My girls and I went to the strawberry patch with some friends recently. We came back with a TON of strawberries-they were only 99 cents a pound! We hulled them, pureed them, then froze the puree. I love having a freezer full of strawberry puree, sitting there ready to be used in Strawberry Bread, Strawberry Smoothies, and yes, Strawberry Jam.
I have never made jam before, but now that I have, I don’t know if I will ever buy store made again! It is so very easy to make your own, especially if you freeze it instead of can it. You can make jam with just 3 ingredients:
It is just a matter of mashing your fruit, and stirring in the sugar and pectin. That’s it! (detailed recipe below)
If you read up on jam, you will find there are 2 versions out there. One uses Sure-Jell Pectin, the other uses Ball Pectin. With the Sure-Jell version, you have to cook it, and it uses 4 cups of sugar to 2 cups of strawberries. The Ball version is no cook, uses 11/2 cups of sugar and 4 cups of strawberries. I’ll give you one guess which one I chose.:)
I usually do not use refined white sugar when I make things here at home, but I have found that there are just a few food items that I am willing to compromise on! Example-until I can find a Homemade Lemonade Recipe I like that does not use sugar (I’ve tried quite a few with honey and a couple with maple syrup), then by golly, I’m gonna use sugar! Same with Jam. I was up to my elbows in strawberries, and misplaced a recipe that I had found that used honey and grape juice instead of sugar, so white sugar it was. (gasp-ha!)
Kimba, at A Soft Place To Land, did a GREAT post on Strawberry Jam. She tried both brands of pectin and both recipes, just to see the difference between the two. She ended up with 25 containers of jam in her freezer! She is crazy awesome. Click on through to read about her experience and her opinion.
I used the low sugar recipe, and it perfectly sweet. Granted, our taste buds are now accustomed to food that are less sweet in my family due to the recipes I make, but I really think it is plenty sweet for everyone, and I have had very positive feedback from those who I have given a jar of jam to. Kimba thought you would need fairly sweet strawberries to begin with for the ball recipe, but ours were not super sweet and it still turned out plenty sweet.
Here is the Ball Recipe I used (the insert in the Ball Pectin box has these same instructions)
Ball No Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam
1 pkg. Ball No Cook Pectin
11/2 cups of sugar
4 cups crushed strawberries (about 4 lbs or 2 quarts)
~Wash & hull strawberries.
~Use a potato masher to mash up the strawberries for a more chunky jam. If you prefer less chunks, use a food processor or a hand blender.
~Add the sugar and pectin and stir.
~Ladle into containers, these can be any type of jar, or plastic containers with lids. (make sure to leave some room at the top for expansion when freezing)
~Let sit for 30 minutes. Put into refrigerator or freezer.
~A jar will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks, and in the freezer for up to a year.
I love that I now know how easy this is. I put mine in cute little jars and have already given many away to friends, family and new neighbours. We use it over ice cream and put a spoonful or 2 in our oatmeal in the morning–mmm–Strawberry Cream Oatmeal.
I will make this even in the winter, using frozen fruit that I can hopefully find on sale!
Have you made freezer jam?
Do you have any favorite strawberry recipes for me? Even if they use sugar, send them on through, most recipes that use sugar can be modified to use other forms of sweeteners, such as honey, or pure cane sugar.