Mark one off of the Summer Fun List 2013 -- the one that I made with our preschooler, not my get-stuff-done-around-the-house fun list. Today we went strawberry picking with our good friends, and wow! the strawberries are AWESOME!
The two of us picked nearly 7 lbs of berries, and G ate quite a few of his on the way home. We have so many and I know I want to try Strawberry Shortcake Scones, but I also have a weak spot for good homemade strawberry jam. Now, it is not secret in my house that I hate water bath canning -- too much hot water, stress, and time pressure, and then you never can be sure your food won't spoil and kill you. Hello, botulism! We bought a chest freezer some years ago, and it is one of my favorite large appliances.
Why Can when you can Freeze? I freeze everything from casseroles to cakes to apple and pear sauce to sliced zucchini fresh from the garden. I have never made freezer jam before and today seemed like good day to try. Last year I bought several packets of Ball RealFruit Pectin for use with low or no-sugar jams. I used the recipe right off the back of the package, I already had a number of plastic Ball freezer 8 oz containers, and what household with a preschooler doesn't have unsweetened fruit juice? The longest part was chopping the strawberries -- the cooking was super fast.
Strawberry Freezer Jam -- adapted from Ball RealFruit Pectin Low Sugar Pectin package
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened fruit juice (I used cranberry pomegranate)
1 pkg. Ball RealFruit Pectin Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
1/2 cup sugar or honey
Combine strawberries and fruit juice in a 6 quart pot (I used by enameled cast iron dutch oven -- the heating is so even in this pot, the jam cooked up super quick). Add pectin. Bring to a rolling boil over HIGH heat, stirring constantly. You want the jam to keep bubbling even though you are stirring. Keep stirring!
Add sugar, all the while stirring. Let the jam mixture keep boiling (as you keep stirring). Cook for 1 minute. Turn off heat and remove pan from hot burner. Ladle jam into freezer-proof jam jars (I used the plastic ones Ball makes just for this purpose). Let cool for 30 minutes (room temp), then put in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or the freezer for 3 months. If putting in the freezer, let thaw before serving. Makes 2 (8 oz.) half pints.