June 10, 2010

Today was completely rain free and I was loving it. However...yesterday...it rained all day long! It was a perfect day to make freezer jam from fresh locally grown strawberries.

I purchased three containers of strawberries at $4.00 a double pint. I have been saving empty peanut butter jars and salsa jars for months, so I was definitely prepared.

My friend Becky taught me that one. The first time I made freezer jam was at her house. She brought out this mixture of saved jars for our jam. I didn't know you could do that. I guess it seems obvious now, but I always thought you had to use those nice perfect canning jars. But, since you are freezing the jam, you don't have to have the canning lids that need to be sucked down when sealed. That's the one thing I love about making freezer jam, I don't have to worry about sterilizing the jars and making sure everything you use is sterile. This is just way more relaxing!

My jars of jam were looking a little plain, so I decided to get out my quilting fabric and find some great vintage-looking pieces. This makes me think of Little House on The Prairie. I can just see these jars of jam for sale at Mrs. Olson's store!

I had my first taste of my strawberry jam this afternoon! Oh my goodness!! It was absolutely delicious!! I toasted a slice of Italian bread...smeared it with lots of butter... and added a heaping spoonful of strawberry jam! It was pure heaven! The taste of the fresh strawberries really shines through! There is no comparing homemade jam to store bought jam. Homemade is just a thousand times better!

If you would like to try your hand at making strawberry freezer jam, you can follow this recipe below....or you can buy a box of SURE JEL and follow the directions inside the box for FREEZER JAM. It is the exact recipe I used. You will need 1 box of SURE JEL per recipe. One recipe uses 2 pints strawberries.

Recipe for strawberry freezer jam
In a large mixing bowl, crush 2 pints strawberries with a potato masher. This will yield approx. 2 cups crushed berries. Add 4 cups granulated sugar to berries and stir. Leave mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

Empty 1 box SURE JEL into a small pot. Add 3/4 cup water to pot. Mix over med. high heat until boiling. Once boiling, set your timer and continue to boil and stir for exactly 1 minute. After 1 minute, immediately remove from heat and pour into berries. Stir into the berries for 3 minutes.

Using a canning funnel and a ladle, immediately ladle jam into jars leaving 1/2 inch space at top of jar allowing for expansion during freezing. Fasten lid on jars and leave to sit on counter top at room temperature for 24 hours to allow time to set. After 24 hours, freeze jars of jam. Or, you can refrigerate jam for up to 3 weeks. Only put in your fridge what you plan to eat within that time.