In most of the country it's prime strawberry season and one way to enjoy the taste of fresh strawberries all year round is to make freezer jam. If you haven't made this before and your head is swimming with images of huge pots of stewing fruit, tongs and boiling water baths I assure you that freezer jam (or "cheater jam" as I call it) is very simple, quick and really hard to screw up. The whole family can enjoy picking strawberries, your older kids can help you make it and then everyone can enjoy eating it! If you aren't near a "you pick it" strawberry joint, you can swing by the farmer's market like I did last weekend. Here's what you'll need:
- fresh lemon juice (some recipes don't require this)
I used the directions inside our box of pectin, but here are a few tutorials you might want to take a quick look at:
I only had a few proper canning jars around so I scrounged around for any glass jars I could find (eating a bunch of pickles so I could use the jar in the process). I used about 2 quarts of strawberries which made a LOT more than I expected and more than I anticipate eating in a year so I've already begun gifting them - to the upstairs neighbors who had a baby last week and to a friend who came for dinner this week. I used empty baby food jars to make some smaller servings for our single friends so I feel good about reusing some of those. (Remember to leave about a 1/2 inch of head space in any glass jars you freeze).
I'm pretty traditional with my jam eating and mostly use it on toast, but your kids may like it on pancakes, waffles or over ice cream. Our son likes it in his hair!
(Image: Carrie McBride)