Friday, April 27, 2012
Freezer Jam Even Easier?
For years I've made freezer jam and it is so easy! Just mash some fresh fruit, add a bunch of sugar to it, boil some pectin in water, and finally mix everything together. The results taste so much better than anything you can buy, and it couldn't be simpler.
Oh, yes it can!
Last year I picked up some pectin at Wal-Mart at the end of the canning season. It was good until 2014, so no worries about it losing its effectiveness by the next growing season. Well, it's berry season around here, so I purchased several pints of strawberries and set about to make freezer jam - business as usual.
Now, regardless of how many times you've made jam before, it is always a good idea to use the method described in the packaging of the pectin you are using. Different manufacturers have different methods, and it's best not to assume they will all work the same. By the way, pectin is the gelling agent you add to fruit and sugar to allow it to become jam or jelly. While you can cook down fruit and sugar to thicken it into a jam, you must have pectin to make freezer jam.
I was so delighted when I read the instructions on this particular pectin and learned that you do not need to boil water to dissolve the pectin - or cook anything at all. You simply
crush your fruit,
stir the powdered pectin into the sugar,
and then mix everything together.
After it sits for 30 minutes - BAM! You have jam. It is that simple! I know, right?!
Usually when you make jam, you do not want to double or triple, etc. the batches. There is something in the multiplying that prevents the jam from thickening like it should. With this pectin, you can triple the recipe with each batch, allowing you to make more jam faster.
Here is how it worked out for me:
We crushed enough strawberries to yield 15 cups of crushed fruit. To make one triple batch, I needed 5 cups of fruit. With 15 cups, I could make 3 triple batches. I carefully measured 5 cups of crushed strawberries into 3 8-quart bowls.
Then working one batch at a time, I measured 2 cups of sugar into a bowl and mixed 6 Tbs. of pectin into each. It is important to measure carefully when making jam, so be sure to do that. After the dry ingredients were well combined, I simply poured the sugar/pectin into the strawberries, stirred for 3 minutes, let rest for 30 - and the jam is ready! Not much work for 12 cups of super yummy jam.
What I love about freezer jam is that it tastes so fresh, and you can get your fruit from the local growers in your area.
What I love even more about this freezer jam is how easy it is to prepare, plus it requires much less sugar than the pectins I've used in the past. It also set up with a nice gel and wasn't as runny as some seem to turn out.
If you've every wanted to make jam, I hope you will try this pectin by Ball. I promise, you will be so glad you did. There is nothing as wonderful as that fresh fruit taste, especially when you still have some in the middle of winter. I bet you can even impress Mom and Grandma with this one.
Thanks for stopping by,