Last week I made it over to Hammer's to get some strawberries. Every Spring a local grower, Scott's Farms, sells them out of a ramshackle little booth in the parking lot. It's neat, they pick the night before or first thing in the morning, then set up and sell until they run out. I had already been put to Hammer's twice the week before, first getting there too early, and then after they had sold out for the day. They sell out fast! They set up every day (except Sunday), until they stop harvesting.
I got my berries, and oh my were they pretty! I got three quarts, one for munching (oh, how my Ian loves his strawberries), and 2 for making some freezer jam.
My mom has made freezer jam for years, but I'd never tried it. Why not? I love me some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and hopefully Ian will, too. It's incredibly easy to make - no cooking required - and stays good in the fridge for 3 weeks, and in the freezer for a year.
Here was our adventure.
Wash and destem your berries, then chop them into smaller pieces.
Realize about 5 berries in that your bamboo cutting board will never, ever be the same color again.
Next, use a potato masher to smoosh the berries into a pulp. Be sure to leave little chunks because that's the best part of a PB and J. Also, get a little excited that you now have found another use for your potato masher.
Next, slowly add 4 cups of granulated sugar to your pulverized berries. Double and triple check the recipe to verify that yes, indeed, you will be adding FOUR CUPS OF SUGAR. Hmm, so that's why your mom's PB and J's were always so good. Also, be sure to measure out your sugar EXACTLY, because the recipe says your jam will be a major fail/disgrace if you don't measure it out EXACTLY.
Let this sugar/berry mixture sit for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, prepare your Sure Jell pectin according to the directions. Don't be scared, it only involves mixing the pectin powder with 3/4 cup of water and bringing it to a boil for 1 minute.
Next slowly add prepared pectin to sugar/berry mixture and stir for 3 minutes.
Allow baby, who is tugging on your pant legs, fussing, and sticking his lower lip out in a pitiful manner, to help you stir.
Finally, pour jam into clean jars, and allow to sit 24 hours at room temperature before putting in the fridge or freezer.
One quart will yield 6 eight ounce jars.
And you can make all sorts of other freezer jams - Peach! Blackberry!
I need a bigger freezer.