Strawberries are in! The phrase we love to hear that signals it’s time once again to put up the fruit.
Over the weekend I made a couple of batches of strawberry freezer jam using what I’ll call the “Old Method”. The jam started firming up right away and by the next day it was completely jelled. Absolutely delicious on toast!
Seeing that there were still 2 1/2 quarts of berries on the kitchen counter I made sure to pick up some more SureJell powdered fruit pectin at the grocery store and when I returned I vowed to make one more batch.
This time, the package insert was different than that in the previous two boxes of pectin. I thought, well they must be improving things over at Kraft, so I’ll try this new way of making freezer jam. Too bad I followed that line of logic. I cleaned some plastic containers like I had done before to get ready to make this batch of jam.
The New Method, which turned out to be the wrong method, of making freezer jam was as follows:
- Stem the strawberries and toss them into a large, flat-bottomed bowl or saucepan.
- Crush about half of a quart of stemmed strawberries at one time with a potato masher.
- Pour crushed berries into 2 cup glass measuring cup.
- Measure 4 c. sugar into large saucepan.
- Add one box SureJell powdered fruit pectin to the sugar.
- Add 1 c. water and stir on medium-high heat. Heat to boiling and boil for one minute with constant stirring. Take off heat.
- Add 2 c. crushed berries and stir until no longer grainy and sugar has completely dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Ladle jam into jars and cover with lids.
- Let sit undisturbed for 24 hours at room temperature.
- Label and date jars before storing in the freezer.
Using this new method you could see the fruit being liquefied as it was added to the hot sugary pectin mixture. It took 15-20 minutes to heat up all that syrup to boiling, which is way more than using the Old Method of making strawberry freezer jam.
I poured the steaming hot liquid into the clean plastic containers and about halfway through I wondered if it would be ok to eat. Would the hot liquid draw some of the plastic material into my food?
The rest of the hot jam was poured into a few jelly jars I had on hand. I trusted the glass not to interfere with my food at higher temperatures, but I’m not too sure what’s happening with the plastics.
After a day the jam made using the New Method didn’t set. It was a recipe failure, so I called the fine people at SureJell.
I was assured that the Old Method is the right way to make freezer jam. Both the website and the on-hold phone message refer to the Old Method as well. In fact the agent I spoke with wanted to know where I got the directions that I followed in the New Method. She seemed so confused when I told her it was on their package insert. Too funny! (SureJell pectin UPC: 0 43000 29320 1. Use by: 06 May 2017 D4 23:06.)
Here’s the directions for the Best Way to Make Strawberry Freezer Jam.
When you first look at the directions it seems like there are a lot of steps, but it really doesn’t take that long to make freezer jam using the Old Method – maybe only 30 minutes. Wash containers, clean and crush strawberries and stir in sugar. Add hot liquid pectin to mixture and stir to dissolve. Fill containers and cover. Label and put in freezer the next day. Done! Yum!!