I thought I’d show you how to make strawberry freezer jam today. Homemade jam is so worth the extra work, and it’s actually pretty easy.
I made strawberry freezer jam last week for the first time since 2008. I had a baby in May 2009 and the Fog of Motherhood was thick — very thick — for a couple years. Especially because he didn’t decide to sleep through the night until he was almost two. But this spring the fog lifted a bit as the snow melted and the sun came out. So into my kitchen I went.
Making jam is one of those old-fashioned homemaking activities that seems lovely and romantic when you imagine yourself doing it while wearing a cute apron.
I started out with 15 quarts of strawberries.
Note the artful cropping to hide how messy my fridge is.
We picked three quarts. Come on, you didn’t think I actually spent hours in the hot sun searching for strawberries did you? Nope. We stayed at the strawberry farm just long enough for the boys to have The Experience. Then I bought 8 quarts at a fruit stand. My in-laws gave me four more.
First you need to wash your strawberries.
Next remove the stems, and cut off any bad spots. David helped me with this, and I have to say he actually was helpful. This is the most tedious part of jam making. David’s motive for helping me? Getting to wield a sharp knife.
Oh, yes. Strawberry jam-making is dangerous work that requires wearing of a hard hat.
Then you crush the berries. I find that a potato masher works well.
Next get the instructions out of the box of pectin you bought at the grocery store. It may vary depending on what kind of pectin you use. My Sure Jell instructions called for me to measure out 2 cups of mashed berries, add four cups of sugar and let it sit for 10 minutes.
I used powdered pectin, so when the 10 minutes was up I heated a 3/4 cup of water with the pectin on the stove.
Then I stirred the pectin into the strawberry mixture for three minutes.
I poured the jam into jars, let it set up for 24 hours on the counter, then put it in the freezer.
If you’re going to eat the jam right away you can put it in the fridge. For long term storage it goes in the freezer.
By the way, you need to make sure your jars are very clean. Also check that the number of jars you have is equal to the number of rings and lids you have. It’s a problem if you get half way through and can’t find enough lids. I know from experience.
An important note about making jam: You can only work in small batches. You might think, “I have all these berries and all this pectin, so I’m going to make one big batch.” Oh, no! It doesn’t work that way. Your measurements need to be pretty exact or your jam turns out more like sauce. (Which can be salvaged as ice cream topping.) Working in several small batches keeps measurements more accurate. That’s the other tedious part.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, it’s also messy. All that sugar and juice goes everywhere. Especially if your six year old helps.
What? You didn’t actually think I made my own bread did you?