smut smut smut smut smut smut smut smut smut smut smut smut smut

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Strawberry Jam Story


For as far back as I can remember, every summer I used to help my mother make strawberry jam. Taking the greenery off was always my least favorite part of the job, even with the nifty little tool to do it with, and stirring was always my favorite part. No, I lie - my favorite part was eating the first piece of bread with fresh strawberry jam on it.

This was freezer jam so there was no cooking it, and while it always seemed like a long production to me, I now know that it takes a half hour from start to finish, including boiling the mason jars to clean them.

We did this every summer and that jam was the only jam we ever had in the house. It went on toast, it went on pancakes, it went in peanut butter and jam sandwiches and I guess I kind of took it for granted.

One year, I think I was about fourteen, we ran out of jam in May. Strawberry season doesn't begin this side of the 49th parallel until mid-June if you're lucky, close to July if you're not. So we had at least a month to go before we would be making jam. So a jar of strawberry jam was bought. Now I knew why my mother made jam every summer. It wasn't to save money, it wasn't because it was tradition, it wasn't for any reason other than homemade strawberry freezer jam tastes so much better than store bought jam. Like by a thousand degrees. Homemade strawberry jam is bright and tastes like you've just crushed a fresh strawberry. Store bought jam hardly even tastes like actual strawberries, it is mostly just sweet and red.

We gave up on having jam with our toast and our pancakes. We no longer had peanut butter and jam sandwiches. At least until the end of June when we gathered in the kitchen and made another batch of strawberry jam. I do believe that bottle of store bought strawberry jam sat in the fridge until my mom finally threw it in the garbage despite her horror at wasting food. Yes, I heard "there's children starving in Africa" more than once when I didn't want to finish  my supper, so throwing food out was a big deal in my house.

I still won't eat store bought strawberry jam, and I still try to make my own strawberry freezer jam every year. Like I did this morning.

Now I have to go because there is a piece of toast with fresh-made jam, with my name on it!

smut fixes everything (and homemade strawberry jam helps a lot of things, too!)


  1. OH man, my mom made freezer jam too, but she always put it in tupperware containers...I would LOVE to have your recipe! I miss homemade freezer jam SO MUCH. She occasionally made raspberry (my absolute favorite) but mostly strawberry.

    1. Raspberry freezer jam is super easy and amazing as well.

      I did answer you on twitter, but I have more room here. There are four ingredients and it's so easy. Strawberries, sugar, liquid pectin and lemon juice.

      Get the liquid certo at your grocery store or walmart or whatever (and ask if you can't find it, they don't always put it where you think it would make sense to put it) I'm not sure if it'll be called Certo in the US -- ask for liquid pectin - you want the liquid, not the powdered.

      There's a recipe sheet included in the bottle (at least there is here) and it has both freezer and cooked jams in it. Strawberry is the first one listed on the freezer jam.

      Now, I increase the amount of strawberries and lemon juice, and reduce the sugar a bit and it still sets up just fine, but you might want to follow the recipe exactly the first time around.

      If for some reason the liquid pectin they sell in the US doesn't come with recipes, just let me know and I'll give it to you.

    2. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm definitely gonna try this once we get settled into our new place! And I'll let you know if the recipe isn't included.

      Thanks again!


  2. Thank you for the post! I make strawberry jam and peach preserves every summer. That's usually what everyone gets for Christmas and or Hanukkah. I do hot water canning so I can mail it!

    Love homemade jam!!!

    1. peach freezer jam is also really good -- but you have to make sure you use really juicy peaches

      the peach preserves sound yummy -- is that basically a jam as well, or more like peach slices?

    2. Basically like peach jam but with bigger pieces and I throw in some clove, cinnamon, and ginger. It's a spiced peach preserves.

  3. We always do the cooked jam and the kids are always there when Gram skims the foam off the cooking jam. It makes an awesome sundae. We also don't boil the jars, instead we wash well with hot soapy water and a little bit of bleach then put them in a cold oven and then heat the oven to 200 degrees F.