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Whenever I make jam, I always lament that the beautiful pure fruit I laboriously prepare is then laced with a ton of sugar. The regular recipe calls for an almost 2:1 ratio of sugar to fruit.

Gag.

Even with the low-to-no-sugar pectin, if you follow the directions on the box, it’s still a whopping 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit. I usually use organic evaporated cane juice or Sucanat, which is way better than the bleached-out white stuff, but still …

It’s sugar.

Honey is so much better. It has antioxidant and antibacterial qualities, gives a boost of energy, and is totally natural and unrefined. It has a real depth of flavor, whereas sugar is a little one-dimensional.

If you use local honey, your neighborhood bees will be helping to minimize your allergy symptoms by inoculating you against your local pollen. Goes right along with the old “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” theory … a little pollen every day helps keep the doctor away.

And get this: I recently learned that honey is the only natural food on earth that never spoils! It may crystallize and harden, but it never actually goes bad.

Honey is a staple in my household. I always have plenty on hand. But strawberries are so transient, at their peak just once a year for a few short weeks.

Lucky me, when Whole Foods had a one-day sale on organic strawberries a few months back. Not known for doing things halfway, I came home with 30 pounds.

Some are in the freezer for month’s and month’s worth of smoothies. And some became honey-sweetened preserves, inspired by Sarah’s Musings.

Finally! Easy homemade preserves that I don’t have to make with sugar!

With my Candida-related issues, sugar is always a no-no. In addition, because of my current extremely restrictive Candida cleanse diet, I’m not eating fruit, honey or fruit juice for a while, either.

Making this jam without tasting even a drop was sheer torture. However, Ecogirl and Ecodaddy assured me it is delicious without being cloyingly sweet.

At least I think that’s what they said … I couldn’t really understand them as they spooned it straight from the jar into their sticky mouths, over and over again.

Some call it jam, some call it preserves … what is the difference?

Jam is made with fruit that’s pureed to one consistency. Preserves have big chunks of fruit throughout.

Sometimes I make jam, which is just delectable thinly spread over warm buttered toast.

Sometimes I leave some chunks and make preserves, which are perfect mixed with plain yogurt.

With this recipe, it’s really up to you to what consistency you want to mash the fruit. It can be jam or preserves, you decide!

Either way, it is always delicious, and great for gift-giving. Tie a festive ribbon around the rim of the lid, and surprise the recipient with a little bit of sunshine in a jar.

paired with almond butter on toasted Ezekiel bread, mmmmm ...

Strawberry Honey Preserves

  • 6 cups mashed strawberries
  • 1 cup organic apple juice
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 package low-sugar/no-sugar fruit pectin
  • Preserving equipment: glass jars, lids, rings, canning pot or any large pot, funnel, jar tongs, and ladle
  1. First things first: get your water boiling on the stove in your large canning pot. Sterilize your clean, empty jars by letting them boil in the water. Place the jar lids in a bowl and ladle some boiling water over them … DO NOT put them in the pot of boiling water or it will compromise the rubber seal.
  2. Hull and mash your strawberries. You can leave some pieces chunkier for more texture in your preserves. If you like it smoother, you can pulse in a food processor until it’s a consistency you like.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the mashed fruit and juice. Stir in the pectin and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Once it’s boiling, add the honey and bring it back up to a rolling boil for three minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove fruit mixture from heat and skim the foam off the top with a spoon into a small bowl. Ecodaddy is a big fan of eating the foam as an added bonus. You can eat it, or toss it, but definitely remove it from the preserves or it will make the final product look funny.
  6. Remove the glass jars from the boiling water with your jar tongs, shake out any extra water, and line them up on a dishtowel. Let the water in the big pot keep on boiling.
  7. Working quickly, ladle the fruit mixture into the funnel-topped jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace at the top of each jar. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with another damp dishtowel, and top each jar with a lid. Secure a ring on each jar and tighten “fingertip tight” … tight enough that it’s secure, but not so tight that no steam can escape.
  8. Place lidded jars into the pot of boiling water for a ten-minute bath. When the time is up, pull them out with your jar tongs and do not touch them. Just let them rest. Soon you will start hearing a “pop” from each jar as all the steam escapes and a vacuum is created inside, sealing the jars.
  9. Don’t touch the jars for 12-24 hours, then push down on each lid to make sure it is sealed. If the lid moves up and down slightly with a “click click” sound, then your jar didn’t seal. That’s ok, you can still enjoy the preserves, but the jar has to go right into the fridge to be used in the next week or two. If the jars did seal properly and the lids don’t move, then you can store your jars in the pantry at room temperature for up to a year.
Note: I used six cups of fruit, which makes a runnier, more sauce-like finished product. This is perfect for spooning over plain yogurt to make your own strawberry yogurt, or drizzling over a piece of pound cake. To make a thicker more spreadable preserve a la PB & J, use only four cups of fruit.
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Lots of foods in my house are green. Even ones that aren’t supposed to be. Ever had green mac ‘n’ cheese? Then you know what I’m talking about.

Problem is, Ecogirl is now old enough to know that mac ‘n’ cheese is not, in fact, supposed to be green, and refuses to eat it when it is. So I have to be more stealthy with my applications of greens in her diet.

One foolproof way to sneak some healthy greens into her little growing body is to hide them in a fruit smoothie. Yes, you read that right. Raw greens in a fruit smoothie.

You cannot taste them. I swear.

Just try it. You’ll see.

  • 1/2 cup liquid of choice (milk, non-dairy milk, juice, water, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • Handful of raw spinach or kale
  • Handful of ice
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth.
  2. You can also put smoothie into ice pop molds for an icy treat later on

Optional ingredients for added nutrition and/or flavor:

  • 1 heaping Tbsp nut butter (we like peanut or almond)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp spirulina (freshwater microalgae that’s high in protein and minerals without a fishy flavor)
  • Pinch of powdered kelp (a sea plant rich in vitamins and minerals; no more than a pinch or you’re drinking a seaweed smoothie)
  • 1 Tbsp chia gel (chia seeds soaked in water to make a gel)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp protein powder (we like Nutribiotic vanilla rice protein or Nutiva hemp protein)
  • For grown-ups only: 1/2 tsp maca powder (for energy and hormonal rebalancing)

Did I mention how green spirulina is? Oh yes, it’s green. I mean, really really green.

I include spirulina in every smoothie I make. Poor Ecodaddy is razzed mercilessly by his coworkers over the disturbing greenish-grey color of his smoothies. He just cheerfully gulps them down anyway because he knows how energizing and nutritious they are.

Ecogirl and I love to slurp one down for a quick breakfast on those mornings when we need to get out of the house a little faster than usual. Hers is in a sippy cup, so she can’t see how green it is. Ha! Pretty sneaky, Ecomama!

I’d love to hear your favorite ways to sneak some greens into your family’s diet. Please share!

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