Monday, May 13, 2013

strawberry freezer jam: our secret recipe


strawberry freezer jam recipe

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!

Ingredients:
4 lbs of strawberries (4 cups of crushed fruit)
4 cups of sugar
2 boxes of pectin
1 1/2 cup water

Low(er)-sugar recipe:
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!)

Instructions:

Important! For this recipe I used two boxes of pectin like this (which is about 1/2 cup if you're measuring):

strawberry freezer jam recipe
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!)

strawberry freezer jam recipe
YUM!

cut the tops off of your strawberries and cut them in half:

strawberry freezer jam recipe
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.

strawberry freezer jam recipe
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:

strawberry freezer jam recipe
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:

strawberry freezer jam recipe
Perfectly chunky.

4. Add the 4 cups of sugar:

strawberry freezer jam recipe
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:

strawberry freezer jam recipe
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:

strawberry freezer jam recipe
It will begin to look glorious!
Let it sit and cool a bit, about ten minutes.

7. Put jam into jars, leaving about 1/3-1/4 inch at the top for freezer expansion:

strawberry freezer jam recipe
Is it done yet?
Once the jam is in jars you should let it cool uncovered until it's room temperature. Once the jam has reached room temp, you can put the lids on and pop them into the freezer, and you're done!

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!

strawberry freezer jam recipe
The spoon is there because I ate some. Don't judge me.
I got all of this jam from about an hour's work! That's enough jam to last about three months for my family of four. Not too shabby! And it's cheaper, healthier and better then any store bought jam we've ever found. I'm on my fourth piece of toast as we speak!

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.

~Jessica


P.S...Linking up with these lovely blog hop parties here, and at Huckleberry Love!

27 comments:

  1. wonderful, we used to can jams when I was in High School, but haven't done in over 30 years. Just may have to try again this summer, give the boys the opportunity to learn something new!

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  2. I grew up on homemade jam too! Isn't it the best? I make freezer strawberry jam every summer and the kids usually help me with the crushing berries and stirring! It is the easiest thing in the world! Great post! Have a lovely week! Angie xo

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  3. I love this project! I would love it if you would come and link this up at my very first link party
    Dandelion Wishes Wednesday.

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  4. I'm going to try this you made it sound so easy! I love this! I would love for you to share this at http://hickorytrailblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/assets-and-efforts-linky-party-2.html

    Thank you,
    Angela

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  5. My grandmother would make this and it was awesome! I would love to have you share your recipe(s) at my Rock N Share party! Blessings, D@TheShadyPorch

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  6. that is an awesome recipe...I like that you gave the lower sugar version...gonna give it a try...

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  7. Carole's Chatter is collecting links for jams, jellies and relishes today. This is a nice one. I do hope you pop over and link in. This is the link . Cheers

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  8. My mom used to make this, the recipe looks the same too! I am printing it and will keep it for the strawberry season. If you get a chance, please share this on my linky party: http://suburbsmama.blogspot.com/2013/05/sunday-link-party-7.html

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    Replies
    1. I sure will, thank you! Strawberry season apparently starts super early here in Idaho because they were only $1.49 for two lbs at our local grocery store!

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  9. Thank you for sharing at our Simply Create Link Party! I too grew up on homemade jam. There is no way anyone in our house will touch the store boughten stuff. :) Thanks for sharing your recipe! I use the ball pectin for freezer jam and love it just as much as the pectin you mentioned. Love it!

    Melissa
    redflycreations.com

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    Replies
    1. I actually haven't been super thrilled with sure jell pectin, I will be sure to look for ball next time I go to the store, maybe it will work better!

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  10. Looks Wonderful.
    Noticed your 'jars' they look like plastic cups. Can a person use plastic containers of sorts?
    thank you
    ColleenB

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    Replies
    1. Yes! Colleen the plastic cups I used here are actually plastic reusable canning jars specifically for freezer jam. But I used a mix of plastic tupperware, old glass jars...because you do not need to boil these to seal them you don't need to invest in any special canning jars. Anything will do, that has a lid and can be frozen!

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  11. LOL I made jam one time years ago. It was a hot mess! This looks so much easier! Question, have you tried making other flavors with this recipe or do you mainly stick to berries? FYI, I found you at Katherines Corner

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    Replies
    1. I have tried other flavors for sure! I've used blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and made strawberry-kiwi, all turned out great!

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  12. Jessica and HIlary, thanks for popping over and joining in the "jam" session. i have signed up to follow you and hope you will follow Carole's Chatter as well. Cheers

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  13. David LOVES blackberry jam and I can't wait to surprise him with this! He'll be so impressed when I tell him I slaved over the stove ALL DAY making this just for him. ;) lol

    Thank you so much for linking up with me for my Foodie Friday Blog Hop! I hope you will join me again next Friday.

    Melissa A Room for Two with a View

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  14. Looks yummy!! Thanks for linking up at Family Fun Friday at http://happyandblessedhome.com! Blessings!

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  15. This looks great! How long does it stay good in the freezer? How about after you take it out to use it? Thanks!

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  16. Looks yummy! Thanks for sharing at I Made It! Monday. Can't wait to see what you link up this week. Oh, and don't forget to grab a featured button when you do. :)

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  17. You're the second person who's made this in a week..I've got to try it! it looks delicious! Thank you so much for linking up with me this week at Tasty Tuesdays! I’ve pinned this & shared it with my followers!

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  18. This is a real scoop for everybody. This is an interesting blog page. I do hope you could do some more post. Good job!

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  19. We love homemade jam, but haven't tried freezer type yet. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

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  20. What a great idea!

    I would love for you to link up at the Mommy Archive - we're focusing on favourite freezer recipes and tips this week, Alice x

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  21. Its in my to do list for a long time... Jam looks so colorful and yum.
    Alamo Heights Movers

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