The Smitten Chicken

Jam Good

Every summer I make freezer jam.  This summer I was a bit busy with moving across the country and having a baby…or both :), to get any made.  In fact, I had a little still in my freezer before we moved away.  So my dear California friends got to sample some.  I may be a bit stingy with it. 🙂 
When we moved, I went to the store and bought some jam for PB&J.  Now you can call me a jam snob. That stuff was GROSS!!!  (No offense to Smuckers)  My kiddos would hardly touch it.  In fact, we have started making PB&H (honey) to make up for it. 
I finally gave in and bought some strawberries to make jam!  Aren’t they pretty?  I had to threaten the family to NOT EAT THE STRAWBERRIES so I could save every last one for the jam! 

Here are a few tips for getting the fruit:
1- Buy the berries in season.  June is your best month for berries.  They will sell for under $2.00/lb.  I have found mine for around $1.25/lb.
2- Sometimes the ‘pick it yourself’ berries in the area aren’t that great of a deal!  They will charge about what the grocery stores do and you have to do all the work! 🙂  But check, I just haven’t found any.

My biggest secret……Call the farms in the area and ask if they sell jam berries.  These are berries that are more ripe than the ones you typically would purchase so they can’t sell them at full price!  But call ahead, they usually need time to get them ready and set aside for you.  I once bought a 5 gallon bucket of raspberries for $15.  It was a steal!!!!  Also, the strawberries that I bought had the stems all removed.  I literally had to wash and mash…fastest jam ever!  And the jam tastes better because the berries are more ripe!  So call around!  But if I can’t find any jam berries, you are in trouble!  jk

Here are some of my tips for making great jam:
1- You need strawberries, pectin and sugar.  Pectin you can find in the grocery store right next to all the canning supplies.
2- Follow the recipe that comes with your pectin.  I am not going to do a tutorial here because each brand of pectin has its own recipe.  FOLLOW IT! 
3- Measure EXACTLY!  Don’t guess, don’t eye-ball it, measure exactly!  If you don’t, your jam won’t set. There are also different recipes included in the pack for other berries, combos or even cooked jam (just do freezer jam, it is sooooo much easier!)
4- I like to use the Sure-Jell brand pictured above.  It calls for less sugar than most pectins do.  My opinion is that this jam tastes more like the original strawberry.  It also has a recipe you can make with Splenda, but that stuff makes me sick. 🙂
5- I mash my berries with a potato masher.  I don’t like to blend it because I like chunks of fruit in my jam.
6- Enlist the hubby!  Seriously, they are great mashers!

Then sit back and enjoy your hard work!  Aren’t they beautiful!?!  And now you are a domestic goddess!  And will never eat store bought jam again!  Welcome to the jam snob club!  Its just so jam good! 🙂

That’s what I have been doing this week.  Oh and these cuties started school.  The one in the middle thinks she is big enough to go to. 🙂 There may or not have been tears this last week from her….and me!  I am having fun with my babies here at home!  So cliche, but when did they get so big????

Happy Jamming
Jen

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