Strawberries are in season here and I just brought home a huge container of huge, juicy strawberries from Costco. We eat them like candy, but also love them on top of pancakes or waffles. When fresh fruit is in season, I love to make homemade freezer jam. My Mom and Nana always made it too and my husband refuses to eat store-bought jam now! It's so simple to make and the jam lasts for about a year in the freezer, actually tastes like fresh fruit and has no preservatives. I'm writing this post to encourage those of you who have never made freezer jam to give it a try!
Start with a box of pectin. You can find it with the canning supplies at the grocery store. I prefer Sure Jel For Less Sugar Recipes (in a pink box, pictured below), because it uses more fruit than sugar and we think the jam is still plenty sweet. Inside the box of pectin will be several different recipes for whichever type of fruit you are using. I usually make strawberry and raspberry, but have also had good results with fruit blends, such as Strawberry-Blueberry and the Strawberry-Raspberry that I made this year. Last summer I made a batch of Strawberry-Citrus Jam that was divine!
- First, wash your canning jars and lids. I like to run mine through the dishwasher. As for size, I like the 1/2 pint (1 cup, or 8 ounce) Ball mason jars for jam.
- Wash your fruit and measure it. Some fruit needs to be chopped or crushed before measuring. When I use raspberries, I just wash and measure them. They tend to get obliterated when your stir the jam, so I don't crush them first. As for strawberries, blueberries or peaches, I like to coarsely chop them with my Pampered Chef food chopper or pulse them with a food processor. You don't want to overdo it though. Pureeing your fruit too much can prevent your jam from setting.
- Next, you'll measure your sugar into a saucepan, add the pectin and water and bring to a boil (pictured below). *BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE RECIPE IN YOUR BOX OF PECTIN; SOME RECIPES MAY VARY.*
4. Typically, the next step is to pour the hot pectin into the prepared fruit and stir.
5. Spoon the jam into clean jars, screw on the lids and let sit for up to 24 hours to set the jam. Store in the freezer until ready to use.
Freezer jam makes a wonderful gift! I love to give jam with a fresh loaf of homemade bread... Yum! We also like jam spread on toast, crepes or in these Berry Oat Bars.
I hope this has helped inspire those who have never made jam before to give it a try!
Digital strawberry from "Juicy" kit by Pamela Donnis.