As much as I hate it, I have this picture of the “perfect mother” in my head. Naturally, there is no way I could ever live up to this image of a woman who can cook, clean and sew (probably at the same time), and who never so much as raises her voice at her adorable, curly-haired kids.
Well I did get the curly-haired kids part right, but aside from that I simply have no hope. In truth, there probably isn’t a mom out there that can live up to that standard (and if you can, please, for the sake of the rest of us, keep it to yourself).
So back in December, I attempted homemade jam for the first time. I was planning a Christmas party that involved homemade bread (that was really the frozen dough that you stick into pans and bake at home so you can feel like it is homemade. Sadly even making bread this way was a lot of work for me), jam and hot cocoa. ‘Tis the season for tight budgets, so I was trying to come up with a menu that was inexpensive, but didn’t seem cheap.
I wanted homemade jam and hadn’t a clue how to make it. So I asked my mother in law (a farmer’s wife and mother of seven who very nearly fits the super-mom description above), if she would give me a few bottles of her yummy jam to take home with me at Thanksgiving. Of course she obliged, but on the 14-hour journey home our ice chest took an unfortunate spill out of the van, and all the jam bottles broke. I considered for about 30 seconds trying to somehow salvage the jam, but there was no safe way with the broken glass.
Back at home, my mother-in-law suggested that I make jam myself and promised that I could do it. Much to my surprise, it turned out beautifully. I had one of those splendid moments when I almost felt like that perfect mom.
I don’t want to dwell too much on how easy it was to make homemade freezer jam because that will only diminish my huge sense of accomplish at mastering such a super-mommish task. So instead, I will share my recipe, and a reminder that it is strawberry season — if you hurry, you can probably get your berries on sale!
Fresh Strawberry Freezer Jam
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 Box (1.75 oz) Fruit Pectin — available at the grocery store in the canning aisle
2 Pints Fresh Strawberries
4 cups Sugar
3/4 cup Water
Several Freezer-Safe Glass or Plastic Jars with lids
- Wash containers on your high-heat dishwasher setting or scald in boiling water to sanitize
- Place berries in a colander and wash well. Remove the stems and leaves; then place in a large bowl.
- Crush the berries with a fork or potato masher, but do not puree. You want to have some small fruit chunks.
- Add sugar to berries and mix thoroughly.
- In a small saucepan, combine water and pectin. Mix gently over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Boil the pectin mixture for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Pour pectin mixture into berries and stir for three minutes.
- Quickly pour into the prepared containers, leaving a half-inch space at the top.
- Clean the top edge of the containers and secure the lids. Let stand at room temperature untouched for 24 hours.
- Store in freezer and refrigerate after opening.
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