Summer is one of my favorite times of year...especially strawberry and raspberry season. Though the weather, depending on the Ohio day, can very steamy and muggy and sticky, I love going with my husband and my kids and pick raspberries and strawberries. Raspberries are more adventuresome, considering the ones we generally pick are wild...so I love the adventure and it reminds me of the time of year (usually around the 4th of July) when my husband and I got engaged and our anniversary (July 3rd). Well, anyway, I thought I might share what I have done with our strawberries we have picked this year. First of all, I am hoping to have a good crop of strawberries next year, as my little girl bought me 6 plants for Mother's Day (with the help of my awesome Mom-in-law). We have already enjoyed a few fruits this year, but next year there should be much more! I can't wait! For our strawberries, we generally go to Wengers Produce. The land they farm on is the land rented from Kyle's Granddad's land, so it is right down the road from their home. If you do not have a close produce stand in your county, check out a local farmer's markets, generally they are held on Saturday Mornings, and there are lots of fun items there. At our Logan County Farmer's Market, we currently have maple syrup, local honey, locally made cheese, pastries, flowers and strawberries. As the summer goes on there will be other veggies and fruits available!
My family and I went out a couple of weeks ago to pick a couple buckets of strawberries. Needless to say it was an adventure to go with a 3 year old and 4 month old, but we had fun and we will have those memories! The strawberries were juicy, a vibrant bright red and ready to be picked. We brought our strawberries home and made some yummy things with them!
One of the first things we made was Freezer Strawberry Jam! My husband loves peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches (I am just a peanut butter fan!) and he has those throughout the year for lunch, my daughter has started to love them too! Jam can be used for many fun recipes, which I am planning on sharing with you as well!! One of the best parts about doing the freezer jam is there is no cooking and no processing of the jars, so you can use any jar!! I save all my jars I use throughout the year, for example, olive, pickles, salsa, jelly jars, again any jar can be used since you do not have to have a seal!
Here is how to make yummy freezer jam:
First you need to buy Surejell Certo Premium Liquid Fruit Pectin (this recipe can be found on the inside packet, as this is their freezer jam recipe). (I use the liquid, because with the powder, you have to boil water, and with two kids, I like the easier methods the best and again I am sticking with the no cooking method!!) There is a lot of sugar in this recipe, but there are also other types of Surejell you can buy that are Reduced Sugar, just look where they sell your Surejell, which can be found in the bakery aisle. For each recipe of jam, you will need one pouch of liquid pectin per recipe.You will need 2 pints of strawberries, whole to start with. Out of the 2 pints you will need 2 cups of squashed strawberries (after squishing them with my hands the first time, I used my immersion blender--thanks to my hubby's idea!!)
You will need 4 cups of sugar (yes I said 4 cups of sugar!!)
Also, the recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. I forgot to buy lemons, so I used my refrigerated lemon juice, which worked perfectly.
First thing you do is get your strawberries to a good consistency and measure out 2 cups. You will add your 4 cups of sugar, mix well and let them set up for 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes to make sure your sugar gets mixed in well.
Pour your Surejell Certo Premium Liquid Fruit Pectin into a small bowl and add the 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, mix well.
After the 10 minutes is up, add the Surejell and lemon juice to the mixture and stir for 3 minutes.
Then pour into clean jars with lids. You will have to set your jars on the counter for 24 hours to set before putting them into your freezer.
One batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam usually yields 2.5 regular pint jars (ball or mason), you may get more or less jars per batch if you are using other various sizes of jars.