a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Bring on da (freezer) jam!

on June 17, 2012

This is just what you do when it rains here in the Pac NW…you carry on.

Realizing the cloudy weather wasn’t going to clear up just for us, Fred and I decided to go strawberry picking, anyway, drizzle or not. Donning our rain gear (as stated in an earlier posting, this consists of my Mary Poppins umbrella and his commando rain hat), off we went to the berry farm.

We were able to get about 11 lbs. of berries before needing to give up…not because of the weather, mind you, it’d stopped raining by then — it’s because we’re old. Bending over or crouching down like that just isn’t “old people friendly.” But we were happy enough with the berries we got, can always go back for more another time, and it was more than enough to keep me busy for the afternoon making freezer jam. Although it’s time-consuming, it’s easy peasy to make if you follow a couple of simple (but necessary) steps and it keeps for a long time (it’s kept in the freezer until you thaw what you need for a week or so…hence the name…).

I use equal parts strawberries and sugar. (I know this seems like a lot of sugar but this isn’t a salad…it’s jam. And, unless you’re eating it all in one sitting, which I suppose is possible for you serious jam lovers out there, you should be fine with the amount of sugar you get from a tablespoon of jam on your toast or on your sandwich). Some people add lemon juice, as well, but I never have and am happy with the results I’ve always gotten.

Okay, here are the steps to making freezer jam;

  • Wash the berries and take off the stems, caps, & any bad/unripe parts.
  • You can either mash them or puree them (we like chunky jam so I only use a potato masher).
  • Never make more than one batch at a time. I don’t know the scientific reason but it never seems to turn out if you do more than one at a time.
  • “One batch” consists of 4 cups of mashed berries and 4 cups white sugar.
  • In a large pan, stir the berries and sugar together and bring this mixture to a soft boil, turn it down to low to medium low and let it cook about 2 hours, stirring once in a while, until it sets. (Strawberries have very little pectin so they need a longer cooking time than most other fruits).
  • As soon as you start cooking it, put a small plate in the refrigerator to get it cold. This will be how you test the jam to see if it’s “done.”
  • After the 2 hours of cooking are up, take a small amount of jam (appx. a teaspoon) and put it on your cold plate. Let it set for a minute or two (refrigerate if it’s a warm day). Run a spoon through the middle of the jam. If it doesn’t run back together, you’re probably good to go – but you can cook it another 30 minutes just to make sure.

If it still seems too “liquidy,” you can always drain off some of the liquid (and, for heaven’s sake, don’t throw it away! Use it as ice cream topping!) but it’ll thicken as it cools so let it cool before deciding. Once it’s cooled off (another few hours…see? I told you this took a bit of time…), you can pack it into zip-top bags (double bag if they’re not specifically made for the freezer) or small freezer containers and pop them into the freezer until you need some jam (make sure to keep some out to eat right away, too).

Of course we had to make a stop at the beach on the way home (there’s something delicious about being by the sea after its rained) — Fred needed to rest after all that picking and I needed to gather my strength for my afternoon “jam-a-thon.”


2 responses to “Bring on da (freezer) jam!

  1. tamrahayden says:

    mmm sounds yummy 🙂 and I love the beach photo.. a slice of heaven indeed!

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