Mmm, tis’ the season for strawberry pickin’! I was hoping to get this post out a few weeks ago when strawberries were truly in their growing prime, but it is still not too late, go out and go strawberry picking and enjoy the fruits of your labor (haha, no pun intended there!) by making some delicious strawberry freezer jam.
Have you ever tasted fresh jam, of any kind of fruit? If you haven’t, I’ll guarantee you that you won’t turn back to the store-bought stuff. As convenient as it is that the store has it already made for you, the store bought jam doesn’t even compare to the homemade stuff. Not to mention, this is a fun project for you and the kiddos.
We do not have kiddos yet, but we still had a great time and we will be having strawberry jam for months to come. There’s just something that bonds you and creates memories when you are crushing strawberries in your hands and then whoops, one slips out and hits the other person in the face! I promise it was an accident, honey bunny.
This is simply the directions followed off of the Sure-Jell Certo liquid fruit pectin packet, which you can find in any local grocery store. Here’s a picture of it.
Why do I use the liquid instead of the powdered version? I feel that the liquid is more user-friendly, and it blends in better. You can purchase whichever one, either way you will have yummy tasting jam. So go grab somebody in your family and get to squeezin’ those strawberries!
If you read anything before starting this recipe, READ THIS: how you wash the strawberries is critical to how they will taste in your jam.
Right before you are ready to do this jam, or ready to eat strawberries in general, this is how you get your strawberries clean without the strawberries soaking up too much water (therefore tasting watered-down and less flavorful).
**If you can, do not wash your strawberries until you are ready to eat them!
1. In a large bowl, put 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. Do I measure this out? No. I just eyeball it to be honest. Just make sure there is vinegar in that water, because that will be the solution that will guarantee your strawberries will be clean.
2. With leaves and tops still on the strawberries, pour into the solution and swish around to clean the strawberries. Why do you leave the tops on, because isn’t that where a lot of the dirt is? Yes, but strawberries soak up water like a sponge and by keeping the tops on while soaking, the water will not enter the strawberries as much. Do not be concerned about the vinegar, it does not leave a taste (we tasted right after they dried, they were delicious).
3. In a large colander, gently rinse off the strawberries and then lay on paper towel to dry. We do this in batches, or you can do it all at once, whatever tickles your pickle. We don’t really wait for the strawberries to dry, we start cutting off the tops of the strawberries at that time.
Fresh Strawberry Freezer Jam
Here’s what you’ll need:
2-3 cups of fresh picked strawberries, rinsed and tops cut off (read above directions in red for how to clean strawberries correctly)
4 cups of granulated sugar
1 box of CERTO Sure-Jell liquid pectin
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (do not use store-bought stuff for this, it will make your jam taste a little funky, trust me!)
1. A couple at a time, crush the strawberries in your hands. Get the strawberries well and crushed, leaving no big chunks if you can. (I’ve gone both ways on this and both ways failed…first, I was lazy and put the strawberries in the food processor to crush them for me, and it made the jam really runny. Second, I was lazy again and rushed through crushing the strawberries with my hands and ended up with a bunch of large chunks and little juice, making the jam super chunky and the gelatin did not latch to the strawberries well at all that way either. This is the most important step to this recipe, so take your time to crushing the strawberries. Just make sure there are little chunks and juice, and no strawberry-sized chunks if that makes sense).
2. Measure out the crushed strawberries to equal exactly 2 cups. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. Once sugar is combined well, let it sit for 10 minutes with occasional stirring.
3. Mix the recommended amount of pectin (you’ll see it on the directions inside the box) and the lemon juice in a small bowl. Add to the strawberry mixture and stir until the mixture is no longer grainy from the sugar.
4. Pour into clean mason jars, or tupperware. Let it sit on the counter for 24 hours before putting in the fridge or freezer to set. Once the 24 hours is up, you are ready to eat! Put in the freezer for a year or in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Enjoy!