Friday, June 09, 2017

How to make uncooked (freezer) jam using products available in 2017

The kids and I went to Sauvie Island and picked 8 pounds of strawberries. They were so red and basically overripe that I didn't want to cook them and lose that beautiful color.

I usually cook jam, so it's been several years since I did freezer jam. I turned to master teacher Google, and found that the official recipes posted by Ball and Sure Jell are different from what I remembered. What I remembered from 5+ years ago: a product labeled "freezer pectin", no cooking, and very little sugar. You just mixed it all up in a bowl, and voila.

What I'm seeing now: recipes that are labeled as "freezer jam" or "no cook jam", but for some reason involve cooking, normal pectin (as opposed to freezer pectin), and a lot of added sugar. Seemed weird. The consumer comments confirmed my suspicion. People are saying this isn't the recipe they remember, and to add insult to injury, they ruined their beautiful strawberries with a jam that won't set. 

I figured out that sometime in the last few years, the Ball packaging changed from a clearly labeled freezer pectin product to a set of new labels and canister that are confusing people. 

This is the OLD  freezer pectin product that you probably remember:

And this is what you need to look for now:

The product is now labeled Instant Pectin. This is what you need for the freezer jam. Make sure not to get the stuff called Classic Pectin if you want to make the old freezer jam. It's also not the same as the product called Low Sugar Pectin. All of these are different. I had to go to 3 different stores to find the Instant Pectin. They had it at Walmart.

To make matters worse, the Ball website lists many recipes for what they call "freezer jam using classic pectin".  See the 2 star average review. Not good.

If you peel open the label on the Instant Pectin jar, the freezer jam recipe is inside. You can peel it open and read it right inside the grocery store, to make sure you get enough fruit.  But I did this with our fresh-picked strawberries and I can now say it's a tried-and-true recipe. The recipe inside the label is enough for 2 jars, 8 oz each. I doubled the recipe in an attempt to get 4 jars. I actually ended up yielding 5 jars. I think it's because I used the immersion blender on the fruit. My kids insisted they didn't want chunks. I was a little nervous because some reviewers said that freezer jam tends to only work with chunky jam. But mine turned out fine.

Start by combining the following:
1 and 1/3 cups granulated white sugar

Then add 3 and 1/3 cups mashed strawberries.

As the label says, stir for 3 minutes. You must stir for 3 minutes. It was at this point that I used the immersion blender.

Pour into sterilized jars (I just used the dishwasher) and put lids on. I use glass jars and leave a generous amount of head space. I got 5 8oz jars from this recipe.

The label says the jam will set in about 30 minutes. I don't think that's exactly true. I felt like my jam got thicker after sitting in the fridge overnight. 

Users on the Ball site complained about runny jam. This jam is not really a gelled jam, but it's not runny either. Here are some photos of my jam.  Here I'm holding the jar open tipped to one side and you can see it is not pouring out. It's definitely thick enough to hold its shape in the jar.

However, when I spread it on toast I usually use a spoon instead of a knife. Think of a curd or pudding consistency. It's soft but it's not like it falls off the toast after you spread it.

It's a beautiful jam and very, very delicious!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails