I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had to learn how to make strawberry freezer jam. I’ve been even more fortunate in that I never even tasted store-bought jam until I was practically an adult.
As a result, I’m spoiled. Spoiled rotten. I turn up my nose at Smucker’s, and even those fancy top-shelf brand jams can’t satisfy.
I never had to learn how to make strawberry freezer jam because every year I saw my mom make it right in front of me. Sis and I got drafted to help pick strawberries in our grandparents’ strawberry patch. I recall crouching low, pushing through the leaves, and searching for the elusive strawberries Grandma insisted were still there even though we were sure we’d gotten them all.
Nowadays we buy our strawberries already picked from local growers. Rhode’s Strawberries, run by “Captain Bob” Rhode of Chesaning Showboat fame, is always our first choice. Most area growers this year, though, complained of small harvests and we wound up going about 35 miles away to find reasonably-priced berries.
let’s make strawberry freezer jam!
Making strawberry freezer jam is a snap because there’s no special recipe. In fact, deviation from the standard recipe is frowned upon because it will likely result in failure of the jam to set up properly. Just clean one quart of strawberries per batch of freezer jam. Have one package of Sure-Jell or other pectin on hand for each batch. Then chop up those berries. You could briefly, carefully whirl them in a food processor, or use a potato masher, but I find the chopper to be my favorite.
Oops, you can’t really see the chopper in that pic. Here’s a better one! See, it’s like a biscuit cutter, but darksided.
Add the sugar to the chopped strawberries. I’ve got a double batch going in this picture; that’s why there’s so honkin’ much. You can totally double batch it, but don’t even think of triple or more batches at a time. That’s crazy talk.
At this point in the process, if you’re gonna be snapping pictures, you’d better have someone else around, because the stirring and the pouring and the stirring again and the zomg fill the jars before jam sets madness is going on and things are, if not exactly hectic, then not quite “Let’s stop and compose an artsy photo” conducive.
See, for the above, after the
lime went in the coconut sugar went in the strawberries, the water went into the pectin, the pectin-water went into the strawberry-sugar, and the pectin-water-strawberry-sugar went into the adorable little jars. And all pretty quickly too, because if you lollygag, the jam will set up before you get it into the jars, which isn’t a tragedy but is a bit messy.
The strawberry freezer jam recipe is in every package of Sure-Jell, and I’m including it below as well, with tips and commentary Kraft simply does not offer. Oo la la.
strawberry freezer jam recipe
Every time I’ve made strawberry freezer jam, and every time anyone I know has made it, I’ve gotten more jam than the recipe predicts (5). I always wind up with 6 cups or 6½ cups. So be prepared with extra clean jars/containers. In fact, that’s always a good idea when canning or preserving. You don’t want to stop in the middle of something time-sensitive to wash jars.
yield: 5–6 cups
special equipment: chopper or food processor; funnel
time: 60 to 90 minutes, plus 24 hours
1 quart strawberries
4 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup water
1 box Sure-Jell fruit pectin
Wash 6 cups’ worth of containers and lids in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.
Hull and wash strawberries. Chop strawberries until they’re soupy and contain chunks in the size you desire.
Stir in the sugar. It won’t all dissolve right away. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. While waiting, set out jars/containers where you plan to fill them, and get a ladle and a funnel ready if you have one.
In a small saucepan, mix water and pectin and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir constantly. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly and watching to be sure it does not boil over.
Remove pectin from heat and add to the strawberry-sugar mixture. Stir for 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. The sugar may not be entirely dissolved, but 3 minutes is all you need to stir, or less if the sugar dissolves quickly.
Immediately fill containers, ladling the hot jam through the funnel if you have one, leaving ½ inch head space to allow room for expansion in the freezer.
Cover containers with their lids and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Then the strawberry freezer jam is all ready to go into the freezer.