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Friday, July 20, 2012

Freezer Jam

I seem to be on a freezing kick when it comes to preserving food for my family. I, for the most part, have always used a water-bath to can my jams, jellies, pickles and other high acid foods but today I had some berries for canning but not enough to really make it worthwhile to fire up the water-bath. Instead, I picked up some freezer jam instant pectin and made my first ever batch of freezer jam. 

I followed the recipe that was on the box. I crushed my berries in a non reactive bowl,  using a potato masher,  and then mixed the sugar and pectin together in another bowl before adding it to my berries. Once everything has been added, you stir the mixture for 3 minutes. Be sure not to skimp on the stirring because this does help dissolve the sugars and pectin as well as helps to thicken the jam. 
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After the mixture is all stirred up, I then ladled the jam into clean mason jars. Let the jam sit at room temperature for half an hour to finish setting up before putting away in the refrigerator or freezer. If freezing in the glass mason jars, please allow at least a half inch of head space in the jar. This allows for the jam to expand as it freezes without cracking your glass jars. Bell also makes freezer jars that are plastic, but I used my good ol’ glass ones.  Freezer jam can be kept in the fridge for 3 weeks and in the freezer for up to 1 year.

Today, I made blackberry, strawberry and a triple berry jam. The triple berry is a mixture of raspberries, strawberries and blue berries.  The jams all set up well and we kept out a jar of each flavor to enjoy right away.  I have to admit, as this is my first time preparing freezer jam, it is really good. I think the flavor of the berries is more pronounce because the jam is not being cooked or further processed in the water-bath canner. In the recipe I followed there is also less sugar needed.  So far, the jams are all frozen and no cracking of glass has happened.  

If you are doing a lot of jam making and space is also an issue, than freezer jams might not be the way you want to process. When I have a lot of berries at mid-season, I do go for the water-bath method. I can process quite a few jars and store them in my pantry. The mason jars do stack nicely. I must say though, for making small batches freezer jam seems to be the way to go. I am pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and how good the finish product tastes. 

Enjoy : )
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