Aug 21, 2010

Making Strawberry Jam for the Freezer

One of the things I wanted to do this summer was making freezer jam. Have you ever tried this?

I have never canned. I would like to learn how, but just the idea of buying all the equipment sounds daunting.

So, when I heard about freezer jam, I thought it would be a nice alternative to canning.

This was so EASY!

I bought the pectin at my grocery store. My store only stocks Sure Jell, but there are other types out there. And I picked up strawberries when they were on sale 'buy one get one free'.

To make the jam, I just followed the instructions that came with the Sure Jell. I used my food processor to puree the strawberries and left them just a bit chunky so the jam would be hearty.

You will need 2 cups of strawberry puree. Add to the strawberries 4 cups of sugar. This amount of sugar seems like a lot, but I went ahead with it as all I had read online stressed to follow the instructions exactly. I didn't want to ruin it by changing the recipe.

While the strawberries and sugar are melding (like that word?), boil some water and the pectin in a small saucepan. I don't recall how much water, but the instructions tell you. Once the strawberry/sugar mix has sat for the required time (I think 4 minutes, but again, read the instructions), you just mix the pectin/water mix in and gently stir.

I used the small screw-top ziplock containers and the recipe filled three of these. Let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours to complete the jelling process and then pop into the freezer. I kept one in the fridge to use now.

Review: I was a bit surprised when my son commented on how sweet the jam was. I didn't think anything would seem too sweet to a kid, but there you have it. I am curious to see if the ones in the freezer taste as sweet. If so, next time I will buy the pectin that is for sugar free or less sugar recipes. In fact, I think I will try this either way as less sugar is a good thing.

Cost Analysis: It wasn't too expensive to make this. You would definitely want to make jam when the desired fruit is in season to get the best price on it. I've never paid attention to the pectin, but I'm sure it goes on sale from time to time and I will be watching for a sale/coupon match-up in the future to stock up for next year.

Overall, I consider this a success. I like knowing what ingredients go into the food I serve my family and I had fun making this. It was super fast and I just feel good knowing that I made it.

I will definitely do this again!

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