Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

I’ve been a busy girl this week!  I have been elbows deep in strawberries whenever local toddler lets me.  I bought a flat of strawberries from Prochaska Farm at the Canton Farmers Market on Sunday.  I just finished up turning the entire flat into freezer jam.

Why freezer jam?  A few reasons.  The first, is the taste.  Preserved shelf stable jam is very tasty, but to me, freezer jam tastes just like fresh berries.  Secondly, it is much faster and easier.  You don’t have to get the canner going and deal with preserving the jars after you prepare the jam.  I can make freezer jam alone while wrangling a toddler (although I aim for nap time).  I do not attempt to can things alone usually.  I try to wait until I have help with either the canning or the toddler.  It’s convenient to be able to make freezer jam alone, either when my kiddo is napping or mostly this week I made it while he was watching some cartoons.  (Yes I limit screen time, but some well placed Sesame Street works wonders in actually accomplishing things)

Enough with the chit-chat.  Let me get to the reason you are reading!

Low Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam

Ingredients:

  • One box Sure Jell low sugar pectin (pink box)
  • 3 cups sugar (I prefer the Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups crushed strawberries (approximately 2 quarts of fresh berries)

Directions:

The Sure Jell pectin comes with directions in the package, always check those to be sure that you are following the correct directions.  I will break down the steps here so you can see just how easy it is!

Assemble all the components

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.comStrawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

Large pot and spoon for cooking the pectin mixture, canning funnel and ladle, measuring cups, bowl and potato masher for crushing berries

Mix pectin and sugar well in large pot, set aside.  Clean, de-stem and crush berries, approximately one cup at a time.

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

Add water to pectin mixture, heat over medium-high heat while stirring constantly.  Once pectin mixture reaches a boil, continue to boil and stir constantly for one full minute.  Remove from heat, stir in crushed berries and stir until well combined.

Pour mixture into jars leaving a half inch of headspace(I usually use a mixture of pints and half pints)  Place lids and bands and let cool for up to 24 hours on counter and then place into freezer for up to one year.

One batch of jam will yield approximately 4 pints, or 8 half pints.

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

Quick Tip: Freezing Celery

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Let’s talk celery.  You buy a big bunch with great intentions.  After a while, the celery starts to look a little sad.  You can wrap your celery in foil to make it last longer, but eventually, we have to give up the fight.

Or do we?

Save your celery my friends!

Now, according to every resource out there, celery needs to be blanched before freezing.  I’m sure if you feel like going down that path, it will work delightfully.  For me, freezing without blanching works just fine.  The only applications I use my frozen celery for are things like soups and stews.  If you were to need your frozen celery for any other purpose, you might find it to be too soft.

Wash and dry your celery.  Dice into slightly larger sections than you will need for the final destination.  Freeze on a baking sheet and then place into a zip top bag.

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Look at you, combating food waste and saving your celery!  You are a Real Food superhero!

Quick Tip – Lentils

Lentils are a star player in our house.  We have been making a lot more vegetarian and vegan dishes and my husband doesn’t really like beans.  Lentils are a superfood, with somewhere around 16g of fiber and protein in one cup!  Today I will give a quick run down of how I buy, sort and store lentils.

Lentils can be pricey depending on where you buy them.  In keeping with our desire to buy locally sourced goods, I purchase them in bulk bags from Garry at Natural Local Foods Express/Pure Pastures.

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Lentils, like any other dried bean/legume should be sorted before cooking.  This is because there can be rocks and other debris that are picked up when they are harvested.  To save time, I like to sort mine before putting them up for storage.  Just scan through small amounts at a time and pick out anything that looks odd.  I then store my lentils in an airtight glass container that I picked up at Ikea.

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I also follow the exact same protocol for split peas and any other dried bean.  Keep them in a cool, dark place and they will be good for upwards of a year.  Cooking lentils is easy.  Be sure to give them a quick rinse and boil three cups of water for every one cup of dry lentils.  After the water boils, add the lentils and bring back to a boil.  Turn down to simmer and cover for approximately 30 minutes.

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