Strawberry Freezer Jam Discovery

I promised I’d post about my strawberry freezer jam experience, so here it is. I must confess that the results of this recipe were disappointing after the Homemade Peach Jam experience. See my conclusions at the end to see why. For now, here is the recipe I followed. It is the typical freezer jam recipe you get when you buy a pack of pectin, but I did what it said NOT to do (reduce the sugar)…

Strawberry Freezer Jam – Reduced Sugar

1lb strawberries
2.5 tsp lemon juice
3.5 tsp pectin
1.25 cups sugar (original recipe calls for 1.4 cups)
Yield: 3 cups jam = a little over 1.5 lb (1lb 10oz)
  1. Cut the tops off of the strawberries and dump in a food processor. Chop to desired chunkiness (or the lack thereof).

    1lb of Strawberries

    1lb of Strawberries

    Dump in Food Processor

    Dump in Food Processor

    Strawberries in Food Processor

    Food Processor-ize!

  2. Combine strawberries and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir mixture for about 5 minutes while it continues to boil.

    Cooking Strawberry Freezer Jam

    Looks like tomato soup…

  3. Add sugar. Stir constantly for 1 minute while mixture is still at a rolling boil.
  4. Remove from heat. Let cool. Dump in a jar.

    Jar of Strawberry Freezer Jam

    How domestic :)

  5. Eat it!

    Strawberry Jam on Toast

    Yummy!

Conclusions

This jam was a success in that it tastes good and is only 23 calories per TBSP as opposed to Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves at 50 calories per TBSP. However, I have to say that I was disappointed in it for 2 reasons:

  1. The jam turned out a little runny. I realize that the recipe did warn me that if I didn’t put in the full amount of sugar, the pectin wouldn’t be able to set the jam. I figured a 10% reduction wouldn’t do much harm, but it looks like it did make a difference. Also, even with the reduction in sugar, I feel like the jam is still a bit too sweet! I will be looking in to making the jam again, except next time I want to try it the old-fashioned way – without pectin.
  2. After all the time and effort I put in to this, in my opinion, Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves tastes better and is cheaper! You can get it at Costco for cheaper than what it cost me to make this jam! I got the strawberries at what I thought was a really good deal ($2.50/lb), but it wasn’t good enough. I found that you’ve got to get the strawberries at about $1.85/lb just to meet (not beat) Costco’s price. (See the price breakdown in the table below.)
    My Homemade Freezer Jam
      Price Calories
    1lb strawberries $2.50 145
    lemon juice $0.03 3
    pectin $0.26 0
    sugar $0.29 953
      $3.08 1101
         
    per oz: $0.12 42
    per TBSP: $0.06 23
         
    — VS —
         
    Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves
      Price Calories
    2 32 oz jars at Costco: $6.05
    per oz: $0.09
    per TBSP: $0.05 50

So, until I find a more successful recipe AND find strawberries at a screaming deal, I would recommend simply getting a jar of Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves – assuming you are okay with 2x the calories.

Homemade Peach Jam

Peaches went on sale at Kroger for $.99/lb this week, so I set about making my very first homemade jam. So exciting! There’s just something especially gratifying about spreading fruity goodness – that you made with your own two hands – over a piece of toast. The jam turned out delicious!! I think it has about half the calories as Smucker’s peach preserves, but I didn’t measure exactly how much jam my recipe produced when I was done (and my husband and I already ate quite a bit), so I can’t be sure. I plan to make strawberry jam this week so I will be more on the ball the next time around. The cost of the homemade jam was also about half that of Smucker’s peach preserves ($2.54 per 18oz jar vs about $2.50 for closer to 36oz). But the real reason I made the jam was because it was fun and exciting!! I learned how to easily get the skin off of peaches and watched as the concoction turned into a jelly-like form (without pectin). I love learning new things. So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Simple & Delicious Peach Jam

7 medium peaches (about 7 cups)

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cups sugar

  1. Peel and slice the peaches. Peeling trick: Put peaches in boiling water for 15-20 seconds, then dunk in cool ice water. The peach skins will rub right off! I found that it was easier to cut the peach in half and remove the pit before pulling off the skin. Trying to do this the other way around can lead to a slippery mess.

    .Image

  2. Put the peaches in a food processor and chop to desired chunkiness. Some people like their jam completely smooth. Me, I like a few chunks of fruity deliciousness in there. :)
  3. Put the peach mixture in a pan. Dump in the sugar and lemon juice. Don’t stir yet! Let sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature. This is supposed to release the natural peach juices.

    2013-08-09 08.04.06
  4. Bring peach mixture to a boil and continue stirring for about 30 minutes. You should have someone else in the kitchen with you to keep you company. :) Actually, my sweet hubby did this part for me and I kept him company. :) He’s such a keeper! You’ll know it’s done when the jam reaches a temperature of about 220 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is to boil out all the watery content to get a more jelly-like consistency. If you don’t have a thermometer, another test would be to freeze a spoon, put some jelly on it, put it back in the freezer for about a minute, then tip the spoon vertically to see if the jelly runs off like a liquid, or sticks together like a jelly.2013-08-09 10.19.52
  5. Let cool and then put in a jar! I didn’t mess with sealing the jar because I know Kyle and I are going to eat this fairly quickly. :)2013-08-09 23.54.062013-08-09 23.34.05

Hope you enjoy!!