Thursday, September 13, 2007

Raspberry and Strawberry Jam

My mother ruined all of us kids. She made homemade freezer jam every year and that is all the jam or jelly we ever had. As a result, I am completely incapabal of consuming any other kind. So to all you loyal readers -- Consider this fair warning-- If you have never before had freezer jam and are perfectly happy buying what is at the store. . . Do not follow this recipe or you will be ruined too. For once you have had it -- there is no going back to the store variety.

This blog entry may be boring, because I plan to go into detail about how to make freezer jam -- but it is so I can remember all the lessons I learned and the cost and the time involved. So. . . Let's begin.

First, you need berries. Here in Texas, I ordered berries through church from farms in Oregon. They arrive in 30 lb boxes IQF (or individually quick frozen-- that means they are not one solid ice block). I purchased 30 lbs of strawberries ($62) and 45 lbs of raspberries ($90). Then you need containers to put the jam in. First I emailed asking if anyone had mason jars they wanted to get rid of (since all my containers from years previously got thrown out in THE GREAT FREEZER DISASTER). Then I bought some freezer jam containers (seen in the first few pictures) and then I bought the TV infomercial swivel plastic container storage system organizer thingies and they worked the best. (in real terms ($75 for all of them).

Then you need the pectin. I found sure gell cheapest at Walmart (a 2 pack for $2.88). I bought 36 boxes. Tha is the recipe I have always done. . . it works great and tastes great. But I did see this new product and it caught my eye because it said "No cooking" and it was only $0.50. I thought I would give it a try. It was super easy . . . has the advantage of using 4 cups berries and only 1.5 cups sugar and took less than 2 minutes to make. It tasted great. Its yield was only 1 quart. (Suregell yields 2 quarts with only 3 cups of berries). So that could be expensive jam (of course they are both expensive, but this one is moreso) But for those wanting to make a small amount or who want a lower calorie, less sugar option. Don't hesitate! It works great.

I also tried the Ball brand of pectin and it worked just like the sure gell. (Also the kroger brand works great too).
Then you just follow the recipe and after all those batches. You are done! My only new trick is that it is OK to double the recipe and do 2 batches at a time. It really speeds it up!

Notice the swivel tv infomercial containers??? They work fabulously!

Now my 2 freezers are absolutely packed with Jam. Come on over and try some!!!

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