- 4 – 5 pints of fresh strawberries, washed and the caps removed (just pinch them off)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 box pectin (MCP and Ball are two reliable brands.)
- 1 cup water
- Wash the plastic freezer containers and lids in very hot water and set aside to dry.
- Mash the clean strawberries with a potato masher, leaving some nice chunks of berries. You don’t want a puree. Chunky is better. Measure out exactly 4 cups of mashed berries and set them aside.
- In the large stockpot, add the 3 cups of sugar and the one box of pectin and stir with a wire whip or slotted spoon until thoroughly combined. If you don’t mix these two ingredients thoroughly, you will get (bad) lumpy jam. Just be sure there are no noticeable chunks of powder in the pot.
- Add one cup of cold water into the pot and stir to combine. It will be a very thick slurry. Now turn on the heat to medium and stir. When the mixture gets to a boil, set a timer for one minute and stir the mixture constantly. When the timer goes off, remove the sugar/pectin/water mixture from the heat and pour in the 4 cups of mashed berries. Str for another minute until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into individual plastic containers. Let the jam sit out on the counter to set up. This could take several hours. Put on the plastic lids after the jam has cooled and set, and store your jam in the freezer.
June in the Pacific Northwest means only ONE thing to me….fresh, juicy Hood strawberries. These little gems of strawberry goodness are extremely perishable, so I convert them into freezer jam as soon as possible. Freezer jam uses significantly less sugar than regular jam and results in a jam that has a much more intense fruit taste. Plus, freezer jam is no darn easy to make, anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can make it! All you have to do is follow the instructions that come with the little square box of pectin. Time to make 6 pints? Less than 30 minutes.
The key to successful freezer jam is getting everything organized before you start. (That’s pretty good advice for any cooking adventure!) What do you need? Strawberries, sugar, pectin, a potato masher and a couple bowls, a big cooking pot, and plastic containers to stick the jam in when it’s done.
Freezer jam is not shelf stable and must be frozen or refrigerated. As such, I do not recommend glass containers because there is just too great a chance for breakage in the freezer. It is very easy to find non-BPA plastic freezer containers. I found the very cheapest prices at WinCo, but check out Big Lots and other discounters. Do not throw the containers away after you use them as they are designed to be used repeatedly.
Another quick tip: do NOT try to double the recipe. I don’t know why, but it usually fails. Save yourself much unneeded aggravation and do one batch at a time.