Friday, May 29, 2015

Making Freezer Jam--Strawberry or Otherwise

Tessa Grace-- my granddaughter eating  strawberries
at Rutherford's Farm.

Making Strawberry Freezer Jam --Or ANY Kind of Jam or Jelly.

Saturday May 16, 2015

Dana Koogler  and daughter Crystal Lindsey


2 gallons fresh strawberries
Four packets of fruit pectin
Lemon juice
Canning jars with lids or Certo plastic freezer containers 
with lids
5 lbs sugar
Ziplock freezer bags

Prep:  Pick fresh berries at a local farm or purchase fresh, ripe strawberries
at a local market or farm.

Take them home and wash and cap them .
Do NOT allow the berries to sit in water.

Wash and dry jars, lids and jar rings or containers and dry them well.

       We picked fresh strawberries at Rutherford's Farm out on Mint Road in Blount County, Tennessee.  It is just outside the city limits of our home in Murvul.   We had a great time picking.
It took about 45 minutes and is a great value.  Two gallons of berries cost me $16. 
Ginger's Flowers out on Highway 321 had some good looking South Carolina berries but they wanted $16 for 2 QUARTS.   The difference?  I prefer to keep my money in the local economy when I can and they are the freshest berries possible.  
Tessa Cheesing for the camera. She is so cute and she knows it.

       We made 10 pints of freezer jelly. We had about a pint to freeze fresh. We had a large bowl
to cut up to make strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Nanny Cookie made BBQ chicken dinner
for the whole family and the kitchen stayed torn up all day long.  

I am not going to provide a recipe for this but a general overview of what to AVOID!!

Crystal wanted to learn to make strawberry freezer jam.  She and Adam both did. They liked 
Grandmother Lindsey's strawberry freezer jam.  They got her to help them learn.  Some of it turned
out ok, but some did not. Certainly Grandmother Lindsey had many more years experience than
I did so I was not offended.  The last freezer jam I made was not as well liked.  I thought it was good,
but the rest of the family wasn't crazy about it.  What went wrong?  I cut the sugar in it to suit my own tastes.  I also let it get too frothy by putting the berries in a food processor or blender. It was gummy and had a consistency they didn't care for.  

            Today at my house was a do-over for Crystal and a chance for me to help my daughter
with her homemaking skills.  I was happy to help.  

            The secret to making good freezer jam or jelly of any kind is this:





Crystal, Adam and Grandmother used powdered Sure Jell the first go round.
I used two different kinds. Certo liquid pectin packets and Mrs. Wages powdered fruit pectin packets.

Certo liquid pectin packs requires no cooking, but you have to add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per
packet and mix them together for the acidity to preserve things.

Mrs. Wages doesn't require any lemon juice added to make strawberry freezer jam.

You can reduce the sugar in the recipe by up to 25%, but be prepared for it not to taste good
to some people.  

It is best to mash the strawberries with a potato masher and avoid putting them in a blender.
Ripe strawberries contain lots of liquid anyway and over processing brings out more liquid and 
tends to whip them into a froth that has a gummy consistency that is not pleasing.

If you end up with froth on cooked jelly or jam.... add one tablespoon of melted butter to
get rid of the froth OR try skimming the froth away with large spoon.

Our freezer jam turned out perfect this time.  I am not as experienced as Grandmother, but consequently I read and follow directions to a tee.  If you do that you won't go wrong.

It is not necessary for freezer jam to sit out for 24 hours at room temperature. 
I placed mine in the refrigerator for a day then put it in the freezer.

It is also not necessary to boil jar lids and such for freezer jam.

That is what you do to make cooked jelly.

Tessa and Michael in the kitchen helping wash dishes.

 English muffin for breakfast with butter and strawberry freezer jam. Yum!

Above the fruits of our labors!