Have you looked at the ingredient list of a jar of conventional jam or jelly lately?
Sugar, corn syrup, more sugar, and probably some preservatives you can’t pronounce.
This past weekend, I tried my hand at making freezer jam, the lazy-cook’s alternative to canning. It was awesome! Not only did I have 3 16 oz batches of fresh fruit jam in my freezer/fridge within 30 minutes, by the second batch I was brave enough to start experimenting with flavor combinations like peach-raspberry (pictured above).
Below are the handful of easy steps that stand between you and your own blackberry (or raspberry, strawberry, peach, blueberry, pear, or cherry) preserves!
1 pint of locally-picked blackberries (or approximately 1 2/3 c. of any fresh fruit)
1/3 cup organic sugar (other recipes call for much more, but it isn’t necessary)
2 tbsp. instant pectin (there are many brands available, I chose Ball, the same company that makes all the jars)
1 tbsp lemon juice (only necessary for recipes that involve peaches, to keep them from browning)
1. Wash and drain your blackberries. Even if they’re organic, there could be leaves and bits of dirt that won’t taste good as jam.
2. Smash them to your desired level of smushiness. We like big chunks, so I showed some mercy, but you can even give it a pulse or two in the food processor if you like smooth jelly.
Just keep in mind you need about 1 2/3 cup of fruit mixture to end up with about 16 oz of jam. (Note! This is a great step in which to involved your kids if they’re interested in helping).
3. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar and pectin. Then add the fruit mixture. Stir for 3 minutes.
4. Ladle the jam mixture into clean freezer jars (keeping 1/2 inch headspace to allow for food expansion during freezing) and let stand for 30 minutes.
5. Voila! The jam will keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, and up to a year in the freezer.
For some alternative recipes that sound really exiting, check out this article on NPR.org: Freezer Jam: A Baby Step To Canning. Next weekend, I’m gonna try apple and/or pumpkin butter…stay tuned!