Monday, September 2, 2013

Strawberry Freezer Jam

You might think that it's a little bit late in the season for strawberries.  Well, think again:
These gorgeous little gems come from Quebec's renowned Ile d'OrlĂ©ans, an island located in the Saint Lawrence river, mere miles from Quebec City.  I spied these beauties at my local grocery store and could not resist.  The flavour is very concentrated, and they're not watered-down like some of the spring fruit we traditionally get.  It was also high-time I used that package of freezer jam pectin I've had wedged in the back of the pantry for years now.

Meh.  Use before November 09.  Well, that's still within my comfort zone.  Remember I'm time-challenged?  I checked on Bernardin's website, and the packaging has been revamped (probably twice since then), so if you're looking for this pouch, be forewarned it now looks different:
Why make freezer jam?  Well, several reasons.  It's no fuss, no muss.  Just mash strawberries until you have 4 cups, add 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar to the pectin, mix together until well-combined, then add crushed strawberries and stir for 3 minutes.  No need to sterilize jars and no need to cook the mixture.  Why lose all that colour, flavour and those wonderful antioxidants? I really hate to see people spend more time and energy on something that should be this simple.  It also produces a superior tasting jam, and that should be reason enough to keep the stove turned off.

Part of the reason I generally avoid jam is the high sugar-to-fruit ratio.  Using 1-1/2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of fruit doesn't seem that evil to me.  I wouldn't eat this stuff for breakfast every day, but spread on waffles or thin pancakes, it's a thing of beauty.

Cracking open a jar of this strawberry jam in the middle of winter can keep a person from going insane.  It's like a little ray of sunshine during a long, cold season.

If that's all it takes, well then, sign me up:
The recipe makes 5 - 250mL jars.  You can use any type of container to freeze this jam - you don't have to use traditional canning jars like I did.  I used them because they were in the kitchen from my mango chutney episode, but little Rubbermaid or Tupperware-style plastic containers will do the trick.
I use it straight from the freezer.  I just slice out what I need, and it melts in seconds when put on hot crepes or toast or waffles.  Because I'm an infrequent jam-user, my strawberry jam stays much fresher this way.

So if you've never tried this method of jam-making, I hope I've convinced you to try it.

Just don't keep your pouch of freezer pectin on the shelf for 5 years like I did.


Ron said...

That seems like a decent amount of sugar to use, vs. the amounts in other recipes. We've never looked into making freezer jam, but we will now.

Shim Farm said...

Yeah, Ron, it's the sugar content that keeps me from making traditional jams most of the time. I have a few exceptions, like my Seville marmalade, or crabapple jelly. But strawberries are naturally sweet, and cooking them just dilutes their flavour, in my opinion. This recipe is win/win.

I did a bit of checking on-line, and Ball makes a freezer pectin for the US market that looks comparable to the Bernardin I used.

Good luck with it, if you do give it a go!

Miriam said...

I have never done freezer jam because my freezer is a black hole where things disappear, but you have convinced me to give freezer jam a try!

Lately I have been using no-sugar pectin for cooked jam - you need to add some unsweetened fruit juice, and you have the option of adding some sugar or a substitute if you like. The result is much more fruit-like and nowhere near as sweet as traditional jam. I am appalled by how much sugar traditional recipes call for.

Shim Farm said...

Give it a try Miriam! Provided you can find the space in your freezer, you should be good to go!

You've also reminded me I've been meaning to inventory the contents of the small freezer I keep in our shed. Who knows what kind of freeze-dried food remains I might find in there? I don't know WHY that freezer is my Waterloo, but it is! I think I might actually rue the day I bought it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I've never heard of freezer jam! Sign me up, too!

Shim Farm said...

Hi Kelly: It's so easy to make, and so worthwhile when you've got a load of fresh strawberries! Give it a try!

Robin said...

I've heard of freezer jam but I've never made it before. Lately I've been on a clean the freezer out mood. You know how you get all that stuff that you never use but feel guilty about so it takes up the whole freezer? We have a bad case of that.

Jam tends to last a long time around here. I can a small batch up and then it lasts for years and that is with me giving some of it away to friends and neighbors.

Shim Farm said...

Robin, the freezer jam is amazing! It tastes really fresh, and like I've said before, I'm not much of a jam person. But I like it on waffles and thin pancakes from time to time. My freezer IS a mess. After I wrote my comment to Miriam, I actually did go and inventory the stuff I have left in the shed freezer, and it's pretty sad. I admire those hyper-organized people who have little inventories on their freezers and actually use them. I'm not that organized, I guess...

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