Summer is finally here and what is better than fresh berries? I remember when I was a little girl and my grandmother would make freezer jam from strawberries we would pick while visiting her in Michigan. It was the sweetest most wonderful thing ever. That incredible taste stays with you for a lifetime. I'm guessing that is because of the great memories surrounding it. A few years ago after moving back north my family and I started picking fresh strawberries every June at the local farms. Each year I get more and more. This year we picked 6 gallons of fresh berries and the first thing that I do is make freezer jam just like my grandmother did all those years ago.
You don't cook the fruit for this recipe so the jam taste more like fresh fruit. Don't be scared this is truly a fast and easy way to make jam. We picked strawberries in June and I have thoroughly neglected my blog lately, In fact when I started this post last month we have since picked blueberries and giant blackberries in the mountains of NC. I decided to try freezer jam with these other berries and even some SC peaches and they all turned out great.
I don't just put it on toast and bagels, I mix it in with homemade ice cream, smoothies, and even make mousse with it. But don't just think sweets and desserts. How about using them as a glaze for a pork tenderloin or chicken. Maybe a ginger peach glaze...yum!
I like to use the Sure-gel brand of pectin but Ball also makes one. I tried Ball pectin one year and to be honest I like the Sure-gel better. You use a lot less sugar and more berries for the Ball but I guess the taste just wasn't what I remember from my childhood. Although I do like the idea of less sugar and more fruit so I think next time I will try the no sugar needed pectin from Sure-gel.
This is simple just follow the directions for your fruit of choice on the package. The following recipe is for use with Sure-Gel.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
2. C. crushed strawberries - I like to use fresh picked berries because the flavor is more intense.
4 C. sugar
3/4 C. water
1 box of Sure-Gel
1. Wash and dry your lids and jars.
2. Mash berries with a potato masher or in a food processor. Do not over puree, you want bits of fruit in the jam.
3. In a large mixing bowl measure the exact amount of fruit.
4. Measure the exact amount of sugar and pour into the berries. Stir well.
5. In a small saucepan place 3/4 C. water and the contents of the Sure-Gel package.
6. It may start out lumpy but that is OK. Stirring constantly bring to a boil on high heat. Let it boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
7. Pour the Sure-Gel into the fruit/sugar mixture and stir constantly until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
8. Pour into containers, leaving a 1/2 inch space to allow for expansion, cover.
9. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours before placing in the freezer. The jam will last in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks and will last in the freezer for up to 1 year.