I love fresh strawberries. I've tried several locations and types of plants and not succeeded in growing them until I finally planted them in my front yard! I have too much shade everywhere else, so I created a patch along my driveway. This is year 3 with my plants (year 1 was bare-root, June-bearing plants from Gurney's), year 2 gave me just enough berries to eat with my cereal, but this year, ah, I've had enough to make pie, to snack on, to serve with shortcake and today, freezer jam! I'm still getting more berries, so maybe strawberry ice cream is next! I may even make more jam and put it away for Christmas gifts for friends!
When making freezer jam, it is so much faster and easier than cooked jam (and as a bonus it doesn't heat up the kitchen) and I prefer the fresh berry taste of freezer jam. You can use whatever brand of pectin that you prefer, but just be sure to follow the package instructions EXACTLY. I usually treat recipes as general guidelines, but not with jam. I measure, I level, I time...everything.
1 pkg Sure Jell pectin
1 quart fresh strawberries
4 cups sugar
1. Wash the berries, cut off the stems and any icky parts and slice up the berries.
2. Use a potato masher or fork to crush the berries (use a wide bottom bowl or pan and only mash up 1 cup of berries at a time). You will need 2 cups of crushed berries when you are done.
3. Pour the berries into a large mixing bowl.
4. Carefully measure 4 cups of granulated sugar into a separate bowl (use a knife to level off the sugar exactly).
5. Pour the measured sugar into the berries and mix it up. Set the timer and let the berry mix sit for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
6. Now mix the Sure Jell with 3/4 C. of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Stir constantly.
7. Pour the hot pectin into the berries while stirring. Stir for 3 minutes to make sure all the sugar gets dissolved.
8. Pour the jam into five 1 C. containers suitable for the freezer (I used 1/2 C. mini-plastic containers since I only need a small jar of jam at any given time).
9. Leave the containers of jam on the counter for 24 hours to set, then refrigerate or freeze.
*These directions are based on using the Sure Jell brand pectin, your directions may vary if you use a different brand.