While back home for Thanksgiving break I got to cook in real kitchens, Gasp! I know! I didn’t even know what to do with myself when I had all that extra room. Rummaging around in my moms freezer I saw that she had some random berries that looked like they had been forgotten. So, when she said she needed to buy jam I said, why not make it? She protested weakly but telling her I would be doing the work was enough to convince her. My mom prefers freezer jam so that’s the method you will find used here.
It really is very simple. The pectin you buy should have complete directions for the fruit you are using and if you want jam or jelly. We were using strawberries and a low sugar pectin. I was really glad I grabbed the low sugar pectin since it still needed an ungodly amount of sugar to gel properly.
I had never made freezer jam before, I normally use a long cooked, low sugar, no added pectin method. The freezer jam method was very easy, the only stressful part was waiting for it to set up enough to go in the freezer.
How to Make Strawberry Freezer Jam:
Smash your berries, frozen or fresh is fine.
Make sure they are fully thawed before proceeding.
Now, measure your sugar into a sauce pan that can hold at least three times the volume of sugar added. That way you are less likely to have a boil over disaster.
Then add your pectin and stir the two together well.
Add your water, stir until things are dissolving well and turn the heat on mediumish.
You need to stay right there and stir it or horrible, bad things happen, like I don’t know, giant stuck down messes!
Hold it at a boil for a minute or so then stir the mixture, quickly, straight into your mashed fruit.
Now you patiently, in a minor state of terror, wait for it to set up. My mom was satisfied with how thick it was in about three hours, we portioned it into freezer containers after about and hour and a half, just when it was starting to set up.
I wonder if it might have been better to do that right away, but since we were using plastic ( even if it was BPA free) I really didn’t want the heat to draw anything nasty into the jam. If I do it again for her, I will plan ahead and get freezer safe glass jars.
Of course, we had to taste it! We had it on toasty, buttery English muffins with a nice cup of tea. It had lovely flavor but there was sooo much sugar it was sickeningly sweet, and remember, we used low sugar pectin. I don’t even want to imagine how sweet the regular would have been!
I know there are a lot of people who love freezer jam but I make cooked jam without adding pectin and I can it, because:
I don’t have to buy pectin
Have you looked at the ingredient list on a box of pectin? I’m not even sure what everything in it is or does. Of course, buying pectin instead of jam is still going to be markedly better in the long run.
Pectin costs money! I want to cut costs any way I can so if I can make jam and spend less I’m going to be a happy camper.
It uses significantly less sugar
Sugar costs money too! Plus, refined carbs, like sugar, are super addictive and generally speaking unhealthy.
It frees up valuable freezer space
Keeping things in the freezer costs you in power so trying to limit what you freeze can save you money. Our freezer is often bursting at the seams so we are always looking for other ways to preserve food.
The jam is shelf stable until you open it!
You also don’t have to worry about thawing it before using it, and it’s one less thing to worry about if you loose a freezer.
You will see what I make called “preserves”, I just call it jam, no reason to make a fuss. The next post will be for my long cooked, no added pectin jam. Keep your eyes peeled!