I must begin by telling you that I have never made freezer jam before. Last summer, I made my first attempt at raspberry and blueberry jam. They turned out great and we enjoyed them all winter.
It was kind of a lot of work for a gal who likes to get a lot done…quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I was in the kitchen all day long, slaving over a hot stove, but it did take some time.
So, a week or so ago, my friend told me that she had gone strawberry picking with her daughter. I thought, “Oh, fun! We should do that and make some strawberry jam”.
And you’ll never believe this, because I could hardly believe it myself but, when my hubby came home from work what do you think he had with him? SIX quarts of strawberries that some folks from our church thought we might enjoy! Woo hoo! Perfect timing! And, they were fresh picked from a strawberry farm.
I promptly called another friend who is my go to person for all things canning (since I’m a newbie). She told me how to make freezer jam and said it was “easy”. Yeah. As far as the word easy goes, I have found that to be relative. After my horrible experience making grape juice I take the term “it’s easy” very lightly.
Let me just tell you that after making this jam (remember it was my very first time!), it was E-A-S-Y! I am not exaggerating when I tell you it took me less than 20 minutes start to finish. And I’m talking strawberries in the container to lids on the jars. What!?!
Now I’m wondering what in the world took me so long to try this!
If you have never made strawberry freezer jam before, this post’s for you!
I had some leftover half-pint and pint jars from our raspberry jam, and since I didn’t know how many jars it would fill, I just washed a bunch of them. I was so surprised at how much jam you get out of ONE quart of strawberries!
I filled 4 half-pint and 1 pint jar with my first batch. It was so easy and fast, I decided to make another. The second batch I used 3 pint jars.
You’ll understand how you get so much jam from one container of strawberries, soon. But I’ll warn you…if you haven’t had your regular dental appointment in a while, you may want to schedule one after you eat this!
Okay, so here is the easy, peasy tutorial.
Start with a quart of strawberries.
Wash and remove leaves and stems.
Here is where you can tell I’m a newbie (or just that I like to get things done quickly). My experienced friend told me to mash them with a potato masher. By the way, DO NOT heat them (that’s for regular jam, not freezer jam). I decided that I would try using my mixer, like I do to shred chicken in 10 seconds.
I put it on the lowest setting and it did a great job. Just be aware that if you try this, use a splatter shield, or be prepared for some of the berry juice to splash a little.
Mash the berries until they are mostly mashed with a few chunky pieces.
Then, mix in 4 cups of sugar. Yes, I did say FOUR, which is why I recommended that you visit your dentist soon! 🙂
Stir it up, add 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and let it sit while you prepare the pectin.
One quart of strawberries requires one box of pectin. My grocery store was out of it, so I bought a jar. Make sure you get “classic” pectin. They had a quick version, but my friend told me theirs didn’t turn out well when she used that type.
Add 6 Tbsp. pectin (or 1 box) to 3/4 cup water.
Mix and stir over medium-high heat until boiling. Continue stirring until you can’t stir down the bubbles for about 1 minute.
Pour the cooked pectin into the strawberry/sugar mixture.
Stir the whole thing up well and pour it into your jars. My daughter loved helping with this part!
Put the lids on, and you’re done!
Wasn’t that easy??
Since it wasn’t heated, you can put it directly into the refrigerator. Keep it there until it’s well chilled (but less than 24 hours), then move it to the freezer.
I kept one in the refrigerator so we could eat some, and it is oh. so. delicious. It’s our new favorite jam! And the color is so pretty. Cooked jam has a dark red appearance, but freezer jam looks just like fresh strawberries.
This jam MUST be kept in the freezer for long term storage. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. This is not the same process you use for jam kept in a pantry.
You can also find these directions for strawberry freezer jam on FreshPreserving.com. I slightly altered the recipe and lowered the sugar from 4 1/2 cups to 4 cups. I think next time I’ll try 3 1/2 cups and see if it’s still just as delicious. They have lots of other canning recipes, too.