A retired librarian, Virginia devotes herself to writing, genealogy, photography, cooking, and many other interests.
No Special Canning Equipment Needed!
If the idea of making your own strawberry freezer jam conjures up images of hours of hard, hot, labor-intensive work, you're not alone. But it actually only takes about half an hour, and it's the best half hour you'll ever spend.
Maybe you remember your mother or grandmother making jam all summer long. They'd drag out their big canning kettle and start boiling water. Then they'd drag out boxes of jars and rubber seals and lids and start sterilizing everything. Next they'd grab another big kettle and start cleaning and mashing strawberries and stirring in sugar.
Then the hard part—standing over that kettle for hours at a time, stirring that hot, steaming mixture until it reached just the right temperature. Pouring that boiling hot mixture into those tiny little jars and screwing on the seals and lids, all the while trying not to burn their hands.
By the time they got done the kitchen was like a sauna and they had about eight jars of jam to show for their hours of hot, sweaty labor.
Thank goodness you don't have to do any of that to make this freezer jam recipe. And because you're not doing all that bubbling and boiling, freezer jam actually tastes better. It tastes just like ripe, juicy fresh strawberries!
Choose firm, fresh berries with lots of color. If you're buying them at the grocery store make sure you check the bottom of the package, too. That's where all the yucky berries hang out.
I've been using the following recipe for hundreds of years and it's guaranteed to work every time—as long as you follow it exactly. Don't mess with the proportions, especially the sugar.
If you're going to be storing your jam in the refrigerator you can use any type of container you want, including glass canning jars. The beauty of freezer jam is that it doesn't require an airtight vacuum seal like the old-style cook-and-can recipes. So if you have some pretty jam jars, feel free to use them.
However, if you're going to be stocking up your freezer for the year, like I do, then you'll want to use plastic containers. The glass jars are fine and they'll work. I just don't like to store glass in my freezer around all that other food.
- 2 cups strawberries, cleaned and crushed
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 box Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
- 3/4 cup water
- Rinse the strawberries and pat dry.
- Remove the stems and hulls from the berries. Crush the berries with a potato masher.
- In a large non-metal mixing bowl, combine the strawberries and sugar and mix well. Allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow juices to develop.
- In a small saucepan, combine the Sure Jell Fruit Pectin and 3/4 cup water.
- Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute; then remove from heat.
- Immediately stir the pectin mixture into the strawberry mixture.
- Continue stirring for approximately 3 minutes, until all of the sugar is dissolved. If you have a few crystals left, that's fine.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared 8-ounce containers. Fill to approximately 1/2 inch from the top.
- Immediately place the lids on top of the containers and seal.
- Allow the jam to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.
Why I Love Sure Jell Pectin
Sure Jell Fruit Pectin has been around since Hector was a pup. I remember my mom and my grandma using this hundreds of years ago!
I can jams, jellies, and preserves all year long, and I've used dozens of different recipes. I've also tried other brands of pectin—but I always get the best results from Sure Jell.
Honestly, if you want to guarantee the success of this freezer jam recipe, I wouldn't use anything other than this brand.
My Favorite Plastic Containers
As I said, I prefer using plastic freezer containers over glass. And I like these because they're reusable. You can use them when you make your next batch of freezer jam or you can use them to store other foods, buttons, crayons . . . well, you get the idea.
Enjoy Strawberry Season!
Where I live the farmers are already planning their strawberry festival, so it's time to get ready to stock up the freezer with strawberry jam. If you don't live in an area where you can pick up fresh berries at a farmer's market or farm stand, then keep an eye out at your local grocery store in the summer season.
© 2012 Virginia Allain