I’m obsessed with Michigan strawberries. For me, their flavor is the definition of summer in the Midwest, a flavor that is so completely different from the strawberries purchased from the grocery store, from Florida or California, or wherever they are imported from. No, sir. Bring me the small, flavorful berries that didn’t have to cross the country to get to my table.
Strawberry season is short, and I have been bookmarking every recipe I can find for the occasion. Yes, I understand that I could freeze the berries for the off-season, but really? Not as good (although maybe still better than cross-country berries… Will get back to you on that one).
In order to take true advantage of the strawberry festival happening in my kitchen, Boyfriend and I decided to make jam. I have never made jam before. I thought there was a lot of cooking and reducing and sugar and sticky involved. Turns out only two of those things are relevant when you make jam using instant pectin, which is the gelatin-like powder used to make the jam. I think some people might call this freezer jam?
Anyway, I bought eight (eight!) quarts of strawberries at the market and half of them were turned into jam later that day. Truly this was not a difficult project, and the jars will last in the freezer for a year. There is also the process known as canning that would allow an even longer shelf-life, maybe outside of the fridge, but I honestly know nothing about that.
This recipe here is straight off of the Ball (like the jars) instant pectin pouch. The only variation is that Boyfriend purred all of the berries (he doesn’t like his jam, or his women for that matter, chunky), which gave the final product a nice, smooth texture, albeit a little more runny than store-bought. But the flavor can’t compare, and the fact that I can pronounce all of the ingredients (all three of them) makes me feel a lot better about what I am putting into my body.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
Makes 5 8-oz jars of jam
Adapted from the back of this package
1 pkg instant pectin
1 ½ cups sugar
4 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and crushed or pureed to desired chunkiness
5 8-oz glass canning jars
- In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and instant pectin until well blended
- In a large bowl, combine the berries and the sugar-pectin mix
- Stir for 3 minutes
- Ladle (or funnel, if your berries are runny enough) jam into jars
- Seal with lids and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until jelled
Jam will last in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or in the freezer for up to a year.