Our family each Christmas has an inside joke about how 'heavy' the parcels from Auntie Dianne are! That is because my dear sister-n-law, Dianne, sends each family member a parcel at Christmas. She never minds how old her niece or nephew is, they still receive a Christmas parcel. The reason each parcel is heavy?... because she always sends jars of her yummy summer jam. We have photos each Christmas!
But truthfully, when the end of January rolls around and the last spoonful of Auntie Dianne's jam has been spread on morning toast, I always feel a bit sorry. Sorry her yummy Okanagan fruit jam has been eaten up, and but also sorry that I didn't make any jam the previous summer (besides my yearly Strawberry freezer jam).
I am referring to the yummy concoctions that are cooked on the stovetop and packed into those canning jars always kicking around on the pantry floor. So this year I am trying to stretch my limited jam-making talents.
I have managed to come up with a nifty improvement for my ubiquitous Strawberry Freezer jam method. It is actually quite good! It is a blender method and makes a delicious Strawberry puree. It is delicious - think strawberry parfait, cheescake, with vanilla ice cream and of course pancakes. My blender puree method is posted below.
Otherwise, my project is to make jam with approximately 50lbs of last summer's blueberries still stashed in our freezer. They didn't get used up over the winter; for some reason we didn't bake up the usual amount of blueberry cobblers/crisps (it was one of those winters) So I intend to make as much cooked blueberry jam & other blueberry -fruit combo jam as I can!
Before we can say August long weekend, it will be blueberry season again in the Fraser Valley. I can never turn down fresh Fraser Valley blueberries - it is a summer tradition.
Strawberry Puree Freezer Jam
Ingredients:8 cups strawberries, hulled - like ones from our local Rotary Club
1 package of Freshana Freezer Jam mix or 1 box light pectin crystals
3 cups granulated sugar
In your blender add cleaned, hulled, crushed strawberries 2 - 3 cups at a time, and lemon juice. At the same time add sugar and pectin crystals and blend until the strawberry mixture is pureed.
Pour into six 1-cup airtight containers, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Let stand for 30 minutes then cover with lids. Let stand undisturbed at room temperature until set, usually it is set within the hour but could take up to 24 hours.. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 8 months.
This blender method makes a delicious Strawberry puree. It is delicious - think strawberry parfait, cheescake, with vanilla ice cream and of course pancakes. It is sooo pretty the freezer jam pectin crystals makes a really nice firm puree mixture. Be sure to put a few pints aside in your freezer for Christmas desserts.
CERTO® Blueberry Jam
What you need:
4-1/2 cups prepared fruit (buy about 4 pt. fully ripe blueberries)
2 -3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (but I have also added in the lemon skin/zest)
5 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
1 box CERTO Fruit Pectin crystals
WASH jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water, jars can be kept warm & sterile in a warm oven until the jam mixture is ready to be ladled. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let lids stand in hot water until ready to use. Dry lids well before use.
STEM and crush blueberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 4-1/2 cups prepared blueberries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Stir in lemon juice.
BRING to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on med -high heat, stirring constantly. Stir sugar into prepared blueberries in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat & then stir in pectin crystals. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly.
Hot-Pack Method: By ladling hot jam into hot sterilized jars (kept warm in a low oven) then covered with a hot lid and ring, the jam mixture in the jar will seal itself. Carefully place the hot jars on a kitchen towel, out of drafts, to cool. You should hear that familiar 'pop' sound - meaning the lid has sealed. If your jam jars do not 'pop', store jam in freezer until ready to use. But this method has always been successful.
Canner Method: Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)