Just because you can can strawberry jam, doesn't mean you have to. Freezer jam is a popular option, a simple method that combines fresh berries with a pectin solution that's cooked separately and stirred in. Because the berries never see heat, this jam retains a much fresher strawberry flavor. Mashing rather than puréeing the berries gives a jam with better texture; a purée may take on a gummy set.
This recipe calls for standard dry pectin. There are two major brands, Kraft Sure-Jell and Ball RealFruit. Both work equally well and are interchangeable. Though you may be tempted to scale back the sugar on this recipe, it does more than sweeten; it helps pectin do its thing. For a lower-sugar jam, you'll need to use a different pectin.
- 2 cups mashed fresh strawberries
- 4 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 1.75 oz packet dry pectin
- ¾ cup water
Rinse the berries, and pat dry. With a paring knife, remove the hulls. Quarter the berries, or chop coarsely.
Place the berries in a non-reactive container. Crush the berries with a potato masher until the berries are broken down, but still have some texture. Measure out 2 cups of the mashed berries; reserve any extra for another use.
Add the sugar to the mashed berries, and stir to combine thoroughly.
Let stand 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan, combine the dry pectin and water. Stir over medium-high heat until the pectin dissolves completely. (It may be lumpy at first.) Bring to a full boil for exactly 1 minute, and remove from heat. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.
Pour the pectin directly into the berry-sugar mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined.
Pour the jam into clean half-pint mason jars or plastic containers, leaving 1/2" headspace. Seal the jars, and let stand for 24 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Thawed jam can keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.