Friday, August 31, 2012

Strawberry Jam Paranoia

My husband has jam paranoia of the strawberry kind.  Homemade.  Strawberry.  Freezer jam.

He is absolutely certain that we will run out of jam before the strawberries come back in season in the spring.   Maybe you aren't familiar with this disorder.  If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor or the produce manager at your local grocery store immediately:
*Every time you go to the freezer to get a jar of jam, you have a little panic attack and exclaim "Oh no--we are running out of jam!"  Even when there are twenty plus jars remaining in said freezer.

*Every time your wife comes home from the grocery store, you ask if she bought strawberries to make freezer jam.

*You sneak multiple cartons of strawberries into the grocery cart whenever you go to the store with your wife.

*You mentally tally how many containers of jam are being used each and every week.  It's basically the only math you feel confident doing.

*You resent your children for using your precious strawberry jam on their sandwiches.  Jam on waffles and pancakes puts you right over the edge!

*You hate starting a new school year, because that means more family PBJ sandwich consumption.

*You try to coerce dinner guests into using the raspberry jam on their hot bread and rolls.  You leave the strawberry jam hidden in the dark corners of the refrigerator for safety.

To relieve my husband's jam anxiety, I made strawberry jam this week.  Three batches.  Eighteen cute little containers.  Add that to the twenty plus containers we already have in the freezer and I think we will be OK until strawberries come back into the markets in February/March.

Have you made freezer jam before?  It doesn't have to be strawberry jam.  You can use raspberries or blackberries or whatever (although the recipe may vary slightly.  Typically there are recipe suggestions inserted into the pectin box).  You really need to make some jam.  Like now!  I won't lie to's one of the easiest things you will ever do.

You need strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and pectin.  I like to use liquid pectin.  You can usually find it in the grocery store aisle next to the canning jars and lids.

  • Smash up your berries.  Do not chop...the smashing is really important.  You want to release all of those lovely strawberry juices.  I usually use my potato masher and it works like a charm.   Smash up enough berries to make two cups.  
  • Pour your berry mash into a big bowl.  
  • Add four cups of sugar.  I know it sounds like a lot, but just trust me.  Stir the berry sugar mixture until the sugar is incorporated.  Then you need to let it sit for about ten minutes. 
  • Now, open your liquid pectin package and squeeze it into a small bowl.  Add two tablespoons of lemon juice to the pectin and stir.
  • Add the pectin mixture to your big bowl of sugary berry mash and stir.  Stir man stir!  You have to stir for about three minutes.  The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will thicken.
  • That's it!  Scoop the delicious jam into freezer safe containers.  I like to use these Ziploc containers.  They hold one cup of jam and they stack nicely in my freezer door.
  • Now you need to set all of your cute little jam containers on the counter and let them sit for twenty-four hours.  This allows the sugar to dissolve completely and the jam to set-up nicely.  When your time is up, stack them in your freezer.  Remove a container at a time and store it in the refrigerator to be used as needed.  

I told you it was easy.  No cooking.  No boiling.  No thermometers or crazy pressure cookers.  Just a bowl and a spoon. 

My husband's symptoms have temporarily subsided.  But now I am not feeling so good.  I think I have freezer space paranoia. 

1 comment:

  1. Strawberry jam must be on everyones mind. We made it for youth Wednesday night and mom made some today. So easy and so yummy. The big bags of frozen strawberries at Sams Club make it really easy. Julie T


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