Canning and Preserving: July 2008 Archives

As the first strawberries of summer arrived this year, people who discover I now live on Bainbridge Island keep telling me that the island has the best strawberries in the Pacific Northwest. I've had great strawberries all over the country, but after sampling the local berries here on the island, I'm convinced these are the best berries I've ever eaten. I'm surprised more Seattle restaurants aren't demanding them. Many of berries are this deep almost blood red color all the way through to the core and they almost melt in your mouth as you eat them. Pity you can only get them for a few weeks each year.

Strawberries and Freezer Jam

Making strawberry freezer jam is one of the best ways to preserve real strawberry flavor, allowing you to enjoy a wonderful summer flavor in the middle of winter. When you make freezer jam, be sure to use a no-cook freezer jam recipe like the one below, because cooking the berries breaks down some of that fresh sweet flavor you expect from homegrown strawberries. This is also a great project for kids of almost any age.

I decided to try Simple Creations No Cook Freezer Jam Pectin rather than Sure Jell, because it required considerably less sugar to activate the pectin, I think seeing Robin spooning the jam out of a jar the next day suggested I found a winner. The recipe is straight from the back of the package, with some minor procedural changes.

Ingredients

  1. 4 pints whole fresh strawberries
  2. 1 packet of Simple Creations No Cook Freezer Jam Pectin
  3. 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  4. Start by halving all the strawberries into a large bowl.
  5. Sliced Strawberries
  6. Crush the strawberries with a potato masher or similar flat utensil.
  7. Smashing Berries for Freezer Jam
  8. In a second smaller bowl, combine the pectin and sugar so they are evenly mixed.
  9. Pour the sugar mixture over your crushed strawberries, stirring it in as you pour. Continue stirring for about 3 minutes to make sure sugar and pectin are distributed evenly.
  10. Stirring in Pectin
  11. Ladle jam into clean jars leaving room at the top of each for the mixture to expand when it freezes. Having a funnel on hand at this stage is helpful in reducing mess (even for adults).
  12. Filling Freezer Jam Jars
  13. Screw lids on and let stand on counter for 30 minutes - 1 hour until the jam firms up. Place in your freezer for up to a year.

Yield: approximately 5 8oz jars or slightly less than 3 pint jars.

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