May 17, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo
Last year, my little one was just a year old when strawberry season started. She was instantly hooked. A year later, and another strawberry season gearing up, she’s now a toddler—but her taste for those ripe, red berries hasn’t changed.
I brought a few pints home from the farmers’ market last weekend, and was greeted with squeals of joy. It turns out I’ve got something to be happy about too. Not only is she fulfilling her 3 to 5 servings of fruit, strawberries are an excellent source of calcium and dietary fiber, and have a good dose of folate for healthy brain development.
She never tires eating them one-by-one, but I like to mix things up a bit, and sometimes toss a handful into our breakfast pancake batter. Another favorite is strawberry jam. Here’s my quick and easy recipe for a homemade version, perfect for PB&J sandwiches or stirring into yogurt. It’s sure to put a smile on your little one’s face too.
Jennie's Strawberry Jam
Makes about 3 cups
I've made jam on the stove top but nothing beats the ease and speed of using the microwave. My microwave is 1000 watts, so keep in mind that cooking times will vary for models with lower or higher power. Pomona’s Universal pectin can be found in healthfood markets and larger grocery stores like Whole Foods.
2 quarts of strawberries, about 4 cups, washed and hulled
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons calcium water (included with pectin package - follow directions for making water)
2 teaspoons Pomona's Universal Pectin
- In a large glass bowl, microwave-safe bowl, mash berries to desired consistency depending on if you like a smooth or thick and chunky jam. A potato masher does the job perfectly.
- Cook on high in microwave until berries are almost boiling, about 3 minutes. Ladle out 1 cup of cooked berries into a bowl; set aside. Add the sugar and calcium water to the bowl with remaining berries, stir well and cook on high for 3 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the pectin powder into the reserved cup of berries. It will look like it clumping but don't worry. Stir the pectin-berry mixture into the berry-sugar mixture. Cook on high for 3 more minutes, until thick and bubbly. Transfer to a container, let cool and refrigerate for up to three weeks