|Bountiful Strawberry Bushes|
I love strawberries and making strawberry jam has become a spring tradition in our household. You see, Bradley has given me a few requirements, if you will, in our marriage (some I may mention at a later time), and one of them was that I must learn how to make jam; nothing store bought would cut it for him. I willingly obliged, and my mother-in-law (who I might add is an outstanding cook!) taught me how to make jam that first spring we were married.
Don't let the thought of making your own jam scare you. It really is super easy and it can be done in less than hour. Seriously. So, find a strawberry patch near you, or look for great deals on berries in your grocery store over the next few weeks, and give it a try!
Here's what you need to pick up at the store (all of this you can buy at Wal-Mart):
-Sure Jell, fruit pectin (you will find this in the aisle with the jello, or sometimes they have a special section in the kitchen supplies during the spring/summer where you can find jars and canning supplies).
-Four cups of Sugar
-2 pints of strawberries
The recipe that I'm posting can also be found inside of the box of pectin, along with several other jam recipes. I'll type it here, though, so you can see how easy it is before you go and buy your supplies.
Strawberry Freezer Jam:
1. Rinse the strawberries and remove the stems. I used the small end of a melon baller this time, but you can also use your fingers or the end of a vegetable peeler. They should look something like this when the stems are removed:
2. Place the de-stemmed berries in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. (You can also use a food processor, but you don't want to puree your fruit).
|The potato masher at work|
3. Measure exactly 2 cups of crushed strawberries, and add exactly 4 cups of sugar. Stir this to combine and let it sit for 10 minutes.
4. While the berries and sugar are sitting, grab a small saucepan. Add the bag of pectin and 3/4 cup of water. Place it on the stove and cook on high heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Once it boils, stir and cook for 1 more minute.
5. Remove it from the heat, and add it to the fruit mixture.
6. Stir together for about 3 minutes, until the sugar dissolves.
7. Pour the mixture into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top so that it can expand when it's in the freezer. (If you have a funnel, you may want to use it for this step, unless your bowl has a small sized pouring spout. I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup this time and it worked pretty well). Be sure to wipe off any stray jam that may have spilled onto the outside of the jar. You don't want sticky jars in your freezer!
8. Tightly screw the lids onto the jars and let them sit on the counter for 24 hours. Then, place them in your freezer for up to a year. When you're ready to use some, just pull it out of the freezer, let it thaw in the fridge, and enjoy.
I've been making jam now for four years and except for our most recent move, I've never had to purchase store bought strawberry jam!