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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Tis the season of strawberries!  It's the perfect time to make strawberry jam!
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:

~Fruit
~Sugar
~Pectin

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.

10 comments:

  1. Yum! I just made a batch of my honey-sweetened strawberry freezer jam this morning:
    http://heartlandrenaissance.com/2009/06/honey-sweetened-strawberry-freezer-preserves/

    It's my second year making it and we love it. It has a light taste of honey (raw, from my neighbor who keeps bees) and I MUCH prefer it to cooked strawberry jam. I am thinking, though, of making this low-sugar strawberry-rhubarb butter this week (strawberries and rhubarb from our garden) for something different (and shelf stable due to our too-small freezer):
    http://www.foodinjars.com/2010/06/11/strawberry-rhubarb-butter-recipe/

    Enjoy your jam!

    Best,
    Sarah

    PS - I just saw you're in Lincoln. I'm in Greenwood. Great minds should meet . . . :)

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  2. I have never made freezer jam- but this is the THIRD post I have read on the subject in about 2 weeks. Apparently- I need to go get some fruit and make some!! Luckily we live in the middle of strawberry central here in CA. Thanks for the recipe!

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  3. So you were on the jam wagon this weekend too? I've never made the no-cook jam, but strawberry freezer jam is always in my house. Now I have all the apricot and peach too. Whew. I like to can it because it lasts a little longer and I can make it when the fruit's ripe and then give it for gifts at Christmastime. Plus, it doesn't take up as much freezer space.
    I'm going to use that straw technique next time I do strawberries, for sure!

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  4. Ha! I just made strawberry jam for the first time ever last weekend. However, mine included strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Having 2 younger kids (6 and 2), I didn't get that many strawberries, but I think I can still find them at a good price. One pint jar is nearly gone and I'm sure the remaining 2 won't last long.

    I'd love to try this and put some away for gifts, too. THANKS for sharing the Ball recipe! How I'd LOVE to have that book! *swoon*

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  5. I made the Ball freezer jam this weekend for the first time (I usually use Sure-Jell). I was also pleasantly surprised at how sweet it was - and like you, my berries weren't super sweet, either. I'm thrilled I was able to use about one-third of the sugar and still get great taste!

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  6. @Sarah-how fun would it be to meet?!! I love your blog, we have much in common. I will have to try your recipe, it looks identical to the one I misplaced, so THANK YOU for commenting.
    @Megan-yes, it is all over blogland...but for a good reason. IT. IS. GREAT!
    You won't regret trying it.
    @jen-I can't wait to try a few different types of fruit. I loved your post on it..they make the best gifts, huh? Fun hearing from you..
    @Aimee-you are welcome. I've seen lemon juice added, I'll have to look into that.
    @Jessica-thanks for reaffirming the Ball recipe for me. I was so surprised it turned out as sweet as it is.

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  7. I don't think there is a better jam than this. It is just perfect.
    I agree , I thik this recipe needs just plain ol sugar.

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  8. I have not made jam yet but I have made apple sauce and there its so hard to buy store bought now. Ill have to try making jelly. Still working down the UBP list http://postpartumillness.com

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  9. I tried freezer jam a year ago when our plum tree was over-productive for our family. The tart plum and sweet strawberries make for a great jam combination. Add habinero peppers (seeds or no seeds depending on your "hotness" preference) and this makes an awesome dip when served with softened cream cheese and crackers. Alone, it's a perfect dip with taquitos/flautas if you want something other than regular salsa.

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  10. I discovered freezer jam when I had to figure out what to do with our over-productive plum tree. Tart plums and sweet strawberries made a delicious jam combination. Add habinero peppers (seeds or no seeds depending on your preference of "hotness") and serve as a layered dip over softened cream cheese with crackers. So tasty and addictive. Also great alone when served with taquitos.

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