There are few things in this world as delicious as homemade jam. I can still remember as a kid being completely blown away by how much better homemade jam tasted than regular-ole-grocery-store-jam. Strawberry jam has always been my jam, and when people offered me their homemade jam I’d find myself trying to act natural while I secretly plotted a way to spoon the entire jar directly into my mouth without arousing any suspicion. I never did figure out how to get away with greedily eating the whole jar, but I vowed to myself that when I was an adult I would make my own – and then no one could stop me from spooning as much of it as I wanted into my face.
Fast forward to today and I still have never made my own strawberry jam, well until yesterday… so I guess fast forward to two days ago. I’ve tried chia seed jam – which I must say is delicious – but I’ve never tried making regular jam. After humming and hahing about it all season, I finally made up my mind to do it… and just in the knick of time, because I got a phone call that it was the last day for the local u-pick. I grabbed my SPF 60 sunscreen – nothing any lower works, amiright fellow gingers? – and hopped in the car. I made a pit stop at the grocery store to grab some supplies, and as I stared at shelves full of different kinds of pectin, mason jars, sugar and other supplies, I got a text message saying that my boyfriend’s mom – who, for the record, was also the caller asking if I’d had a chance to go pick berries yet or not since today was likely the last day – had just brought us a whole flat of berries and dropped them off at our house. Spoiled much? Thank you Catherine <3.
So now that the berries were taken care of, I just needed to figure out how to actually make jam. I scrolled through recipe after recipe and became increasingly terrified that if I didn’t boil the jars properly I’d poison all of my friends and family with sweet strawberry jam.
Freezer jam seems easier. Maybe I’ll try that first and next year I’ll try canning. Yeah… freezer jam seems safer, I thought, less likely to give everybody botulism and what could go wron… oh the jars can explode in the freezer. GREAT.
Not going to lie, I felt a little bit frustrated at this point and was starting to think maybe I should just go home and make myself a mountain of strawberry shortcake – which I still might do since I still have a ton of strawberries, so please hold your judgments and don’t hate me ‘cause you ain’t me – but then I remembered seeing little plastic containers for freezer jam before.
Thank goodness for Google, because within 10 minutes I had found them online, figured out they were in stock, and bought two of the last sets at Canadian Tire. It was finally time for me to meet my jam-making-destiny. Mmm… destiny.
Nova Scotia Strawberry Freezer Jam
*please note: this is not an original recipe, this seems to be the standard recipe for freezer jam based on how many different places I have seen it. Next time around I will be more adventurous and try experimenting a little. I’m thinking a couple tablespoons of lavender buds might do the trick…
2 C mushed up NS Strawberries
4 C sugar
1 pkg Certo Pectin Powder
¾ C water
First things first, you need to wash your berries.
Give them a good rinse, and then you can move on to hulling them. Now, I kept seeing this trick online for hulling strawberries with a straw, and for some reason it made me angry.
Yeah… I know… why? Something about kids these days with their new-fangled-strawberry-hulling techniques just rubbed me the wrong way. I think part of it was that plastic straws are so terrible for the environment, and it just seemed like such a wasteful way to do something you could easily do with a knife and just wash it off afterwards.
I figured I should give it a shot though, since I had both paper straws which can be composted after use, and reusable straws for travel cups, and I have to say it’s super fun and doesn’t waste too much of the strawberry.
You just your straw at the bottom like so and…
Sometimes it even makes a little noise when you do it! ☺ ☺ ☺
But I digress… once you get your strawberries all hulled out, you need to mush ‘em up real good. I used a pastry cutter that I stole from my parents when they weren’t home.
You need 2 C of this mush.
I mushed too many, so I put the extra aside and put it in a smoothie. You could also use it for strawberry shortcake if you also plan on making a mountain of it, eat it straight up with a spoon, throw it in with some yogurt, maybe make yourself an ice cream sundae since it’s so freaking hot out… the possibilities are endless. And delicious.
Add 4 C of sugar to your delicious strawberry mush
Once it’s all mixed in, let it sit for 10 minutes.
While it’s sitting, you can boil your water and pectin.
Let it boil for 1 minute, and make sure you are stirring it the whole time. Then pour it in to the berry mush.
Make sure that it is stirred in really well
and then fill your jars…
but not all the way. Make sure you leave about ¼ empty so the jam has room to expand in the freezer. This is freezer jam after all.
Now comes the waiting game. Your jam needs to set for about 24 hrs.
If they seem to have set properly – aka look like they are jam and not some weird runny mess – then you can pop one in the fridge to enjoy now, and the rest can go in the freezer to enjoy throughout the year. If you do discover a weird runny mess, there’s an “In a Jam?” hotline number in the leaflet that comes in the pectin package. Seriously, you can’t make this up.
And that’s it. Now you can enjoy!
There, that wasn’t so bad was it?