Saturday, June 4, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Jam in 10 minutes

 This right here is heaven.
Have you ever had strawberry freezer jam? It was new to me a few years ago. I did not grow up canning veggies or picking fruit. Really, the closest I came to choosing my own produce as an adult was putting it in my cart at Publix. (Publix, PLEASE come to North Carolina! I miss you so much!) Anyway, when we moved to NC, our new friends told us we HAD to pick strawberries and since the farm was 2 miles from our house we set out to do just that. Jack was only 18 months but the three of us ended up with 14 pounds of strawberries in a short period of time. I had no idea what I would do with all those strawberries until my friend Barb nonchalantly said "you make jam, right?" Um, no. I do not make jam. Actually, I used to not make jam. But now I do. And it is so easy. Your friends won't believe you but that's okay. When you show up on their doorstep with homemade jam, let them think you slaved over a pot of boiling jars or whatever it takes to do it the hard way.
This, folks, is the cheater method.

Remember how I plan a monthly activity for the women at church? Well June was Jam Month. We all got together and made jam. And ate alot of jam. On homemade bread. It was delish! We met at my friend Emily's house. Can we stop for a minute and have a moment of silence for this island? I mean you could have a serious dance party on this island but that would be a different kind of activity :)  
Okay let's get started. Here is what you need:
Strawberries chopped like this:
And this secret ingredient- Ball Instant Pectin
You must get this kind for this recipe to work. The others kinds use LOTS more sugar. I got mine at Kroger and I know Wal-Mart has it too.
Put your chopped strawberries in a blender. Blend to your liking. I like my jam a little chunky so I don't blend them all the way. Barb likes her's smooth and she was pushing the buttons in this pic so no chunks. You could also do this in a food processor.
 Now if you like your jam with chunks, pour the strawberries in a bowl and then add the pectin and sugar. If you want smooth jam (sounds like a lite rock radio station), then you can add the pectin and sugar in the blender.
 Stir or blend the ingredients and pour into containers like these. Set it on your counter for 30 minutes and it is finished! Seriously that is all you do! The jam will stay fresh in the fridge for 3 weeks and in your freezer for 1 year.
You better make a lot because it goes fast! We put it on pancakes and french toast, use it for fillings in cakes, pour it over ice cream and of course for pb&j's.

Here is the recipe for 2 half pints:
1 2/3 cups of strawberries (about 2 lbs)
2/3 c Sugar
2 Tbsp Pectin

The jar of Ball pectin makes 15 half pints of jam.

Happy Jammin!

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