2015 marks my 4th annual strawberry jam marathon weekend where we pick, clean, and cut tons and tons of strawberries so that I can make strawberry jam that will last us all year round. I just love my jam better than store bought jam. My jam has that fresh strawberry taste that just sends an awesome pop of freshness with each bite! YYYUUUMMMYYY!!
I have tried just about every method of making strawberry jam and I stand by the No-Cook Less Sugar Method Freezer Jam as the best on the planet. Now, I should tell you that the recipe I love, which comes directly from the Sure-Jell box, always is a bit runnier than what your normal jam. But, once you get it layered between two crackers or on top an English muffin, you are fine.
I was amazed that the less sugar method tasted just as good as the regular sugar method. The usual method of cooking requires 8 cups of sugar per 4 cups of strawberries. The less sugar recipe is only 3 cups of sugar per 4 cups of strawberries and gives you a much stronger strawberry flavor! I also learned a few things about myself…I am not a PRECISION COOKER that you need to be for the cook/canning method. Let’s just say that I almost had the fire department out here two years ago because of the amount of smoke that was created as the strawberries were boiling over onto my stove top! DISASTER! The no-cook method requires precision so make sure you will not be pulled away from your task at hand.
Here is how to make it:
Step 1. Head to the local farm to pick your fresh strawberries or buy them at the store if you do not have this lucky luxury that we do here in Georgia. We go to Southern Belle Farms in McDonough, GA.
Step 2. Take all of your yummy strawberries home, cut and clean them. I soaked mine in a bit of water first since they are filthy dirty. Do not clean them until you are ready to prepare your jam or they get soggy (been there…done that!). This is also a good time to make sure your mason jars are cleaned. Mason jars can usually be found at any local grocery store or in our Amazon store. They will have the Sure-Jell and all the other things you will need to make your jam in one place. It is quite convenient.
Step 3. Set out all four ingredients (note: I forgot to put water in my picture!). I also showed my handy-dandy gloves that I wear when I am cooking to protect my hands from sharp knives (I am an expert at stitches in my fingers) and water.
Step 4. Blend your strawberries in the food processor. The directions will state to use a smasher (you can use your potato masher) so that you have some chunks. I use my food processor because I do not like big chunks in my jam — I call that “mystery fruit”! But, you can still use your food processor and get some nice chunks by using your pulse button.
Step 5. Mix your sugar and pectin in a large saucepan, add water, bring to a boil and stir over medium high heat for one minute. Be sure to stir constantly so the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Step 6. Add the hot sugar and pectin mixture to your crushed strawberries and stir for 1-3 minutes. I set my timer for everything otherwise I can guarantee I will not stir long enough!
Step 7. Pour mixture into your clean mason jars using this wide mouth mason jar funnel. This step is important unless you want strawberry jam EVERYWHERE! They sell these at the grocery store or we sell them on our Amazon store. When I do this, I line up about 8 mason jars on my counter and go down the line pouring into each jar. I move from jar to jar as I go down the row (I should have shot a video of this…next year’s improvement!).
Step 8. Let your jars of jam sit for 24 hours before using them. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months and freezer for up to one year.