Late last fall, we purchased a used deep freeze so we would have a way to store local produce for the long winter months. We are just now beginning to fill it with spring’s bounty. Last weekend was asparagus; this weekend was strawberries. Locally grown, using organic practices strawberries.
I froze most of the berries whole, but I couldn’t resist making some freezer jam. I’ve observed my mom making freezer jam, but had never done it myself. When I called for directions, she warned me that I would not like the amount of sugar necessary for the process. (I frequently cut the amount of sugar in recipes to make them healthier. You can often do this without negatively impacting the recipe.)
A quick bike ride to the grocery store yielded some Sure-Jell (pectin), complete with directions for freezer jam. I quickly scanned the directions and saw that for 2 cups of crushed strawberries, I was supposed to add 4 cups of sugar. 4 cups of sugar??? For 2 cups of berries?!? Why don’t I just open the bag of sugar and pour it straight down my throat?
As I was contemplating reducing the sugar, I looked more closely at the directions, which seemed to be speaking directly to me:
Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl. (REDUCING SUGAR OR USING SUGAR SUBSTITUTES WILL RESULT IN SET FAILURES.)
(Note: bold, italics, and all caps were part of the original directions, not something I added.)
They may as well have written, “Melissa, we are talking to you. We know you are thinking about reducing the amount of sugar. Don’t do it!”
I reluctantly bowed to the wisdom of the powers that be, and I now have about 10 cups (I doubled the recipe) of delicious strawberry flavored sugar goo jam in my freezer. To be enjoyed in moderation.