Saturday, June 25, 2011

Strawberry Freezer Jam

What is your favorite summer fruit?  For me, it is red raspberries.  Growing up, we had a ton of raspberry bushes that ran the width of our garage.  I hated going out each summer evening to help pick them, and didn't realize until I was an adult how absolutely lucky I had been as a kid to have such a wealth of berries at my disposal.  I just can't bring myself to buy them in the grocery store for the outrageous amount at which they are priced when I know that once upon a time, I had them for free.

However, I digress.  We need to talk about strawberries.

Summer strawberries run a very close second to raspberries for me.  It seems like early on in the summer, I can't get enough of them!  I get so excited when at last, I finally see them for 99 cents a pound at the grocery!  I stock up, and dream in strawberries.  For the past couple of years, I have made strawberry jam that is cooked, and then use a hot water bath to can the jam.  In a burst of genius inspiration, I decided this year to cut my workload by about 75% and make freezer jam.  This is a no-cook method yielding an entirely different tasting jam, but it is delicious nonetheless!  The strawberry flavor remains fresh and the color is bright and cheery!

I used my Cuisinart food processor and KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle attachment to make this jam.  You can absolutely make this by hand; you will need a potato masher and a wooden spoon.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

4 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
2 cups sugar
2 packages of no-cook freezer jam pectin (dry)

Rinse the strawberries in a large colander and drain.  Hull the stems off the berries and slice in half.  Place berries in a large bowl or in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the cutting blade (or mash them with a potato masher until the consistency is smooth).  Pulse berries until it is a smooth puree.  Transfer to the work bowl of a stand mixer (or another large bowl).

Add the sugar and the dry pectin and stir for 3 minutes.  Transfer jam to plastic freezer containers using a ladle.  Place lids on containers and let sit in containers for 30 minutes to thicken, then store in the freezer.  Jam will keep well up to a year (though I have had success with mine keeping a bit longer than a year) and in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

For me, 4 pounds of strawberries made 6 pints of jam.

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