As a child, I used to open the big freezer in my garage and gaze at all the hot pink jars of strawberry freezer jam lining the shelves on the inside of that big heavy door. There was nothing better than a piece of toast with that jam slathered on top. And we never ran out! It was as if it regenerated all on it’s own.
Ah to be young, and not see the efforts of your mother. Of course it was that my mother would process quarts and quarts of strawberry jam in a large pot, canning them for the freezer and so we would have a good-sized supply for at least several months at a time. It is this flavor-memory that makes this recipe I am sharing today so meaningful.
I adore strawberries, and I always have. I have changed the recipe a little from the way my mom used to make it with white sugar. When I asked her how she makes it, she said she just followed the directions on the pectin box. It turns out that the freezer jam I grew up on was simply strawberries, sugar, and a box of pectin. Simple…I like it! (Kind of like the real food recipes I write, where the foods themselves shine through.)
Plus, freezer jam has been considered an easier form of properly canning or preserving jams and jellies. In the traditional method, you need to boil the jars, make sure you use the proper lids and that they seal, etc. But the freezer method is much easier, since you really just need to use whatever lid you have and the freezer jam will keep well as long as it’s frozen.
I have a big chest freezer, so this is my jam method of choice. That, and it’s the time of year where I can buy three flats of perfectly ripe, organic strawberries for very little money. So keep your eye out for bulk, fresh strawberries, and make a batch!
- large bowl, potato masher OR food processor
- medium bowl and rubber scraper
- large pot or French oven and wooden spoon
- quart jars, canning funnel, ladle OR small measuring cup, and storage lids
I wanted to use a more traditional sweetener for this real foodified version of strawberry freezer jam. I tried making jam with whole cane sugar, but the flavor wasn’t right. Then I tried honey, and it was perfect. I can’t even taste the difference between my mother’s jam and this version. Real foodification complete!
I make a large amount of jam in this version. It came out to about 6 quart jars total. I froze 5 and kept the final jar in my fridge. Enjoy!
Strawberry Freezer Jam
16 cups mashed or pureed strawberries
3 cups honey (buy raw honey here)
1 box universal pectin (buy all citrus, universal pectin here)
- Put the strawberries in a large bowl and mash them until you achieve the consistency you want in the jam. Alternately, put them into a food processor and puree them until they reach the desired consistency.
- In a separate bowl, measure out 3 cups of honey. Pour the contents of the pectin into the honey and stir to combine. The pectin is a powder, so blending it into the honey makes the jam have a nice consistency without any clumps of pectin powder.
- Prepare the calcium water from the universal pectin box. You will use all of it.
- Put the strawberry puree into a large pot, add the calcium water and stir to combine. Heat over medium high heat until the mixture boils.
- Add the honey-pectin mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Continue to stir constantly so the bottom doesn’t burn, until the mixture comes to a boil again. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Using a ladle or the small measuring cup, scoop the hot jam into quart jars taking care to use the canning funnel for an easier (and less messy!) transfer.