Every spring, I read blog entries about people making freezer jam, and I always want to try it myself. Last year, Rob and I picked fruit, but it quickly turned into pies and berry compotes instead. So last Sunday, we went to Sauvie Island and purchase four small containers of freshly picked strawberries, along with containers and pectin. I thought that each of the little green baskets would equal about one cup of jam.
Why am I so wrong about these things? Oh, that’s right. Because I have no idea what I’m doing.
Lots of people write about how their mother or grandmother always made jam, but mine didn’t do that. My father’s mother canned her own fruit and vegetables, but I never got to see the process. I know from friends who have amazing gardens that canning involves things like boiling, sterilizing, patience, and lots of booze while you wait. I was only willing to participate in the last step of this process, so I decided that freezer jam was the way to go.
As per the first step of all online freezer jam recipes, I cut off the top of my washed strawberries and dumped them in a bowl. I used my potato masher to crush them, which is a cheap piece of junk and now probably needs to be replaced.
This is where things started to turn into a sticky mess. Per the recipe I was using, it called for 2 cups of mashed berries to be mixed with 4 CUPS OF SUGAR. Let me show you what that looks like:
I should have put it in a bigger bowl. I should have been more careful. Instead, I managed to fling strawberry syrup on the counter, curtains, wall, and on the front of my shirt, causing Rob to think I was bleeding.
On the stove, I boiled the required 3/4 cup of water, and stirred in 3 1/2 tablespoons of pectin. I set a now-sticky timer for one minute, and when that went off, the pectin got poured into the strawberry syrup and stirred for 3 minutes.
The only problem was then pouring the jam into another container with a spout on it so that I could pour it into the little 5 oz. containers I had washed & prepped. I opted for a large glass measuring cup, but it didn’t work out so well. More jam ended up on the counter than in the containers, and the dog may have gone into hiding at the not-very-Martha-Stewart phrases coming out of my mouth. A smaller 1/2 cup measuring scoop came to the rescue though, and my first batch of jam was done! I could NOT believe one batch filled 5 little containers with jam!
After going thru this process two more times, I had 15 containers of jam, and an entire counter of sticky, sweet, red goo.
I understand that freezer jam is so easy! and so quick! for everyone who grows up with it. I’m sure other people would probably, oh, I don’t know, plan ahead and realize that they’d have to send their husband to the grocery store for sugar before starting all of this. But I don’t care, because I have a freezer full of delicious sweet jam that tastes like the syrup from the bottom of a bowl of strawberries.
The recipe that I used can be found here: Cooks.com Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe