Have you ever had your children help you make jam? It’s an annual spring tradition over here! AND my kids appreciate the jam so much more since they helped make it.
I know many people are intimidated by jam making, but I’m here to tell you that freezer jam is so simple! If you’ve never done it, here’s the gist of it:
1. Mash up the fruit (we like strawberry)
2. Add the sugar
3. Add the pectin (the stuff you buy at the store)
4. Mix all together
6. Put in jars
See?! Simple! All the directions with amounts are included in the pectin so it’s even more simple. AND it usually takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. That’s my kind of project!
Here are the directions for strawberry jam in more detail, using the directions on my pectin, with hints by yours truly:
Canning jars with lids and rings (Each of my batches fills about 5 1/2 small jars)
2 pints strawberries (I wait until they go on sale for a buck in the spring. Doesn’t matter if they’re a little over-ripe.)
4 cups sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 pkg pectin (Whenever I share this jam with people, they say, “Wow! This is the best jam I’ve ever had. What did you do different?” You think I’m kidding. I’m not. The secret?! This stuff: Certo Liquid Pectin. It’s no fail. It always sets up and is so easy to add. You can find this by the canning jars at the store. There are 2 packages in the box; you only need one per batch. I don’t know why, but it really does make all the difference.)
1. The trick with jam is EXACT measurements. If you add less or more of something, it will not set, and you’ll end up with a nice syrup instead. So measure carefully!
2. Cut open your pectin and let it sit while you mash and mix.
3. Mash the strawberries. A potato masher works really well for this. If you don’t have one, just put it in your blender and put it on pulse. You don’t want a syrup; jam is supposed to have chunks of fruit in it. Mash until you have 2 cups.
4. Add 4 cups of sugar. Mix. This is a great task for your kids! Be sure they mix slowly.
5. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. I usually get my jars ready while I’m waiting. I rinse them to rid them of any dust and dry them well. Another task the kids can do.
7. Pour the pectin into a cup or small bowl. Add 2 Tbs lemon juice and mix.
8. Add the mixed pectin and lemon juice to the sugary strawberry mix. Oh, yum! Stir for about 3 minutes (until the sugar is dissolved). Kids can help with this, as well.
9. Pour into jars. Leave a little space at the top for expansion during freezing. Put lids and rings on.
10. Let sit on the counter overnight and spend the day admiring your work!
11. The next day, put some in the fridge to enjoy now and some in the freezer to enjoy during the winter.
Oh, look how pretty the jars look sitting on your counter!