One of my favorite ways to preserve food, besides making pickles, is to make jams and jellies. There’s nothing more rewarding, in wintertime, than to open a jar of jam that was made with fruits picked at the height of their ripeness during the summer. We make a lot of jam and jelly, in our house. I like to make spicy-sweet jellies with Raspberry-Jalapeno and Sweet Pepper-Habanero being two of my favorites. Every year my wife puts up numerous jars of homemade Concord grape jelly and Strawberry Freezer jam, another favorite around our house.
Everyone should have this simple jam recipe in their repertoire. It’s easy to make, almost fool-proof, doesn’t take up a lot of time, and is 100 times better than even the best store bought variety. We don’t have a fancy, involved recipe for making our freezer jam. In fact, my wife just follows the directions on the “Sure Jell” box. But because it is so easy, and so fool proof I feel that the recipe is worth sharing, in hopes that those of you out there who have never attempted to make jam or jelly will think twice and do so. Hopefully, your success with this recipe will encourage you to branch out and explore other jelly making possibilities. But hurry, peak season for strawberries is quickly coming to a close and you’ll be stuck having to buy strawberries that have been shipped hundreds, if not thousands of miles and don’t taste nearly as good as the freshly picked ones!! But even if you are stuck having to buy grocery store strawberries, making your own will still beat any store bought jam, hands down.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
adapted from the Kraft website
makes approximately 4-5 cups of freezer jam
1 qt.+ more if needed Strawberries, hulled (green stems leaves removed)
4 cups Sugar, granulated
3/4 cups Water
1-2 Tbl. Lemon juice, from fresh lemons, not the bottled stuff or the stuff that comes in the plastic lemon
1 box “Sure-Jell” pectin
Once the strawberries have been hulled, crush the strawberries, leaving some smaller, bite sized chunks in the mix. You will need 2 cups of crushed strawberries. Add sugar and allow to macerate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile wash and sanitize plastic containers, preferably ones that hold from 1 to 2 cups each. Mix together the water and pectin, in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the fruit mixture, along with the lemon juice and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until almost all of the sugar is dissolved. Fill the containers to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe any spilled jam off the rims of the containers, and top with the lid. Allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours and then either chill in the fridge or freeze for future use. The jam will last for approximately 3 weeks in the fridge and for 1 year in the freezer, but good luck having it last that long!!!