I love local food. I really love local pesticide-free food. Especially strawberries. This year we took the whole crew, including my visiting parents, out for some good ol’ strawberry picking fun. With my parents in tow this meant we had a one child to one adult ratio. I’m thinking that must be what Heaven is like.
We picked 18 pounds of strawberries. We definitely enjoyed a few pounds washed and eaten straight out of the bowl. But we had enough discipline to make jam and bags of frozen strawberries with the remainder. First off here’s the method we used for freezing whole strawberries to save for juicing and smoothies. And now for the ultra-relaxed jam method:
Strawberry Freezer Jam/Strawberry Mint Freezer Jam
(I did two batches for a total of 16 c. strawberries)
8 cups washed and de-stemmed strawberries, 1 cup local raw honey -yes that’s it-
Six 10 ounce jelly jars with rings and tops (Freezer safe)
Wash and Remove stems from strawberries, I use a grapefruit spoon, so easy!
Put Strawberries into a pot or large bowl to mash. I just used the pan.
Once strawberries are mashed, put heat on medium high and bring to a boil. Add Honey.
Stir, Stir and Stir frequently. Once it hits a boil lower the temp and simmer. Continue to stir periodically and watch.
Begin watching for thickness. I read lots of tips for how to do this but none really worked super well for me. My best tip is to feel the thickness with your wooden spoon when you stir. Hopefully that makes sense! I know… all the recipe followers are like “feel it? really Erica?” I’m not a good recipe writer. But I promise, you will feel the thickness change as you stir. This isn’t totally science. Your strawberries might be in a different mood than mine and take longer to thicken.
Once you’ve “felt the change” move the mixture away from the heat and let it cool a bit. Just for reference, it took my strawberry/honey mix 40 minutes to thicken the way I wanted.
When you make freezer jam without add-ins the texture will NOT be like a jelly. It will be a thick jam with little pieces of Strawberries. And it will be perfectly amazing.
Let the jam cool until you can stick your finger in it comfortably. Yes, I know, there I go with the crappy instructions again. Warm your jelly jars a little by placing them in a pan or sink of warm water.
Ladle jelly into jar and seal with lids. Leave some space at the top of the jar to allow for any expansion that might happen in the freezer. Let the jars hang out for awhile and continue to cool down. Once they have cooled stick those delightful things into the freezer for a rainy day.
I added mint from my garden to the second batch. The exact variety I used was chocolate mint and it turned out so yummy. I finely chopped and added the mint about 10/15 minutes before the jam had thickened to my liking.
Oh… and this guy was my helper. He made the jam just a little sweeter.