June 21, 2014

Grandma Ru's Strawberry Freezer Jam

Well, our oven is still not working. I have my dad looking into contact information for a repair guy. I am hoping it can get fixed soon as I really miss my oven. In the meantime, I get to use my mom's kitchen! While I technically didn't bake anything tonight I had to share my first experience making strawberry jam.

I have been thinking for a while that it would be fun to go pick strawberries and make jam. It's that time of year when the strawberries are just perfect. There was no question as to what recipe we would use. My grandma's strawberry freezer jam is the best in the world. There isn't any other jam I prefer. Ryan really likes it too so it's a win-win in the Brown house. Gram uses a recipe she had from buying MCP pectin and it's been a family favorite my whole life.

With Ryan in Brazil I have been looking to plan my days out so that I don't miss him too much (it works, but only a little bit). So I convinced my mom it would be a great idea to do our own batch of jam today. We stopped by my Gram's house for the recipe and then made our way to Remlinger's. We decided early on that we didn't prefer to pick our own. There may be others out there who have a preference but we figured out that the cost of a whole flat wasn't significantly different than U-pick by the pound. Time saved plus we got to stop by a few consignment shops as we made our way home. One quick stop at the grocery store to get the other ingredients and we were on our way (after our afternoon naps of course).

Here's the recipe we used:
3 1/4 cup strawberries (I mushed them with a potato masher)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 bag (or box) pectin
1 cup Karo syrup
4 cups sugar

The berries, lemon juice, and pectin were stirred together and left to rest for a half hour. Once I completed one batch I started the next. We ended up making three batches as we only purchased 3 boxes of pectin. Once the 30 minutes was up I put the whole mixture in a pot on the stove and warmed it ever so slightly as I added in the 4 cups of sugar. This wasn't a step in the recipe directions but came as a recommendation from my Gram. I am glad I listened as it helped dissolve the sugar quickly. 

As I finished this process Gram pointed out that the recipe we followed from her was different than the one we pulled from the box of pectin we purchased. Turns out we bought a different kind than the one she had used in the past. Oops. It was the same brand but still different and the instructions do say to only use the recipe for the kind of pectin you buy. Oops again. Gram left later in the evening very concerned that the jam wouldn't set up properly.

Once the sugar was dissolved I filled the jars we had washed. I used a funnel just so that my risk of spilling was reduced. Yes, this is a possibility with me. I mean, come on, my blog is called Flour on My Apron. Flour, jam, doesn't matter. We filled about 11 jars and still had some strawberries left over which just wasn't acceptable. The solution: Mom whipped up some Bisquick shortcake! A little fresh strawberries mixed with our jam topped with Cool Whip. Great dinner!

The last step is to let the jam sit at room temperature for 24 hours and then put it in the freezer. My mom texted me not too long ago to let me know it looks like the jam is setting up fine so tomorrow evening we'll get to put it away in the freezer to later enjoy throughout the year.

The whole process wasn't very complicated and in the end probably didn't cost me much more than buying store bought jam. Plus it's another family tradition from my Gram that I get to add to my checklist. Can't wait for Ryan to get home so he can see what I made him!

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