It’s strawberry season in Texas, y’all! For a native Michigander like myself, it’s a real treat to be able to have fresh fruit in-season in March! I took advantage of a huge strawberry sale at our local grocery store and got a few dozen jars of Strawberry Freezer Jam put up over the weekend.
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at canning, freezer jam is the place to start.
You will need:
-1 Pint Canning Jars (best price I’ve seen is at Big Lots for $6 per dozen. Call ahead, as they are not always in stock).
-Fruit Pectin – I use Sure Gel (around $2/box or less on sale)
-Strawberries – Best in-season price should be around $1.25-$1.50/lb.
My favorite strawberry freezer jam recipe is found inside every box of Sure Gel or online HERE.
1) Begin by thoroughly cleaning your work surfaces with hot soapy water and/or antibacterial cleaner.
2) Wash your jars (and your hands!) with very hot water. Boil your lids.
3) Consider covering your main work surface with baking sheets to catch any drips. You can easily wash these between batches.
4) Remove stems and mash your strawberries. It’s important to mash well so you don’t end up with a huge berry lump on your toast later. You can use a food processor if you like, but I prefer the old school method.
There’s no school like the old school.
5) Add 4 c. sugar to 2 c. mashed strawberries. Yes, you heard me.
Just do it.
At this point your mixture will be a pinkish color. Let the sugar and berries get acquainted for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The acid in the berries will begin to break down the sugar granules.
6) In a saucepan cook 3/4 c. water and 1 pkg. Sure Gel. Bring it to a boil, then continue cooking on high for one minute, stirring continuously. You’ll want to be sure your berries have been hanging out in the sugar for at least 6 or 7 minutes before beginning this step.
7) Add Sure Gel to your sugar-berry mixture and stir continuously for 3 minutes. Most of your sugar granules will be dissolved at the end of this step.
8) Pour hot mixture into prepared jars. If you have any drips on or around the lip, wipe off with damp hot paper towel. Then add your sterile lid.
9) Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Stores in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or freezer for up to one year.
Cost Breakdown Per Pint Jar (16 oz):
$.34 Sugar (based on a price of around $5 per 10lb bag)
$.67 Sure Gel (one box at $2 makes three pint jars)
$.71 Strawberries (based on $1.50/lb price)
Final Cost: $1.72 per 16 oz jar. Factor in another $.50 for your jars (which you will reuse year after year) and you’re paying $2.22 per jar.
Yes, it’s cheaper to buy Welch’s jelly on sale with a coupon. In this instance, I don’t make it myself to save money. I make it myself because it is insanely good.
Now that you know how easy it is, you can keep an eye out for strawberry sales in the next few months and give this a try!
Posted in: Homemaking by Heart