Top Tips for Making Strawberry Freezer Jam
- Even if you’re short on time, you can make your own freezer jam. These recipes come together much quicker than those that use the water-bath canning method.
- Choose plump, fragrant strawberries. They should be firm, bright red and fresh-looking, without signs of mold or bruising.
- Store unwashed berries in the fridge for up to five days. For ultimate flavor and freshness, wash and hull strawberries right before you want to use them.
- Boil the jam mixture for exactly one minute to retain its gelling power.
- Seal it up, then let the jam set up for 24 hours.
- Freeze it for up to a year, or keep it in the fridge so you can use it right away.
- Once you master this recipe, throw a canning party and teach it to your friends!
Pop open a jar of homemade jam, taste what’s inside, and you’ll be tempted to slather it on everything you eat. Well, wonderful news: Making your own is easy to do. Thanks to the freezer technique in this recipe, you can transform fresh strawberries into a sweet spread in well under an hour—a good thing, because jam this delicious only lasts so long.
1. Prep the strawberries.
Wash the berries, then cut off the tops and cut out the white core, a process called hulling. Then mash them. Typically, a pint of berries mashes down to about a cup. (If you have more strawberries than you need, you can freeze them, too.)
2. Gather the ingredients.
Measure the mashed berries into a large bowl and stir in sugar, corn syrup and lemon juice. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
Pour the strawberry mixture into a Dutch oven and stir in water and pectin. Make sure you use powdered pectin for this recipe. Like liquid pectin, it’s made from a naturally occurring thickener found in some fruits, but the types don’t behave the same way when they’re cooked. So, powdered pectin it is.
3. Bring it to a boil.
Crank the burner up to high and let the mixture come to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. It’s going to get foamy, and that’s fine. The foam is simply the result of tiny bubbles gathering on the surface during the boiling process. Let the jam boil for exactly 1 minute (not a second longer—otherwise the mixture could lose its gelling power) and remember to stir, stir, stir.
4. Skim off the foam.
When the minute is up, take the Dutch oven off the heat and remove the foam with a big spoon. Missing a little won’t hurt the jam; the foam just doesn’t add much flavor because it’s mostly air.
5. Package the jam.
Carefully ladle the boiling-hot jam into jars or other freezable containers. Use a canning funnel if you have one—it’ll help keep the countertop clean and you won’t lose any of that precious jam. Continue pouring until there’s about a half inch of space between the jam and the top of the container; this is called headspace. Many canning kits include a tool that helps you measure the headspace, but it’s pretty easy to eyeball, too. Be sure to leave some headspace so the jam has room to expand as it freezes.
6. Let the jam set.
Cover the containers and let them stand at room temperature overnight or until the jam has set, but not longer than 24 hours. Freezer jams tend to be saucier than shelf-stable ones, so don’t worry if the end result isn’t completely firm. Refrigerate up to three weeks or freeze up to 12 months. And before you pop the top, let the frozen jam slowly thaw in the fridge instead of on the counter . Then grab the nearest biscuit-or piece of toast, waffle or, heck, even a pork chop-and slather away.
Strawberry photo credit: © Rita Maas/Reader’s Digest Assoc/GID