When I stepped into Aldi on Wednesday morning I intended to purchase only fish and frozen fruit…but when I saw strawberries for $0.99/lb I knew I’d be stocking up and making some strawberry freezer jam.
I’m a huge fan of homemade goods. Before we moved last year we had a very productive garden and I spent a lot of time canning. As much as I love that home grown goodness all year round…. I do NOT enjoy the
anxiety anticipation surrounding a kitchen full of jars, hot liquid and a steaming vat of boiling water thatI will be toiling over for hours.
Not my idea of “fun”, exactly.
Freezer jam is a great alternative for stocking away some homemade goodies without sweating away the day and because it is more successful when made in small batches, you don’t have to break the bank stocking up on fruit…you can make a little OR you can
go overboard and make a lot. For strawberry freezer jam you can get about 2 half pints of jam out of one pound of strawberries.
Let’s get started!
Wash, dry and hull (cut out the stem/core) one pound of strawberries. I like to quarter them as well because you will ultimately end up with smaller pieces in your jam.
Next you are going to smash the strawberries. I do this in a deep dish pie plate because you want the berries to be in a single layer so that they all smash up evenly. You can use a fork but I find that a potato masher works the best. Smash them up until they are nice and juicy but you still have some nice pieces left to give your jam bulk.
Measure 2-3 tablespoons of Ball’s Instant RealFruit Pectin into a small bowl and mix it with 2/3c. white sugar. Two tablespoons will give you jam with a very thin texture: spreadable but liquid enough that it would be super tasty on say….ice cream…or brownies. I’m guessing. I certainly would never
dump pour any on top of a giant bowl of ice cream and dive in while everyone else in the house is sleeping… 2 ½ tablespoons should be just about right for a firmer jam that won’t slide off of an ooey gooey peanut butter sandwich after the first bite.
Mix your mashed berries in with the sugar and pectin until it is all combined and juicy. Let the mixture sit in the bowl for about 3 min before pouring it into your jars.
Ladle your jam into the jars leaving at least ½” of head space at the top of the jar. This leaves room for the liquid to expand when it freezes. Let the jars sit out for 30 minutes then put the lids on and move them to the fridge or freezer. In the fridge your jam should last for 2-3 weeks (who are we kidding? In my house it will NEVER last 2-3 weeks), in the freezer 6 months.
See? Quick and easy! And because it makes up so quickly, I make my strawberry freezer jam in small batches. Smaller batches seem to firm up better, when you start making larger batches the jam tends to stay very liquid. Ball recommends that you not make more than 6 half pint jars in a recipe but I find making one pound of strawberries at a time just works better.
You can use this recipe with lots of other fruits, you may want to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness or tartness of your fruit. If you are using peaches, you will want to add about 1 tsp of lemon juice to the mix.
Now you can take advantage of those fresh fruit sales that will be rolling in over the next few weeks and months….and enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long!