I (Jessica) love strawberry freezer jam! but I had never had home made jam until I met my husband. He was raised on home made jam (his mom grew up on a farm!) and when we moved in together his mom kept sending us home with delicious freezer jams. Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, oh my.
I was hooked! And I'm going share my own strawberry freezer jam recipe with you!
Since both Hilary and I are *ahem* fairly adept in the kitchen, we decided about four years ago to teach ourselves to make it. And we were both shocked and amazed at how easy and cheap it is to make homemade jam!
It's like it's the best kept DIY secret ever! And then as if that weren't incentive enough to make some, people are super impressed when you tell them you make your own jam.
"Oh," they say "I've always wanted to try that but it seems so hard!"
Ha! Let me tell you, it's not. Freezer jam is one of the most rewarding DIY's you can do! Easy, quick, cheap and fantastic. And it makes a great last minute gift, too.
So you can imagine, we've gotten really good at making our own jam over those four years. Good thing, too, because I don't even think we could stomach store bought jam at this point. Every time my family runs out of my home made jam we moan and groan and go without, or we buy some and it goes bad sitting in our fridge because no one wants to eat the stuff.
So here, without further ado, is our super-secret freezer jam recipe!
4 lbs of strawberries (4 cups of crushed fruit)
4 cups of sugar
2 boxes of pectin
1 1/2 cup water
4 lbs of strawberries
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 box of low-sugar pectin
1 cup of water
(Directions for the low-sugar recipe are the same!)
Important! For this recipe I used two boxes of pectin like this (which is about 1/2 cup if you're measuring):
|I'm not sure what that weird glob of stuff is on the box? Solidified pectin? Glue? It's a mystery.|
But I absolutely DID NOT follow the recipe on the inside. I never have, I find the recipe calls for too much sugar and is way too puckery-sweet, and my hubby and I don't like super sweet jam. So this recipe will be pretty different from the carton instructions.This also means that the jam is a little thinner then store bought jam, which is fine!
1. Start with your fresh strawberries, the riper the better.
(Psssssst....you can also use frozen berries if fresh berries are not in season! I've done it, it works the same and can be much cheaper sometimes, especially with raspberries!)
cut the tops off of your strawberries and cut them in half:
|This picture is making me want strawberries again!|
2. This part is super important! Soak your strawberries in a solution of about 1 Tbsp of vinegar to 6-8 cups of water for at least ten minutes. This will clean your strawberries and disinfect them. Let me tell you, those crops are fertilized with God-knows-what...you want your berries CLEAN before you make jam! Especially since this version of freezer jam is raw. Raw, people. That means any cow poop or chemicals used to fertilize the fields is going directly into your jam, unless you clean off the berries. CLEAN THEM!
Ok, ok, ok. Off of my high horse now. No, they won't taste like vinegar, I promise.
|Taking their bath...|
After they're done soaking, rinse them in cold water for a few minutes and you're ready to start crushing them!
3. Crush your berries!
I have used my food processor in the past for this, but I know that not everyone has a fancy food processor. Also, I find that the food processor tends to make this jam too runny, and we all like a good, chunky jam in this house! So I go a little low tech for this part and use a good ole' fashioned potato masher:
|Mash baby mash!|
Just start mashing! It takes about 5-10 minutes of mashing to get the berries to the right consistency, but I consider this my arm workout for the day so it's all good.
If you like a chunky jam, like us, you can stop when it looks about like this:
4. Add the 4 cups of sugar:
|God that is sooooooooo much sugar! Blech!|
You want to mix this in really, really well. You shouldn't be able to tell that there is sugar mixed in when you're done, except for a slightly grainy texture.
5. Prepare the pectin according to the instructions on the package. Mine said "combine 1 package of pectin with 2/3 cup water. Bring to boil. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and mix with fruit."
So I boiled it as per the instructions. I would recommend using a bigger pot for this then I did, because mine boiled over!
6. Mix the liquid pectin with your fruit. I poured mine on the top like this:
|Careful! It's hot!|
Then I used a big spoon to mix it in thoroughly with the fruit, until all the sugar from the fruit/sugar mix was dissolved:
|It will begin to look glorious!|
7. Put jam into jars, leaving about 1/3-1/4 inch at the top for freezer expansion:
|Is it done yet?|
You do probably want to leave your jam in the fridge or freezer for about 24 hours to let it finish setting completely, but I won't judge you if you eat it immediately. It will be a little runny, but yummy I promise. I know from experience. Hilary was telling me how she ate spoonfuls of jam while she was making it!
I was impressed, like I always am, with the sheer volume of jam I get from this recipe!
|The spoon is there because I ate some. Don't judge me.|
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes for you! We just love hearing from our readers when they try our recipes and projects.
P.S...Linking up with these lovely blog hop parties here, and at Huckleberry Love!