May 8, 2011

It’s Mother’s Day weekend. The weekend I kick off canning for the season. From now until the middle of November, I’ll be canning at least one day a week, putting up preserves in these early months, fruits of all sorts. Moving on to pickles. Finishing with tomatoes and apples. It’s exciting and daunting all at the same time. My pantry is dwindling. I’m counting jars of tomatoes and wondering if I can make it to August tomato season.

I’m starting with strawberries. Last year, I kicked off the season with the same jam. I adore this minty fruity jam with a tiny little kick. It’s perfect paired with fresh cheese, like ricotta, fromage blanc or fresh chevre. From Good to the Grain (congratulations to Kim Boyce for her Beard Award!,) I made the excellent Strawberry Barley Scones, using this jam as the filling. So so good.

I’ve adapted the recipe to work with Pomona Pectin, as I intend to add a jam made with pectin to my classes this summer. I realize some people prefer the firm set of a pectin style jam. Of all of the pectins available, Pomona is the most appealing to me.

Pomona allows you to use far less sugar, or even honey instead of sugar, while still ensuring a jammy set to your preserves. You’ll work with calcium water, mixing it up from the smaller of the two packages in the box. The calcium water will make many batches of jam, just keep the excess in the refrigerator. Shake well before each use.

Add the calcium water – amounts are on the insert in the Pomona package – to the fruit.

Mix the sugar up with the pectin – again, correct amounts are on the insert. Mix well, as this pectin will clump if not well mixed in.

Bring the fruit to a boil, then add in the sugar all at once and stir vigorously for two minutes. Make sure the jam comes back to a boil, then ladle it into your jars and process as usual.

(For more information on the boiling water bath canning process and step by step instructions, check out this post.)



Strawberry Mint Jam
recipe adapted from Mes Confitures
Yield – 4, maybe 5, 1/2 pint jars

Try to find real peppermint, not spearmint. Most better nurseries will sell peppermint plants at this time of year. It’s a far better behaved plant in the garden, grows happily in a pot, and makes really good minty lemonade.

4 c. strawberries, rinsed and hulled, halved or quartered
Juice of one lemon
5 black peppercorns, crushed
Four large stalks of peppermint, tied together
2 tsp calcium water
1.5 c sugar
2 tsp Pomona pectin
1/2 tsp butter, optional

Crush the strawberries a bit with a potato masher. You want some whole pieces.

In a large glass heavy bottomed preserving pot, gently toss the berries with the lemon juice. Add the mint springs and the crushed peppercorns. Allow to sit, at least two hours.

Get the water in the canner boiling. Get a small pot boiling with the rings. Stir together sugar and pectin.

Add the calcium water to the fruit and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Remove the mint sprigs.

Add the sugar and pectin and stir vigorously for two full minutes.

Bring the jam back to a boil, then add the butter, stir well to dissolve foam.

Ladle the jam into sterilized 1/2 pt. jars. Wipe the rims, add lids and tighten rings.

Place the jars in the canner, make sure they are covered by at least an inch or two of water, then bring the water to a full boil

Once the water starts boiling, being timing the processing. Process for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the canner to a clean towel. Allow the jars to cool, undisturbed, for a day, then wipe the jars, label and place on your pantry shelves and admire your handiwork.


24 Responses to “strawberry mint jam with pomona pectin”

  1. Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)

    I just taught a canning class today with Pomona’s. It’s a little more confusing for some beginners who like an exact recipe but all my students agree that they want to use less sugar.

    I can’t wait for our local strawberries to come in season in a few weeks!

    • wayne keller

      Dear Rachel I would like to can using pomona’s pectin but i am having a hard time finding it? I am not sure where you buy it at. And for what price so any and all information would be great. Does it work pretty good? As i have never used it but want to try it to see. It’s hard to find in my area as all i see on the store shelf’s is sure jel… I happen to stumble upon pomona’s pectin after wanting to search for sure jel online. As i would like to buy it in bulk that is hard to do too.. Thanks alot and have a nice day. Sincerely, wayne keller

  2. kate hill

    Perfect timing! I bought a plateau of strawberries Saturday- we ate half at our Sunday fete, the rest will go toward this peppery jam and served with fresh goat’s cheese on toast. Merci from your Gascon fan club!

    • Cathy

      I love that in France, it’s a plateau of strawberries. So much more elegant than a FLAT. 🙂

  3. Donna

    I need more details about this calcium water. I bought Pomona Pectin some months ago in bulk and there is no calcium additive. How else can I do that ingredient?

    • Cathy

      Here’s what I found at the Pomona site:

      The jelling power of Pomona’s Pectin is activated by calcium, so calcium has to be present in the mixture either naturally or added by you. The directions and recipe sheet that comes with your box of Pomona’s gives you instructions for making calcium water with the calcium powder.

      I imagine it’s possible to by calcium powder?

  4. Dee G

    Looks great. Can you estimate the yield? I like to try to have the right number of jars ready (always have a couple of extra) and I can’t quite tell if this will make 8 or 10 jars. Thanks!

    • Cathy

      Good catch! I’ve fixed it in the recipe – you’ll get four or five half-pint jars of jam.

  5. Linda

    Wow, strawberries already! My growing season begins May 15th and the only edibles coming up in my garden are savory, chives, parsley, and garlic… That means eggs with herbs….

    Off topic, your Merguez sausage recipe is out of this world! I love the spice mixture! Will be posting about grinding soon!

  6. norma

    How I envy the ability to can and store. I would not know where to put it even if i could…My tiny Manhattan kitchen has only room for cooking….no spare corners to stash goodies…

    • Cathy

      I know what you mean. I try to make small batches – it’s only the two of us, and Dennis doesn’t eat a lot of what I put in jars. For instance, this recipe will make 2 pints. And could be kept in the refrigerator (not processed) for a month or more.

  7. Mary Jane Newlon

    I would like to know if you can use no sugar or sugar substitute for making this strawberry jam? I am a diabetic and am not supposed to have regular sugar. I was wondering with pamona pectin if you have to use any sugar?

    • Cathy

      Hi Mary Jane, I checked the Pomona website and it’s clear that you can use it with no sugar whatsoever! Let me know how you do!

  8. Christina Peterson

    Could you make this recipe with regular grocery store pectin? Just thinking I would like to use up what I have at home before buying more canning supplies.


    • Cathy

      Hi Christina, You’d need to add a lot more sugar to use regular pectin. Just follow the package directions.

  9. Joy

    Thank you for the recipe. It turned out great! I used 1 cup of honey instead of sugar. I also have a tiny NYC apartment and I go home to Indiana every summer to go berry picking. I can them and haul it back to the city to be stored away under our beds!

  10. Katie Fawkes

    OMG. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. I love that you’re using Pomona’s Pectin. I work as the marketing manager for their new book, Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin. I wanted to let you know that we’re hosting a giveaway of the book, some pectin, and a set of measuring spoons on our food blog, SPOON.

    Hope you enter. Either way, keep up the amazing blogging. Your strawberry jam looks amazing.



  1.  Eric S Brown
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