Ahhhh, fresh berries. They’re my favorite part of summer because I get to make my incredibly yummy freezer jam recipe. I love to be in the middle of a field of berries, listening to the birds chatter, popping warm luscious berries in my mouth, just letting my mind wander. It’s a sensory delight; taste, touch, smell. It’s all good (except maybe the thorns!).
It’s when I get the berries home that the real work begins. Jam is usually first on my list. On a cold day in December nothing quite hits the spot like homemade bread, fresh out of the oven, piled high with homemade jam.
For years I made cooked jam, slaving over a hot stove in an oven of a house, so that I could give it away as gifts. After many years I realized that cooked jam was a whole lot more work than freezer jam. I also realized that I preferred the taste of freezer jam. The berries weren’t cooked. They were fresh and bright in color. The taste was reticent of an actual berry instead of a mushed up, cooked to extinction berry-like creature.
My major problem with most jam is that it is loaded with sugar. And I’m here to tell you that it just doesn’t have to be. I mean, we eat and enjoy fresh berries, right? They don’t generally need sugar to taste good, they’re good on their own.
And yes, I tried the pectin box that allowed the jam to be made with alternative sweeteners or juice. Still, it just didn’t turn out to my liking. It left the berries with a dull lifeless flavor. I wanted to taste SUMMER in a jar. Is that asking too much?
Finally I found this pectin, Ball Instant Fruit Pectin and it’s now the only one I use. It’s relatively low in sugar, you can use alternate sweeteners if you like (which I haven’t tried, because it’s hard to get the consistency with alternative sweeteners and I refuse to feed my family chemicals, ahem, I mean artificial sweeteners) and it’s super easy. I mean seriously EASY.
Here are the steps for strawberry freezer jam. (You can use whatever kind of fruit you want.)
Wash berries. Even if you use organic strawberries, wash them. They grow low to the ground and are FILTHY!
Hull strawberries and cut into small pieces
Crush strawberries– I use my potato masher
In a separate bowl mix pectin with sugar (preferably organic)
Add strawberries to pectin and stir for 3 minutes
Ladle strawberry mixture into sterilized GLASS jars. Please, please, I am begging you, Do not use plastic containers to store your jam in. Plastic leaches, especially when it comes into contact with anything acidic, and you don’t want to feed your family toast with plastiscines (we’re going for toast with jam). Use straight sided glass jars (even old peanut butter jars with their original lid work great!) so they don’t swell and burst in the freezer.
You can store in the fridge if you’ll be using the jam right away, or, store in the freezer for up to a year.
Note to all you cooked jam fanatics: I will be expecting a thank you note in the comment area below after you have whipped up a batch of this delectable toast topper without breaking a sweat. 😉