Monday, May 4, 2009

STRAWBERRY SEASON IS HERE!!!!

Hairball, this post is for you (at least, it's part of what you were asking about)

3 words: Strawberry Freezer Jam (that's not a link, it's just strawberry-colored on principle)

Those 3 words make my family salivate. When May arrives in these here parts, we know that strawberry season is upon us, and, back in the day, we would start giving my mother suggestive looks.

Hey, stop thinking that! Not those kind, for goodness sakes. Ewwww, that's just gross.

Maybe I should say pleading looks, 'cause we know she is putty in our hands as well (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree). We knew that, with enough doe-eyed & hungry looks, we could convince her to pull out every pot, bowl & jar in her kitchen and make us some freezer jam. Seriously, it was a mess to make, but oooooooooh so worth it.

And just what is freezer jam? I know you are asking this question in your heads, drumming your fingers patiently, hoping I'll just get to the point please. Those of you who know what freezer jam is are undoubtedly nodding your heads in delicious understanding, 'cause you know its sweet goodness.

Freezer jam is uncooked jam. Jam-Making Tradition (capitalized for emphasis) holds that the fruit mixture has to be boiled until it no longer resembles fruit or has any of it's fresh sweetness left. This is sad, because cooked fruit, even in pies & tarts, never retains that summertime burst of lusciousness that makes us want it in the first place.

Seasonal summer fruit is best eaten in it's raw, natural, tree-hugging state, with the juice rolling down your chin. Or whizzed in the blender with tequila.

Just kidding. Only a little.

Anyway, freezer jam does have its pros & cons:
Pros: no cooking, no sterilizing jars, fresh fruity goodness no cooked jam can hope to emulate
Cons: ummmmm, takes up freezer space?

See that list? How can you NOT make it? Internet recipes abound (holy cow, that's a lot of sugar) but my mother simply used the one included in the box of pectin (the internet hadn't been invented when she first started making it). In fact, the recipe linked above looks pretty much like the one she used.

Those older recipes required an obscene amount of sugar, but it was heavenly stuff. The nice pectin people have improved the product for freezer jam making over the years, and you don't use as much sugar now. I haven't tried the newer stuff, so I can't vouch for the results.

Here's the recipe from Sure Jell. Ball now makes fruit pectin just for freezer jam (I have some in my pantry, but it expired in Aug '07. I wonder if it's any good?), and the recipe on the back of the box calls for a bit less sugar than Sure Jell:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch Freezer jam pectin
4 cups crushed fruit

I am not going to make hungry noises at my mother this year, since she isn't in her big ol' house anymore and her kitchen is now the size of a handkerchief, so I'll have to make it. But only if BS goes strawberry picking with me. Hear that BS? I think I'll try the special freezer-jam pectin this year - new box, of course. I'll let you know the results.



I might try using my old box with some fruit I am not as enamoured with as fresh strawberries, like frozen peaches.

8 comments:

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I guess Imonna have to make another trip to Currituck.

xmaskatie said...

Mmmmmmm, freezer jam.

Donna-FFW said...

Ive never made freezer jam, but it sounds easy.. do you store in ziplocs frozen or containers?

Busty Boomer (aka Kathy) said...

Donna - you just use empty jars (but I guess zip-locs would work). Put them in the freezer at least overnight, then store in the fridge 1 at a time until you eat it all up, usually in a couple hours. Uh, I can totally see you finding some new uses for it. :-)

Hairball said...

Thanks for this post and recipe!!

Sista G said...

And around these parts, in 2 months it will be time to make blackberry freezer jam, peach freezer jam and plum freezer jam from our bushes/trees. YYYUUUMMM!!!

By the way, is XmasKatie ours??

Busty Boomer (aka Kathy) said...

Sista - nope. xmaskatie belongs to Rosie. You honestly think ours would read this?

Marilyn said...

My lovely mother-in-law taught me to take one quart of cleaned and halved or quartered strawberries and 1/2 cup suger and put those in a zipper top bag in the freezer for later use. Super simple and super delicious.