Thursday, March 26, 2009

Freezer Jam 1, Maggy 0

I headed to the local grocery store last night after work to grab some groceries I needed for dinner, and since my dad had informed me that they have strawberries on sale I figured I'd take a shot at the freezer jam. I wandered through the various aisles, scoring some great reusable twist seal containers (2 cups, perfect jam size IMO), a ginormous bag of sugar and worked my way down to the small canning section.

Now let's get this out right off, using pectin scares the hebee's out of me. I've had trouble making functional jello in the past. I can cook my pants off, and love every second of it. I'm a fly by the seat of my pants chef, I add what I want and what I think will work out. 99% of the time, it does. But the whole "this has to set properly, don't screw up the portions, yata yata" freaks me out a bit. So I'm scanning the aisle and see about 18 types of pectin, and my confidence is starting to shutter a bit. Then BAM! The miracle occurs! Right in front of my face is pectin just for freezer jam! Pre-portioned? Perfect! No cook? Even better! I throw a few packages in my cart and move on.

I get home and set to the task of cleaning and cutting the strawberries. Find a potato masher, and set to work making myself some crushed strawberries. This part was actually my favorite. Worked out quite a bit of aggression and was productive at the same time. I remember from when my grandma made freezer jam that's it's pretty straight forward. 2 cups sugar to each cup of fruit, let stand to soften, add pectin and POOF! Wonderful Freezer Jam. I mix the strawberries and sugar and set aside to work it's special magic. I grab the pectin, and start to read the directions.

I know what your thinking, I should have read them before I started all this. In hindsight I agree with that completely. The recipe on the box not only calls for Splenda (?!) but says to mix the sugar and pectin, then add the fruit. Um, a bit too late for that. After my initial moment of sheer panic, and keep reading, and notice in another recipe it says to mix the ingredients and just add the pectin, stirring for 3 mins.

I follow directions #2, and set the containers aside to chill out. I've also had some conflicting stuff with this, some says overnight, POS pectic package says 30 mins. I settled for a bedtime as a middle ground, and chuck them in the freezer about 9:30.

The next morning I realize I forgot to take pictures of this whole process (as was my plan) so I whip some out to do a mini photo shoot. At that point, I realize my jam endeavor was an epic fail. Not only has it not set at all, but the jam has completely separated into fruit on the top, goo in the middle, pectin/sugar goo on the bottom.

Although I'm sure my novice is slightly to blame for this, I was completely unimpressed with the Freezer Jam Pectin. The portion is great, but I didn't have 4 cups of fruit, I had 6. And it seemed that each container I had made about 1.25 cups of fruit. So unless I feel like tossing some of it (no way) or making a 12 cup batch, it was not actually helpful. The recipes on the back of the container called only for Splenda, and had no alternative amounts to people using good ol' white sugar.

Tonight, I'm going to the store (again) buying (more) strawberries, real honest to goodness pectic, pitching the old and starting over.


  1. Oh goodness, what will the youngin eat 10 years from now, dressed in skins, fighting off the bears? Sad day.

  2. The jam I make tonight, and he better frickin' like it too.


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