I’ve learned things I never thought I’d learn, through this cooking adventure of mine.
One of the biggest is that I love to cook with my children (well, my four-year old at least – 15 months is a little young). It’s surprisingly fun, keeps him busy, takes up a lot of time, and we get something useful and tasty out of it. He loves spending the one-on-one time with me, so it’s a complete win-win.
So, when I find something that looks pretty easy, with lots of little things to do, and no time constraints, I think about making it with him…
As I mentioned in my last post, we picked up about 4 pounds of strawberries, so we could make some freezer jam. I grew up with a variety of freezer jams, as my grandmother (of the famous bread) always made it fresh to give away. And once you’ve had freezer jam, it is hard to go back. I’d never made it before, but I figured I could do it – and it would be a great way to spend some time with my oldest.
(So, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share this…if I’m not, someone let me know, please.)
Quick and Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam, adapted from the insert in the Sure Jell Pectin Box
2 pounds (just over 2 pints) strawberries
4 c sugar
1 box Sure Jell pectin
3/4 c water
1. Wash and rinse containers with tight-fitting lids. (I used 8-oz jam jars – and each recipe filled 6 jars.)
2. Crush 1 pint (1 cup) of strawberries at a time. Do not puree – it should have bits of fruit.
3. Measure exact amount of fruit into a large bowl. Add exact amount of sugar and stir.
4. Let stand about 10 minutes; stir occasionally.
5. Stir 1 box pectin and water in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
6. Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy – about 3 minutes.
7. Pour into prepared containers, leaving a 1/2-inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover.
8. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Otherwise, store in freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.
Easy. This was extremely easy and fast. I (we) made two batches in less than an hour. 12 lovely jars of mouth-watering jam in an hour.
So worth it!
Some lessons learned…
1. Be prepared for a mess. Usually, I clean as I go along, but I was trying to do so much (with my helper), it all added up – on my counter.
2. We started out mashing with a potato masher, as suggested on the original directions. We still had lots of big pieces with it, so after it was mostly mush, we switched to a pastry cutter. That worked out great.
3. It is hard to let them sit. For 24 hours. Without peeking… or tasting. Maybe that’s just us, though.
4. Last, but not least, jam tastes better when made with someone you love.