Remember Connor’s bowl of mashed strawberries that was sitting in the fridge, waiting for me to get liquid pectin at the store? Well, for some reason I couldn’t seem to get myself to the store in any kind of reasonable time frame, so I ended up putting his berries in the freezer, where they sat for another week. (Not ideal jam-making procedure, but it works in a pinch–thank goodness for freezers!) Finally I got the pectin, and late last week Connor was very excited to spend the morning making his jam. Now, jam with no recipe–even freezer jam–can be a bit dicey, since most jams rely on the right combination of pectin, acid, and sugar to gel properly. I assured Connor that he really could make the jam almost totally by himself, but that it might be a good idea to follow a few guidelines so that he would actually end up with jam, rather than syrup. Fortunately, he agreed, and after much much joyous and messy measuring, pouring, and mixing, he ended up with a lovely (and admittedly very sweet) jam. A fun morning all around!
Connor’s Strawberry Freezer Jam
(makes about 4 pints of jam)
2 cups crushed strawberries (about 1 quart of fresh berries)
4 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1.) Rinse and drain strawberries, then remove and discard stems.
2.) Place berries in a large bowl and mash them (a potato masher works well for this).
3.) Measure out 2 cups of the mashed berries and pour into a bowl.
4.) Add sugar to the mashed berries and mix well.
5.) In a separate bowl, combine pectin and lemon juice. Mix well.
6.) Pour pectin mixture into the mashed strawberries. Mix thoroughly, and continue to stir for for a few minutes to fully dissolve sugar and pectin.
7.) Pour jam into clean, freezer-safe containers. Don’t overfill–leave at least 1/2 inch of space to allow for the jam to expand as it freezes.
8.) Store jam in the freezer. It will last this way for at least a year. If you plan to eat your jam quickly, you can store it in the refrigerator, where it will last for for about 2 weeks.