Light Strawberry Jam – Ball Recipe

strawberries

I have been on a canning kick lately.  I’ve made my own homemade peanut butter and homemade applesauce and those were a success.  But now for the hard part, sugar-free or low sugar strawberry jam.  As I was Googling the recipe, the first thing in the results was from the Ball website.  It only has 3 ingredients.  Strawberries, Unsweetened White Grape Juice and Ball® RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin.  That’s it?  Oh well besides 6-8 oz preserving jars of course, which I have.

light sugar strawberry jam nutrition facts SparkPeople has a wonderful recipe calculator which you could use to find out how many calories go into any recipe.  I went there, added all 3 ingredients.  I figured out with an app on my phone that 8 oz is equal to 16 tbsp.  So I went to my calculator and multiplied 16 tbsp by 6 jars and I got 96 servings.  I went back to SparkPeople and typed 96 servings and my jaw nearly hit the floor when it said that each 1 tbsp serving of this jam is only 2.3 calories.  How?

I wanted to make my own sugar-free Strawberry Jam because of how expensive it is in the stores.  Have you seen those prices?  People who are diabetic can’t get a break anywhere.  If you have a special diet, you are going to have to pay a heavy price, and I just won’t do it.  I can’t recall the exact price, but a little 8 oz jar of sugar-free strawberry jam must be like $5 or $6, somewhere around there.  With this recipe, all I need are 2-1 lb baskets of strawberries which is basically what the recipe calls for, 4 cups worth, and right now they are 2 for $4.  So right there I’ve already saved money with just that.  Basically, I bought 1 jar and I am getting the other 5 for free.  Of course I am not counting the pectin which I already have, but that is only 3 tbsp and I’ll need 1 cup of the white grape juice.  If you think about it, the 3 tbsp of pectin and the 8 oz of white grape juice makes up and maybe another 50 cents for that 1 jar.

Why didn’t I ever think of doing this before?  I mean, how can I ever buy strawberry jam again for the rest of my life knowing it is this easy and basically has no calories?  All your calories in a regular jar of Strawberry Jam is from the sugar and high fructose corn syrup or whatever the heck is in your jam.  All my calories are basically from the strawberries and the grape juice and that’s it.

Do I even need to convince anyone besides the price and very extremely low calories?  I can’t wait to make this.

My Homemade Peanut Butter

peanut butter

Peanut butter seems to cost a lot of money these days.  Don’t you wish you could make your own at more than half the cost?  Well guess what?  You can!

Today I bought a box of small mason jars and 2 tall 16oz jars of Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts.  I was looking for no salted, but all they had were dry roasted, honey roasted and some other flavor that was spicy.  Dry roasted was fine I guess.

I added 1-16oz jar of peanuts to the food processor and blended the nuts until they were in chunks.  I added 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt.  I blended it until it was smooth.  Although, it was very dry and I decided to just add a touch more peanut oil to make it more creamy than it was.  I probably went overboard because it did get creamier, really creamier lol.  Next time I’ll just let it blend until it gets creamy on it’s own.  My partner tasted it and he said it needed more brown sugar, so I added 2 more tablespoons.  It did make a difference.

I like these little jars because if I want to make some peanut butter cookies, 1 whole jar is basically 1 cup, enough to make 1 batch of cookies.  Next time I go to the store I’m going to buy the bottling kit so I can start making my own jams and applesauce.  I could literally go crazy bottling jams and applesauce, but at the same time I know what’s in them so I know that I am eating healthier and saving a ton of money.

No Flour Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

gluten free no flour peanut butter cookies

Did you know you could make peanut butter cookies with just 3 ingredients?  1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg.  That’s it.  My mother taught me how to make homemade peanut butter cookies when I was a teenager, but I don’t even remember what the recipe was, but it did involve a lot of ingredients.  They were really good, but these are better.  And the fact that they are gluten-free is even better.

So here is the recipe.  Combine 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg and mix until it’s like a dough and the peanut butter isn’t sticking to the bowl.  Make 36 balls and smash them with a fork and bake them at 375F for 9 minutes each.  That’s it.  No muss no fuss.  They are 67.9 calories per cookie.

But… if you want them to be healthier, make your own peanut butter.

If you have a food processor (if not a blender would work), add 1 cup of unsalted peanuts and grind it until it’s chunky.  Add 1 tbsp of peanut oil, 1 tbsp of packed brown sugar (or any sweetener that you prefer) and 1 tsp of salt and blend it until it’s as smooth as peanut butter.  Then add 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg and blend it some more until it’s like a dough.  The calories go down to 62 calories per cookie.  That’s not a lot, but it’s something, and at least you know what went into your peanut butter because you made it.

