for covering the saucepan quickly if the jam starts spreading. Be sure to keep the stove on its lowest setting after the mixture begins to steam, that also prevents the jam from burning and shooting all over.
I prefer to use a large saucepan and a big mixing spoon because the strawberries are easy to crush and I don’t have to be afraid of spilling the hot jam.
This sugar-free strawberry jam is not that sweet, so if you prefer sweeter jam, the sweetness is easy to adjust by adding more Zsweet sweetener or unflavored liquid stevia.
My experiences when developing the sugar-free strawberry jam
The first experiment I did exactly in the similar way than my Easy Sugar-Free Raspberry Jam, expect I reduced the amount of Zsweet remarkably since the strawberries were sweeter than raspberries. The result was praised by my husband, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the texture. So I made another experiment. And another one. And another one. Mainly the problem was to achieve the best consistency. The taste was surprisingly perfect from the very beginning, but I wanted to perfect the texture as well, since the jam was somehow a bit too slimy in my opinion.
In my first experiment I used whole frozen strawberries and that wasn’t the best idea, since the strawberries were so big and it took long time before they melted while cooking the jam. With raspberries I didn’t have this problem simply because raspberries were smaller and they didn’t contain that much water (frozen water in this case) than strawberries.
I wanted to use xanthan as thickener also for this strawberry jam. Chia seeds or psyllium husks would have been interesting options, too, but somehow I wanted to succeed with xanthan. So, I let the frozen strawberries melt and then added all the ingredients to a saucepan. I heated the mixture, but the strawberries were hard to break with the mixing spoon and the jam got thick immediately because of the xanthan. That experiment produced a very chunky jam, but I wanted to try out also a smooth version. I didn’t want to cook the jam for very long time because I wanted the flavors stay fresh and fruity.
In my next experiment, I again melted the frozen strawberries and this time puréed them in a food processor before cooking. The result was an extremely smooth jam. Well, too smooth for general use. If I would use the jam for example for buttercream or cream cheese frosting, or as a sauce for cheesecake, that would have been perfect. But I still prefer some chunks in my strawberry jam when topping my pancakes or muffins with it.
The best result in my opinion I got when I combined all the other ingredients, except xanthan, in a saucepan and cooked the mixture until the consistency was what I wanted. All the time while cooking and stirring I crushed the strawberries with the mixing spoon. Adding the xanthan after the preferred chunkiness was reached, was the key to the success.
Tips for variation and serving suggestions
This recipe is for a jam made from frozen — and melted — strawberries, since now it’s winter and simply not the season for fresh strawberries. In the summertime I’m definitely going to try out how the recipe works with fresh strawberries.
This jam, especially the smooth version, is also great for filling low-carb muffins and cookies. I tried it with my Low-Carb Linzer Hearts and they were superb!
The smooth version of the jam is also great as sauce for cheesecakes or other cakes. I used it also for making strawberry buttercream with which I filled low-carb vanilla whoopie pies. What a delish sweet snack!
I often make strawberry quark (curd) for dessert, because my husband likes it so much. So far I have used fresh strawberries or frozen, melted strawberries for the quark. After developing this jam I’m practically using only it, it makes whipping up the dessert very quick and simple. And, you don’t need to add other sweeteners because the sweetness of the jam is enough for sweetening the quark.
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