Simple Goodness: Strawberry Jam

by Wendy

Oh the sweet taste of summer! Strawberry, in all its glorious goodness, sweet and tangy, surreal in January.  We enjoyed an afternoon of jam making waaayy back in July, and looking back at the pics I thought perhaps, I would share the simple recipe I enjoy using.  I make mostly freezer jam on our homestead.  It preserves the wholesome freshness of each individual berry.  Because it is not cooked, I also believe it is the best way to preserve vitamin content, and keep the berry itself as true to origin as possible.  Resulting in a wholesome, holistic way to preserve.

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Pomona’s Pectin is a natural choice for our family.  It contains only natural fruit pectin, nothing added, with no preservatives.  This is the way I like to roll on the homestead.  Simple, pure, and honest.  Berries, honey or sugar to taste, and pectin derived from citrus peel.  Simple goodness.  The sweet joyous taste of summer is allowed to shine through!

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I follow the No-Cook Freezer Directions that are included in the box of Pomona’s Pectin.  I will share them with you today.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

4 c. mashed strawberries

1/4 c. lemon or lime juice

1/2 c. – 1 c. honey or 3/4c. – 2 c. evaporated cane juice (sugar)

3/4 c. water

3 t. pectin powder

4-12 t. calcium water

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Before you start jamming:

Make calcium water

1.  Put 1/2 t. white calcium powder, (included in the box with the pectin) and 1/2 c. water in a small clear jar with lid.   I use a small pint, or jelly jar.  Shake or stir till disolved.

2.  Store in refrigerator for future batches of jam.  Discard if you eventually see mold,  I never have….

3.  Shake well before using.

Now you are ready to jam

1.  Wash and rinse freezer containers of desired size.  Be sure they are airtight.  I use pint-sized canning jars on our homestead, a jelly jar will do as well.  Be aware that Ziploc bags leak, don’t ask me how I know about cleaning sticky jam out of the bottom of a freezer….

2.  Wash and prepare strawberries.  Remove hulls, and any soft spots.  Place berries in a large bowl.  Mash berries with a potato smasher.  Keep it simple.

3.  Add lemon or lime juice, use what you have, both are delicious.

4.  Measure honey, or evaporated cane juice.  Both are lovely.  When I use honey, I use about 1/2 c.  When I use evaporated cane juice, I use 3/4 c.  Start sweetening by adding a smaller amount, tasting, and adjusting to your family’s taste, there is never a shortage of jam tasting volunteers in a homestead kitchen!  That is the beauty of Pomona’s Pectin, you do not have to add a certain amount of sugar to set your jam or jelly like other products, you only use how much you need to allow for the sweetness you desire, the calcium water sets the pectin.

5.  Bring 3/4 c. water to a boil.  Carefully pour into food processor/blender, add 3 t. pectin powder, vent lid and blend 1-2 min. until all powder is dissolved.  Take care when working with boiling water.

6.  Add hot liquid pectin mixture to bowl of mashed fruit.  Stir until well blended.

7.  Add 4 t. calcium water from jar, stir well.  Jell should appear.  If not, continue adding 1 t. calcium water and stirring well until jell appears.  I usually have to add up to 12 t. of calcium water to my jam before jell appears.  I don’t know if our hard water affects this, or if it is the fruit, but nevertheless this is my experience.  Jell will be softer than cooked jam.

8.  Fill jars/containers to within 1/2″ of top.  Put on lids.  Store in freezer immediately.  Keep in refrigerator to eat after thawing.  Lasts about a week in refrigerator.  If you do not go through a lot of jam, use small jars to avoid waste.  Because there are no preservatives in the jam it does not last as long as a jam or jelly made with a product like sure jell, or certo.

If you happen to have any berries in the freezer that you didn’t have time to get to during the busy harvest of summer gardens, a cold winter day is a perfect time to add a little sunshine by making jam.

The simple goodness of strawberry freezer jam brings a taste of summer, a burst of sweetness on tongue, and a smile to faces that light up blustery January days.

Enjoy the blessings!