|Freezer Strawberry Jam|
I've had many a jam session with fellow musicians over the years. But while I was visiting Jessica, we had our own "jam session." We made a batch of jam using some of the strawberries I took her. (The U-pick strawberry farm is a neighbor to our farm.)
I really hate to admit that after all the years I worked as a home economist, answering questions of all sorts about food preservation, I had never actually made jam myself. We thought we would make the regular kind of jam, but after a survey of her kitchen equipment, we changed plans and made freezer jam instead. No big pot for a water bath needed!
We wondered if you could even buy canning jars in the city. But when we bought the last case at the store, we figured that everyone in Atlanta must be making jam.
We discovered that freezer jam is a brighter red than traditional jam because the fruit isn't cooked. We had to sample the jam before the standing time was complete. Our finished jam is still a little soft, but it's so delicious. It was perfect with the toast made from bread bought at the farmers market.
FREEZER STRAWBERRY JAM
4 cups (1 quart) strawberries, cut in half
4 cups sugar
3/4 cups water
1 package (1-3/4 oz) powdered fruit pectin, like Sure-Jell
Mash strawberries with potato masher or in food processor until slightly chunky (not pureed)
to make 2 cups crushed strawberries.
Mix strawberries and sugar in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature
at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mix water and pectin in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Pour hot pectin mixture over strawberry mixture; stir constantly 3 minutes
Immediately spoon mixture into freezer containers (we used wide-mouth canning jars,)
leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims of containers; seal. Let stand at room temperature,
about 24 hours or until set.
Store in freezer up to 6 months or in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Thaw frozen jam and stir before serving.
This is a great first jam recipe. It takes only about 30 minutes to make it. We got 5 half-pint jars of jam, plus a smaller amount for sampling.
A few things I think might have helped:
Have the strawberries at room temp before starting. Ours had been in the refrigerator and it was harder for the sugar to dissolve.
I wish I had left bigger pieces in the mashed berries. It said "slightly chunky" but that is subject to interpretation. I think I was close to having strawberry jelly!
Add the pectin to the water gradually, stirring as you pour it in to help it dissolve easily.
Stir the sugar/strawberry mix until the sugar has dissolved (or nearly dissolved) before stirring in the hot pectin. You can stir longer than three minutes after adding the pectin, if necessary.
I brought a jar to Mommy's house. She had it for breakfast this morning and said, "It's thumbs up for the jam!" I will make this again for sure. I want to see if following my "might have helped" ideas make much difference in the end result. Just remember, that because the recipe is really only strawberries and sugar, that it will be completely edible and totally delicious any way it turns out.