Monday, October 3, 2011

berry good freezer jam


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My Mom has always been a very organized housekeeper. Living with five kids and a husband, she followed a regimented schedule. Dinner went on the table at 5:30 sharp. My Dad walked in the door at 5:20. There were laundry days, vacuuming days, lawn watering days, floor scrubbing days... you get the idea. Some chores only came around a couple times a year.

Preserving day was the day my Mom made a giant mess in her kitchen. Oodles of brightly colored berries were hauled into the house, washed and placed in a big metal cone that was covered with small holes. A chinois? She griped a permanently stained wooden tool to churn the berries. Red juice flowed like a fountain, leaving behind only unwanted seeds. I wish I had this tool now. It could be great for making tomato sauce.

Even though the methods and tools may have simplified over the years, I don’t have the time or patience. With all the safety regulations around home canning, I fear poisoning someone.

Here in Oregon, we have some of the sweetest strawberries in the world. If you picked some of these beauties back in June, and stowed them away in your freezer, the cold rainy days of fall are a perfect time to produce some freezer jam.

If you don’t have fresh frozen berries, it’s not too late to visit a local farm. Many have a variety of frozen berries available for purchase during their fall harvest festivities.


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Strawberry Freezer Jam
Makes 6-7 eight-ounce jars
PRINTABLE RECIPE

Ingredients

1 package Pamona’s Universal Pectin
4 cups crushed fresh strawberries
2 cups sugar or 1 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice (optional)
3/4 cup water
3 teaspoons pectin powder (this will be in the Pamona’s pectin box)
4-10 teaspoons of calcium water (the calcium powder is also in the Pamona’s box.)

Directions

Make the calcium water. Put 1/2 teaspoon of calcium powder and 1/2 cup of water in a small container with a lid. Shake well before using. This can be stored in the refrigerator between uses and will last a couple months.

Remove stems from berries and rinse with cold water. Crush berries with a potato masher (or puree in a food processor if you like fewer solids).

Add the sweetener of your choice to the crushed berries.

Boil 3/4 cup of water and pour it into a food processor or blender. Add 3 teaspoons of the pectin powder. Mix for 1-2 minutes or until all the powder has dissolved. Add this hot mixture to the fruit and mix well.

Add 4 teaspoons of the premixed calcium water into the fruit mixture. Continue to add more calcium water a teaspoon at a time, just until it begins to jell. Mine jelled with 5 teaspoons.

Pour the jam into 8-ounce jars or containers. Make sure to leave 1/2" at the top for expansion that occurs in the freezing process. Cover the jars and place them in the freezer.

When removed from the freezer, partially used jam can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

NOTE: You can substitute sugar/honey with the sweetener of your choice. Some options are: a concentrated fruit juice; stevia; or splenda. Pamona’s Pectin contains only pure citrus pectin and it works well with whatever sweetener you choose. Experiment with various amounts of sweeteners to suit your taste.

Pat yourself on the back for not buying jam with chemicals added. Then go get yourself a freshly baked loaf of rustic bread, coat it with unsalted butter and spoon on a generous helping of scrumptilicious homemade jam.

Mmmmmm... lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’ good!

8 comments:

happygirl said...

Strawberries are well over here in the mid Atlantic. Yours look delicious.

Cindy said...

Good morning HappyGirl! I never seem to have time to make jam in the same week I purchase fresh berries. So I wash them, lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze and transfer them to freezer bags. I did notice freezers full of fresh frozen berries of all kinds at local farms last weekend. You may still be able to snag some?

Have a good day!

Jemm said...

Yum! I like the "idea" of making jam, but have never tried it. It seems like SO much work :)

Amish Stories said...

I thought id stop by your blog and say hello. And i hope your enjoying the beautiful fall weather that has begun. Richard from Amish Stories.

Delwyn said...

These are beautiful pictures Cindy. Last week at the market the large trays of strawberries were 3 for $6! so I bought extra and froze them for making smoothies.

thanks for re-acquainting yourself...
happy days

Cindy said...

Jemm, Freezer jam is really not much work, but so nice to have in the dead of winter. Try it, I think you'll be hooked.

Cindy said...

Hi Richard, I'm so glad you stopped by! The sun is shining here and I'm looking forward to finding some free time to get out and see some beautiful fall colors.

Cindy said...

Hi Delwyn, It's nice to see you back in the blogging world again. Who's the darling little bundle in your arms?