Growing up, I had a garden full of raspberries, strawberries, and other fresh fruits. Our freezer was always full of a variety of freezer jams, and I grew up helping my mom prepare the jam to freeze. I’m afraid that I never developed a taste for store-bought jam or jelly. I was spoiled with my mom’s freezer jams, and now my kids (and husband!) are spoiled with mine. Luckily, in watching my mom doing it for so many years, I learned the number one secret of freezer jam: it is one of the easiest old-fashioned, homemade tastes to achieve. But despite it’s ease of preparation, it never fails to impress. Freezer jam makes an ideal house-warming, holiday, thank you, new baby, or birthday gift (in other words–it’s good for everything!).
I’m afraid I have no special family recipe for freezer jam. I simply get a bunch of fresh seasonal berries (our favorite combination is half strawberry/half raspberry) and follow the easy directions on the back of the box of pectin. Here are a few tips for making your own delectable jam.
* Fruit– Your jam will only be as good as the fruit you put into it. Make sure that your fruit or berries are ripe. I purchase (or pick my own) berries during the Summer and then freeze them in quart-sized ziploc freezer bags. That way, I have recipe-ready berries for jam all year long. Another benefit I’ve found from freezing berries is that they tend to mush up a bit during the defrosting process, which actually works in your favor when you’re making jam (in the image below, you can see how “juicy” the defrosted raspberries got. And that’s totally ok!).
* Pectin– Used to thicken the jam. I’ve used both liquid and dry pectin. They are both easy to use and I’ve had good luck with either.
* Sugar – Sugar is essential in freezer jam. Not only does it sweeten the jam, but it also helps the jam set up and prevents bacteria growth. See? Sugar is good! You can buy special pectin to use with low or no sugar freezer jam recipes. Don’t try to use sugar substitutes with regular pectin, though.
* Jars– I use simple wide mouth glass jars to store my freezer jam, and make sure that there is plenty of space at the top of the jar to give the jam breathing/expanding room while it freezes. Plastic containers also work well (that’s what my mom always used).
Laura (aka Lolli) is a stay-at-home mom of five kids who uses her blog to show that it is possible to be happy and fulfilled as a mother in a house full of children. In addition, Lolli frequently offers photography tips and tutorials to her readers from her perspective as a photographer. Stop by and visit her blog Better in Bulk