Tuesday, June 8, 2010

About That Wagon & Freezer Jam 101: Strawberry

Before we start, I just have to get a little something off my chest.  I fell off the no-sugar wagon about a week and a half ago.  It was around the time my Grammie died.  I could use her death as an excuse and I can already hear you sweet people telling me it's even understandable, but I could've been stronger.  Even though the past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster (that has mostly been going down), it was an excuse to be weak.  Sugar will do that to me.

So, here are my choices.  I can just give up.  Or, I can pick myself back up and think about how good I feel, both physically and mentally, when I'm off sugar.  I can admit that there are going to be times when I slip up and that instead of feeling guilty and lousy about it, I'm going to forgive myself and move on, in the better direction.  God forgives us every time as if it was the first.  Why are we so hard on ourselves?

My chest feels lighter.  Thank you.


I wasn't going to make any strawberry jam this year, but I couldn't resist.  It's in my blood.  And, don't worry, I did not just promptly fall back off the wagon.  I didn't even taste it.  Oh, dear.  I hope it's okay. Just kidding.  About it possibly not being okay.  Do you need me to stopping talking now?

Why I'm freezing my strawberry jam:  With ALL other fruits (except strawberry and red raspberry), I can my jam.  I freeze strawberry jam because I like how it retains it's beautiful color and flavor when froze.  Peach and grape jam look and taste just as lovely canned.  In my experience, strawberry does not.  This is a personal preference.

Also, you don't have to use boxed pectin.  There are recipes out there for jams that use bulk pectin, that don't use pectin at all, and that don't use sugar even.  I am just showing you what WE do.

You don't need canning jars for freezer jam:  You can use them, but instead start to accumulate any glass jar with a tight fitting lid.  You can also use plastic containers if you want.  I have collected Smucker's jam jars (ha ha) to use for my freezer jam.   You only need a tight fitting lid, not canning lids that need to seal.

KEY tips about using boxed pectin:  There are several.

1)  The directions for freezing and canning all different kinds of fruited jam are inside the box.  The directions will tell you everything you need to know and do.

2)  If you want to use less sugar, buy a pectin for using LESS SUGAR (they sell this kind).  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, buy a box of regular pectin and just add less sugar than what the directions say.  This WILL NOT WORK.  There are boxed pectins that call for less sugar and no sugar.  Find yourself one of those boxes instead.

3)  Read directions all the way through before starting.  I've been in a hurry before and added the sugar when they were really telling me to measure out the sugar into a separate bowl for later and thoroughly messed up a batch of jam (it didn't thicken up right, but still tasted good).  Don't do this.  Read, read, read.  Then begin:-).

4)  One more thing.  There is a help line phone number in the instructions.  If you don't understand something or if you did something out of order by mistake, call those lovely folks.  They are very helpful and want you to be successful.  They want people to like and buy there pectin, of course.

Stawberry Freezer Jam
I feel a little silly posting this because it's not really a recipe- I just follow the instructions on the box.  So, instead of the recipe, I'm just going to show you the method we use.

1) Read the instructions carefully for "freezer" jam.  There will also be instructions for making "cooked" jam as well.

2) Check the chart in the directions to find out what ingredients you will need to make strawberry freezer jam.  Above this chart are the instructions for making it.  As you can see, below the chart are the cooked jam instructions. Bottled lemon juice works just as well as fresh.

3) Gather your ingredients.  Follow the instructions carefully.

4) I like to use a glass measuring pitcher to pour the jam into my jars since their openings are small.

5) Top with lids, let sit to thicken per instructions, label and freeze.

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  1. I bought canning jars and supplies a year ago and have yet to make jam. This is on our summer to do list. It looks so yummy. And don't be so hard on yourself...I gave up sugar for lent and since then I've been on and off the wagon. Like you..I feel better with out it.

  2. I just did mine yesterday using plastic ball containers, which am not entirely thrilled about. I don't like to use those plastic containers anymore but was leery of using glass. Thanks for posting this method.
    Do you happen to know a freezer recipe that doesn't use sugar or artificial sweetener? Or have any ideas on this? Quillan reacts profoundly to sugar and I try to avoid it whenever possible. I used turbinado in the 5 container batch I made yesterday, and halved the amount that the recipe called for.
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this. As I was making it, I though I bet my old friend will have some incite on this.

  3. Jenae dear, I have never made jam without processed sugar (it just wouldn't be jam!), but I hear your dilemma and know it can be done. The easiest way is to used boxed no sugar pectin- there are all natural varieties (you'll have to read the ingredients) that are made with dried apples. I know other readers will have some other ideas (and experience here), so I hope they jump in and share.

  4. I need to go pick some blackberries and make some jam - we have a big patch on our farm, but man it can get painful picking blackberries!

    And, about the sugar, I totally understand. I've not given up sugar, but I am doing Weight Watchers to lose a few pounds and get my lifestyle healthier. I don't deny myself a treat now and then, but I am watching portions when I do indulge. A couple of weeks back I had a totally emotional upheaval of a week and drove right to my bakery and ordered one of the largest pastries they have AND a red velvet cupcake. I knew the whole.entire.time I was pulling in, ordering, and eating that I was going to have a sugar crash and feel guilty afterwards, but I did it anyways. But, like you say, our God is so good. Why oh why can't I learn to cast it all on Him and not pack on the carbs when I'm feeling anxiety?

    I don't comment all that much here, but I read here a lot. Your homemade baby food posts were my deciding factor on making my own baby food for my new baby :)

  5. Oh how I love strawberry jam...and we ran out of homemade months ago. I broke down and bought some...but it's natural. So that's good. But I am determined to make more homemade this summer...I think I'll try the freezer method this time. That's how my Noni used to do it...so it only seems right. xox

  6. WOW I love it when the young teach the old, I did this very thing a couple years ago with freezer jam, and it did not jell right, I had no idea what I did wrong, thank you dear now I know, I will try again, and make sure and follow the instructions for less sugar jam. Hugs and again thanks for teaching an old dog new tricks, hugs and blessings, Barbara

  7. I love reading your blog and am in agreement 100% about strawberry freezer jam. I actually had to explain to my sweet husband the other night why we do freezer jam instead of jelly for stawberries. There is nothing that compares, it's so much fresher tasting. I'm not that worried about the sugar, my grandma put sugar in hers, I put the sugar in mine. I'm not to going to eat a quart at a time so I think it's fine.
    Keep up the wonderful postings!

  8. I bought strawberries this weekend. I really wanted to do strawberry preserves (I like the clumpiness of it if you will). Have you ever tried that with the freezer method? Just curious. Otherwise, I guess I'm going to use the heirloom strawberry preserves recipe in the Ball Book that doesn't call for pectin at all. Maybe. I may be too scared to try it with my strawberries. :)

    I made blackberry freezer jam last year. Love it. But didn't strain the blackberries and really should have. I forgot how annoying the seeds can be. Kids hate it though...More for Mama!

  9. Barbara, please make sure to buy the box that says "Low Sugar" or "No Sugar" on the outside of the box. There will not be low sugar directions inside a regular box. I wish you great success!!:-)

  10. Carrie, I haven't froze preserves before, but I have had success with everything I've tried from my Ball canning book. Let us know how it turns out if you try it:-).

  11. Thanks for the advice in the no sugar pectin. I am going to try that. I've decided to just go with the lower amount of sugar. I think that we avoid it in everything else, a little in the homemade local strawberry jam can't hurt anyone right?!! I had ice cream at 2 months old (thanks to grandpa Jake) and I turned out alright!


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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