I brought the kiddo strawberry picking today, which was quite entertaining. Once he figured it out, he would pick one, take a bite, throw it down on the ground with gusto and pick another (repeat). I tried to get him to eat the whole thing but no luck, so... I had to pick kind of quickly, then the skies opened up. Blah, blah blah, I ended up with less strawberries than I had hoped for, but still enough for 5 half pint jars of freezer jam and some other berries left over to freeze. My wish for a chest freezer has not come true yet (though I'm told it may), so in the meantime I really don't have a ton of freezer space to spare. Good thing it wasn't sunny and that my 15 month old wasn't a super helpful berry picker.
Onto the freezer jam. I had never heard of this phenomenon. Maybe I just wasn't listening. It is SO easy, and it made me feel so domestic. It is a quick recipe and stores in the freezer for a 6-12 months or 3 weeks in the refrigerator. It was also a money saver, because I got 5 or so pounds of berries for 8-9 dollars (after my CSA discount at the farm), and I made 5 jars of jam out of only 2/3 of them. Considering Adam eats PB&J most days for lunch, that is sweet! I am waiting for a month from now when he tells me he is sick of strawberry jam..... Again, I digress.
There are a couple different ways to make freezer jam. Ball's makes special pectin specifically for freezer jam. I bought 2 packages but did not use them today. I wanted to see if I could find a less sugary option. I found one in this recipe. It is good - different from regular jam - not as sweet (tastes more like you're just eating the fruit), and the agar makes it a tiny bit reminiscent of jello. It still spreads, but not like sugary yummy jam. I'm happy with it, but want to try the freezer jam pectin to test it out. The freezer jam pectin just puts me off a bit, as the list of ingredients is a bit longer than I'd like. We shall see. There are lots of other freezer jam recipes out there that I plan on reading and playing around with. I definitely recommend trying it.