Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Freezer Jam

If you're anything like me (up until last summer), you probably have no idea how easy it is to make homemade jam. Last summer the kids and I picked a bunch of strawberries from a local U-pick farm, and I tried my hand at making freezer jam. It seemed like the least-intimidating type to make (no glass jars, no boiling in big pots, etc.).

After trying my first batch- I was hooked!! After eating this strawberry jam, I have no desire to eat store-made jam. This kind actually tastes like strawberries!! And it's bright red! You can store it in the fridge for 3 weeks, or in the freezer for 1 year.

The only ingredients you need are berries, sugar, and instant pectin. You also need some type of container to store the jam in. I love these little jars made by Ball, because they're the perfect size, and they're stackable, but really any small container with a tight-fitting lid will work. I've even frozen the jam in ziploc bags (in 1 cup portions), then poured it into a container once thawed.

You can find detailed instructions here (including how to make different size batches), as well as more canning tips: The Pectin Calculator

***Strawberry tips I got from the Ball website:
  • Select strawberries that are firm, plump, deep red in color, shiny, and have attached green caps
  • Refrigerate until use to prevent deterioration or mold formation
  • Wash only when ready for use
  • Only mix one batch at a time, otherwise it might not "set" properly
Are you ready to make this??

Strawberry Freezer Jam
Printable version here

4 cups crushed strawberries (and/or other berries)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. instant pectin*

1. Rinse, dry, and cut the leaves off the strawberries. Mash them with a potato masher or other similar tool to measure 4 cups. (Crush until they are mostly mashed, but there are still little bits. Don't puree.)

2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and pectin. Next add the crushed berries and stir for 3 minutes. Ladle into 5 1-cup containers, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top to allow for expansion when it freezes. Let sit for 30 minutes. Then, either refrigerate (for up to 3 weeks) or freeze (for up to 1 year). Enjoy!!

* The pectin is available in small packages, which only make 2 (1-cup) containers, or in a jar. It's cheaper in the jar, and you can make whatever size batch you want with that.

Daniel helping to cut off the tops

I mash them in a flat plastic container using my Pampered Chef Mix 'N Chop

What they look like after crushing. The size of the chunks you leave in it is up to you. I like mine fairly well mashed.

The 3 ingredients you mix together to make jam

The boys mixing it all up, then I used a ladle to get it in the jars.

(The kids couldn't keep their hands off the fresh berries!)

You can use other berries, too. These are some I made last year using strawberries and strained raspberries & blackberries. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions!

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