Sticky, Sweet, and Delicious

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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: Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe

  • Congratulations to you!! I’m so jealous that I may go out and pick something to make freezer jam with. It’s such a good, albeit, sticky feeling, isn’t it??

    • Oh you should, Rose! It does feel good to make something for yourself that you’ll eat. Plus, there’s plenty to share!

  • Ok, so this exact thing happened to me last weekend, only it was peach freezer jam instead! A countertop full of the stuff as I tried to pour it into the jars. I think I lost a whole jar’s worth of jam!

    Our dog also hid from me.

    • Haha- glad to hear I’m not alone in the swearing-while-making-jam catagory, Rebecca! Peach freezer jam sounds wonderful! How did it turn out?

      • It turned out SO well! So well that it’s nearly gone. I need to remedy that 🙂

        Thanks for stopping by my blog btw, that was super sweet of you to come by and comment!

        • Glad to hear it went well! I think I’m going to make some blueberry when they’re in season.

          And I’m always happy to find new blogs- thanks for coming here, too! 🙂

      • No prob! Oh, and the sugar-to-fruit-ratio is even higher for peaches – it was 4 1/2 cups per 2 cups of peach slurry! I couldn’t believe that much sugar could actually dissolve, but it did (with the help of the pectin).

  • That looks wonderful! The one time I tried to make freezer jam it was terrible. Good job!

  • Kristal

    Really, no jam tastes better than homemade freezer jam! Can I recommend trying Ball Instant Pectin – it’s way easier and uses far less sugar. My kids say the jam I make with it tastes like summer!

    • I thought about the Instant Pectin, but I was concerned because it needed less sugar. Good to know it tastes just fine though! Perhaps for the next batch…

  • Kathleen

    I’m so late to this post, but just had to comment. I didn’t grow up making jam either and last summer was taught. I made a complete mess the first year and learned and it is so much better now 🙂 some things that help me: prep absolutely everything before you turn the stove on. By everything I mean I line stuff up on the counter right by the stove and then I put the hot pads on the counter (for the hot jam pot), stick my ladle right next to that, put the funnel in the first jar (I make regular jam on the recipe in the pectin), stick my lids in the hot water right next to that and set the timer for 1 minute so I only have to hit it. Good luck on the rest of your jammin’ 🙂

    • A FUNNEL! That’s what I needed! Luckily, my recipe meant I didn’t have to work with hot lids and too much scalding liquid. I know that would have turned out very badly! I do need to prep everything next time though- then maybe I’ll end up wearing less of it!