Wednesday, April 15

Strawberry Jam (No Canning Required)

Strawberry Freezer Jam in 30 Minutes

My future daughter-in-law's mom Terri recently made a batch of strawberry jam and I can't wait for our berries to get ripe in our region! Strawberries are ripe here in central Ohio around the first week in June.  I originally posted a recipe on here when I first started my blog but thought it time I updated the recipe!

I started making Strawberry Freezer Jam in the early 1990’s  and now my kids will not eat (or even like) commercially produced jam. Every year we go to a “Pick Your Own” farm to pick the strawberries fresh. 

When choosing strawberries, home grown or farm fresh strawberries produce the best jam.  Store purchased lack the intense sweet strawberry flavor. 

I have taken photos every year of us, me and my kids in the strawberry patch picking berries.  My kids are all grown now, so the photos are like a time lapse.  A bitter sweet thing for me to look at, which sometimes brings me to tears and causes me to long for the days when they were still little.  I told them recently that I hope they take their children and their grandchildren berry picking long after I’m gone.

I have made cooked strawberry jam and it’s great for shelf life but there is just no comparison with Strawberry Freezer Jam for flavor. 
Here is the recipe for the best fresh from the patch strawberry jam.  It’s quick and easy and requires no canning.  I use glass jars for storage but plastic containers will work to.

I "heart" strawberries

When using pectin it’s best to buy the brand name or better quality product for more consistent results.  I have had equal amounts of good and poor results with store or off brands so now I just stick to Sure Jell.  See the difference between Sure-Jell and Clear-Jel below.

It is best NOT to double this recipe.  If you want to make more Strawberry Jam, start from the beginning and re-measure another batch.  Trying to double this recipe could and does result in the pectin not setting the fruit correctly.

Fresh picked strawberries.  

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Gather The Ingredients!
2 cups crushed strawberries (about 1 quart fully ripe strawberries)
4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup water
Wash the strawberries before starting

Make It!
Clean and sterilize jars or containers. 
Clean strawberries, remove any blemishes or bad spots and discard stems.
All my stems and pieces go to the pasture for the animals, they just adore strawberries!
Cut berries in half or into quarters.  Crush strawberries, 1 cup at a time with a potato masher or similar tool. (I always leave chunks of berries).

Halve or quarter berries to make them easier to smash

Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Try to get all berries and not much juice. Add sugar and mix well. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add sugar to smash strawberries and let sit for 10 minutes 

Meanwhile mix water and pectin in a small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 minute.
Quickly add hot pectin to fruit mixture; stirring for 3 minutes or until most of the sugar is dissolved. (A few sugar crystals may remain, but that’s OK.)
Fill each container immediately to within 1/2 inch of top. Wipe off jar edge or top edge of container and cover with a lid.
Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Transfer to the freezer for storage.  Thaw in refrigerator before using.

If you have extra strawberries, they freeze really well.  I always freeze a gallon size bag of strawberries to add to salads, desserts or ice cream during the winter months. 

This jam is so good it's good on everything.  Try it with or on one of these:

  • On Cheesecake
  • With Sponge Cake
  • On Ice Cream
  • In Smoothies or Milkshakes
  • In Yogurt
  • On Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich (best ever)
  • On Hot Buttered Biscuit or Toast
  • As a Topping for Roast or Glaze for Chicken
  • In Strawberry Cake
  • Mix into Icing
  • Filling for Crepes
  • Topping for Pancakes and Waffles
  • Use as Dip for Cheese Tray
  • Add to Vinaigrette
  • Stir into Oatmeal 

Whew, this list could be endless!

How to Measure Sugar Precisely:
To get exact level cup measure of sugar, spoon sugar into dry metal or plastic measuring cup, then level by scraping excess sugar from top of cup with a straight-edged butter knife.

What is Pectin?
"Pectin is a natural carbohydrate that is extracted from the inner peel of many fruits; it is most commonly extracted from apples, lemons, as well as limes, oranges and grapefruits. The peels are washed, ground and processed to extract the pectin. The pectin is then refined, vacuum-dried and ground." It is used to set jams and jellies but will not work as a thickener.  See Clear-Jel below.

What is Clear Jel:  Is different than pectin (Sure-Jel) and is used to thicken pie fillings or soups, but not so much in jams and jellies. It is a modified corn starch (derivative of corn) made to withstand the heat of canning.  Use it just like you would flour or cornstarch to thicken pies or soups.

Summer is right around the corner and with it comes backyard barbecues, bees buzzing around the flower garden and many fresh fruits and vegetables.  I can hardly wait.


My three daughters strawberry picking, about 2005 or 2006 maybe

Other Posts:

Strawberry picking in the early 1990's
My son is on far left, (now 23) my daughter in the green shirt (now 26)
and my mother Elinor is on the far right.

With my daughter (right) and son's girlfriend, (left) June 2014


Anonymous said...

I love strawberries! Awesome post.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Oh me too! I have even been putting them in my salad