Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strawberry Freezer Jam

One of my favorite summer treats is homemade strawberry freezer jam.  It is soooo much better and prettier than anything you will find in the store.  It is so versatile - on your toast, on your pancakes, ice cream topping, cooking, shakes, as a yogurt topping...  And this method takes a lot of the time and hassle out of it - especially when you are short on time to can.

And here's the part I like best - this is the perfect place to use those "flawed" berries.  Don't use your perfect berries for this - save those for the fresh recipes.  I know when the kids pick with me they don't always get berries that are totally ripe, and some are overripe.  Others may have gotten a little mushed in the flat on the way home or have that green seedy spot on the bottom.  This is the way to use those - don't let them go to waste!

Start with 8 cups of strawberries with the greens removed.  Mash with your potato masher.  You can break them up as much or little as you like.  Most of the strawberries you get fresh-picked are on the smaller side and they will break down a little from the heat of the sugar mix.  I love getting strawberry chunks (especially when I serve this over something) so I only break mine up a little bit.  Set them aside.

Wash and dry your storage containers and have them nearby.  I use plastic ones that hold about 2 cups.  I like the ones with the screw top but since I couldn't find any at the time, I opted for ones that advertised an extra tight snapped lid.  The really cheap ones often don't seal as well and may leak, pop open or become freezer-burned easier.

In a large pot, combine 2 packages of pectin (I usually use Sure-Jell) and 6 cups of sugar and stir until evenly combined. Add 2 cups of water and stir until smooth.  Once you start the heat you will need to stir this continuously so don't start this until you know you won't be interrupted for about 15 minutes.

Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until your mixture comes to a hard boil.  Boil and continue stirring for 2 minutes (most recipes say 1 minute but I find 2 minutes ensures my jell sets better).

Remove from heat, add strawberries and stir for 1-2 minutes or until well mixed.  Once you are sure it is totally combined, scoop into your containers leaving 1/2 inch of head space.

Your jam will expand in the freezer and if you fill it too full your lid will pop, leak and your jam will be freezer-burned.

This made about 14 cups of jam.

Cover your filled containers tightly and set aside to cool at room temperature overnight.  Your jell will set as it cools.  The next day is when you can store it in the fridge or freezer.  I use a Sharpie to write the name and date on each container.  The best part is when you can pull this out at Christmas, let it thaw at room temperature and serve it with fresh baked bread - it will still taste like you just picked the berries!


Unknown said...

I make cooked jam, but I have never done freezer jam. A friend did 4 batches in a very short amount of time with lots of helpers to stir. I think I might need to give it a try. I'd love for you to link up at Fantastic Friday. Hope to see you there! http://www.fivelittlechefs.com/2012/06/fantastic-thursday-link-party-1.html

Unknown said...

I like the freezer jam for making with kids - fits better with their attention spans! :) Linked up another great recipe the kids can help with on your Fantastic Thursday party - thanks so much for the invite!

Michelle Day said...

I make cooked jam all the time but have never used the freezer jam recipe. This looks great for having little helpers around. Great for the summer too. Thanks so much for stopping by Creative Thursday last week. I couldn’t do these parties without you. Can’t wait to see what you link up this week. Have a wonderful week.