This is strawberry jam on a whole new level.
I became addicted to “Freezer Jam” in the early 1980s while living in the Pacific northwest. Blackberries and huckleberries grew wild (and FREE!) there and all other berries were practically free at the pick-your-own farms.
If you have never made freezer jam, I advise you to run IMMEDIATELY to the nearest fruit stand or grocery store and buy as many berries in season as you can fit into the trunk of your car. Then, drive home and make a huge batch! This method of jam making is so delicious, it is almost, almost as good as fresh berries. Really. The freshness of the no-cook method makes a stunning jam, and the jam will set up every single time if you follow directions carefully.
I decided against writing a recipe here, because each box of pectin has its own recipe, which you must follow exactly to make sure the jam sets. I like the low-sugar pectin because it is, well, low sugar, and the jam has an even more powerful fruit taste. The fruit is the star, not the sugar.
A few years ago, I started adding lemon juice and zest to the jam, which improved the taste about a million percent.Â I add about a teaspoon of zest to every 2 cups of crushed fruit.Â I made strawberry jam this weekend because strawberries are in season and relatively low in cost. I also made a jumble berry jam with mostly strawberries and someÂ blackberries and blueberries – so good with the lemon zest.
Will the jam take over your kitchen? Yes. Will there be a huge, sticky mess on your counters? Yes.
Will it be worth it? YES! YES! YES!
A food processor is a real time saver in jam making – I use a potato masher to get things started, then pour into the food processor and pulse for just a few pulses. Leave some small chunks to make your jam have a homemade rustic taste and feel.
One last piece of advice: let the jam stand on your countertop for at least 24 hours, or longer if necessary, until firm. Do not fear: It will set up if you have followed directions, so your patience will be rewarded.
And, nothing is better than walking in and out of the kitchen seeing all those beautiful jars of jam lined up on your countertops. Well, nothing except eating the jam!
–posted by Donna