by AMY DONOVAN
Summertime brings us a marvelous bounty of fresh fruit that we may enjoy all year long if we take care to harness it just right. Working with my grandmother in her backyard vegetable patch and fruit orchard, I learned to appreciate the gifts of the harvest. Whenever I can preserves and jar pickles, I remember her.
Canning may seem intimidating for newbies because it has many steps and it’s easy to make mistakes. Even veteran jammers may feel that boiling a massive cauldron of water and sterilizing jars and lids is uncomfortably steamy work on hot summer days. Getting around all the hassle and nerves is simple: Freezer jam!
Freezer jam requires minimal cooking so the fruit preserves retain their fresh flavor and bright color year-round. Select fruit that is just ripe and free of decay or bruising. Freezer jam has a softer set than standard cooked and water-bathed jars of jams. All ingredients (including the jars and lids) I found at Sprouts on Highway 99 so everything you need to get started is nearby!
To make Strawberry Freezer Jam:
1 pint Strawberries
1 1/2 cups granulated Sugar
1 box No-Sugar-Needed Pectin
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Water
Rinse the strawberries and remove their leafy green tops. Add them and the lemon zest to a large bowl. Mash it all together with a potato masher. Set it aside.
Stir together the sugar, pectin, lemon juice, and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until everything is dissolved and the solution comes to a rolling bowl. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
Add the mashed strawberries to the sugar-pectin solution and stir until combined. Ladle the jam into clean, dry glass canning jars. Leave Ω inch of head space at the top to allow for the jam to expand as it freezes (if you don’t, you may wind up with a very big mess in your freezer). Screw on clean, dry lids.
Let the jam sit in a cool dry place for 24 hours to set up. Then store the jam in the freezer for up to one year or in the refrigerator for three weeks.