Look at your store bought peanut butter, look at the list of ingredients.  It has high fructose corn syrup and more corn syrup.  That is what you aren’t putting into your peanut butter cookies and that makes it healthy.

Want your cookies to have even less calories?  Replace the peanuts with pecans and your cookies go down to 52 calories per cookie.  I created this recipe for the SparkPeople website for No Flour Pecan Butter Cookies because we have a pecan tree that drops a lot of pecans.  Instead of wasting them, I’m going to make pecan butter and pecan butter cookies out of them.  I’m not sure how they will taste because I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m looking forward to trying it this week.  I will blog about it with a picture.  If it doesn’t work out then I will blog about my failure LOL.

Homemade Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam

Now that I am starting to eat healthy (and I hope it sticks this time), I am starting to open my eyes to something that never even occurred to me before.  Why am I so fat?  I mean, when I was a kid, I ate the same things that I eat today and I wasn’t fat then, so why now?  It’s not an overeating issue because I can eat a healthy portion and yet I can’t lose weight easily.  Well, now that I am eating healthy non processed foods, I am finally starting to lose weight.  Why is that?

Here’s the thing.  We’re all hearing all this stuff in the news about what they (food producers) use to make and preserve all of the food that they sell and all of the pesticides that go into the plants (corn) that they use to preserve and sweeten our food.  What is a pesticide?  It’s a poison.  We are knowingly or unknowingly putting poison into our bodies.  Have you seen the size of chickens today compared to chickens 20 to 50 years ago?  They were very tiny back then, now they are fat and they grow really fast.  Why is that?  Because they are injecting growth hormones into them to make them bigger.  We are knowingly or unknowingly putting growth hormones into our bodies by eating those chickens.  They are injecting those into the cows and turkeys too.  Nothing is safe.

I haven’t really done any research so I can’t verify everything I just said because I don’t know for a fact that that is what is happening.  But it’s a good question as to why we are getting so fat all of a sudden compared to so many decades ago.

Pardon me, let me adjust my tin foil hat… there, that’s better.

What does that have to do with homemade peanut butter and strawberry jam?  Here’s what.  Look at the list of ingredients that are in a jar of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Knott’s Berry Farm Strawberry Preserves.

pbj jars

I apologize that the Jif label is ripped conveniently on the part that I wanted you to read lol.  It was already like that when I bought it and I have no idea what it says, but it doesn’t matter because it already has too many ingredients which proves my point.

Let’s look at the ingredients though.  Roasted peanuts, hydrogenated vegetable oil, mono and diglycerides, molasses, sugar and salt.  What problem do I have with those ingredients?  Well, for one, you can make your own homemade peanut butter if you have a food processor or a blender by simply blending a jar of unsalted planters peanuts until they are in chunks, then add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of molasses or brown sugar or whatever sweetener you want, or you don’t even need to add any sweetener if you don’t want to or if you are diabetic..  That’s all you need.  You can add some cinnamon if you want, but that is totally up to you, but at least you know what you are eating.  Watch this video for a tutorial on how to make it.

Take a look at the ingredients in the strawberry jam.  Strawberries, high fructose corn syrup, more corn syrup, sugar, fruit pectin and citric acid.  You can make your own strawberry jam and even store some in your pantry if you follow the instructions in the video below.  All she uses is strawberries, sugar, pectin and lemon juice which is your citric acid.  That’s it.  No high fructose corn syrup and more corn syrup.  That is just so unnecessary.

 

I am going to start making our own peanut butter and strawberry jam from now on.  Have you seen the prices on those at the store?  We don’t buy them too often because of how expensive they are.  It only just occurred to me that I could probably make these things a lot cheaper, and now I see that is true.  Of course I don’t plan on going crazy jarring food, but it doesn’t hurt to make a few jars of this and that every few months or whenever you run out of things.

One of the homemade things I made recently is homemade applesauce.  All I did was peeled an apple, chopped it up, put it in a little pan with a little bit of water and let it boil until the apple was soft.  I crushed it and mixed some cinnamon and a tiny bit of brown sugar and viola, applesauce.  You don’t even need to add the brown sugar because it’s sweet enough on its own, I just wanted the extra sweetness of the brown sugar.  I am seriously considering buying a bag of apples so I can make many jars of applesauce to keep in the pantry.  I don’t eat enough apples because I don’t particularly care for them in their solid form, but I do love applesauce.

So there you have it.  You can make your own healthy PB&J and it’s way cheaper than buying jars at the grocery store.  Not only will you save a lot of money, but you know exactly what you are eating.