Friday, June 29, 2012

Crunchy Step: Freezer Jam

Strawberry season is wrapping up here in South Jersey.  This year I decided I was going to take advantage of the abundance of fresh jersey strawberries.  I looked up some jam recipes and found out I could make jam in my blender and just stick it in the freezer!  No cooking!  No "real" canning!  Just easy peasy blend and freeze.  It really appealed to my desire to be supermom and yet maintain a certain level of laziness!  Not to mention a money saver!  The only downside was that I had to call the Health store and ask if they had "Pamona's Pectin" a special, better for freezing, no sugar necessary pectin.  I hate making calls and asking questions.  I'm also scared of the health food store.  Why?  I have no idea it just intimidates me.  I imagine as I wonder aimlessly around looking at tiny bottles of essential oils and bins of grains I've never heard of that the clerks are standing behind the counter in their homemade clothes in perfect health and snickering, waiting for me to ask a really stupid question.  I am clearly a wanna-be, and possibly a nutcase.  Happily the lady on the phone put the pectin behind the counter and George picked it up.  I found a great recipe at Passionate Homemaking and got to work!

Here's the method:

1.  Grab world's best babysitter and head to the strawberry field with four kids.
2.  Pick 11lbs of strawberries @ $1.75/lb (ok I picked like 2 and Christin and Lindsey picked the rest)
Chief Berry Picker
Assistant Berry Picker
3.  Pick out strawberries that were in the part of the box Ezekiel stepped in.  (This step can be omitted by not taking your eyes of the toddler for even a second)
Cheif Berry Eater and Stepper
4.  Wash and trim off greens.
5.  Prep 12 8oz canning jars and lids (I washed them in super hot water)
6.  Follow instructions on the back of the box of Pamonas Pectin to make calcium water
7.  Blend 3tsp of pectin and 3/4 boiling water in blender for 1-2 minutes (until it's dissolved)
8.  Add 4 cups strawberries, 1/2cup raw honey, and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.  Puree.
7.  Add 4tsp of calcium water to the the blender and puree.  If it jells up your done!  If not keep adding calcium water until it's a jam like consistency.  I would up using about 10 tsps but it does firm up a little more once cool so a little less would have worked.
8.  Pour into 8oz jars and put lids on loosely (to allow for expanding in freezer) and label
9.  Once cool pop in freezer.
10. After frozen (a few hours or the next day) tighten lids  I'm not sure the whole put it on loosely thing is necessary but it made sense to me and I didn't want shattered glass all over my freezer.  If you're feeling daring and just tighten those lids right away let me know how it goes!  Maybe if you're feeling real crazy you can go in the health food store!

There you go.  10 Steps to freezer jam.  I did steps 5-10 twice and would up with 9 8oz jars of jam and just enough jars and strawberries left over to make strawberry syrup and eat our fill of strawberries!

Financially speaking I figured out that each jar cost me about $3.50.  I buy organic jam at the grocery store. It costs $4.50 so I saved about $9.  Included in that cost is the cost of the jars which I won't buy again so next year it will cost me closer to $2.50 and save me $18.  It was worth the time and a lot of fun!

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