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How to Make your Own Jam

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Always in awe of women who make their own jam? Me too. I always recoil in fear when it comes to "putting food up." One of our guest food contributors, Serena Norr, shows us the way with her "Who Got the Jam" masterpiece.

I don'??t know about you, but with a toddler (or a child of any age) peanut butter and jelly tends to be staple around our house: lunches on the go, a quick dinner or a hearty snack; we all cheer for PB and J. Perhaps I am cheering for a different reason (easy of preparation) than my daughters (love of PB), but it serves both purposes. Basically, it'??s a versatile little sandwich that can do no harm.

Although I love this simple everyday food, it is important to be wary of the jelly part in this equation for its high concentration of sugar. In fact, one typical jar has a whopping 12 grams of sugar per tablespoon '?? (and really, who is using just one tablespoon?) The low-sugar, sugar free models are out there, but personally I would rather stay away from artificial sweeteners and opt for the all-natural sugar route '??'?? with nothing added. I recently learned how easy this actually is with some help from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine.

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The easy-to-follow recipe allowed me to take matters of this sugar/jelly conundrum into my own hands by making my own fig/ lime jam! Having never made jam before, I thought this was an impossible task; but rest assured the whole process was a lot simpler than I anticipated and now I have a healthy alternative and all-natural blend that is sure to jazz up the next round of PB and J'??s. Enjoy and feel free to adapt the recipe to your favorite fruits. I'??m thinking a peach/mint jam or maybe a strawberry/lime combo for my next jam. With all of these options, peanut butter and jelly never tasted so good!

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Fig and Lime Jam Recipe
From Cooking Light magazine

Yield: 4 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
'?¢ 2 cups sugar
'?¢ 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
'?¢ 2 pounds fresh Brown Turkey figs, cut into (1/4-inch) pieces (about 6 cups)
*Modification: 2-3 sprigs of fresh mint

Combine all ingredients in a large heavy saucepan; mash fig mixture with a potato masher until combined. Let stand 2 hours. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer 35 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Cover and chill overnight.

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