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De-mystifying Homemade Freezer Jam

strawberry blueberry freezer jam | hello, sweetie!

strawberry blueberry freezer jam | hello, sweetie!

I love homemade things; especially food.  I see a relevance for it and I feel good knowing what went into it as well as the fact I MADE it!  However, there has always been a mental "dark corner" where I tip-toe around two scary Martha Stewart "good things": pie crust and home canning.  Every so often, I will just decide to tackle the crust.  Cookbook research, mom's "tried and true", America's Test Kitchen no-fail guarantee, etc.  I have yet to find one that I am compatible with, but I still try.  The canning is another story.  I have enough faith in my pie fillings that I can handle dry, tough or crumbly counterparts.  If a jam, jelly or other preserve goes bad...what do I have to show for it then?  A lot of time, money and (I'll admit it) some pride down the drain.

summer berries & jars | hello, sweetie!

summer berries & jars | hello, sweetie!

Berries have been especially wonderful this summer, and I have always heard how amazingly simple freezer jams can be.  They take about half the time and ingredients, are a little softer set and typically fresher-tasting.  So, I decided to start with a small batch and branch out from there.  As long as I don't poison my family with salmonella, the worst that can happen is it's a sugary & runny mess that I will rename "ice cream topping".

crushed berries | hello, sweetie!

crushed berries | hello, sweetie!

As it turns out, it WAS really easy!  Go figure, those people at Certo really know their jams...and have great directions in the boxes!  I don't happen to like huge chunks of fruit on my toast, so I used the food processor to pulse the berries (about 12 one second pulses per batch) before adding the sugar.  I made the Strawberry Blueberry recipe that was included and I followed the advice of a friend, using Certo instead of Sure Jell (she said she just has better luck with it).  Certo is made by Sure Jell, so I don't know how much different it actually is.  I washed the pretty little 8oz jelly jars and let them air dry while I washed and hulled the berries.  Once they were pulsed, I mixed the two cups of fruit with EXACTLY the specified amount of sugar (FOUR cups) then squeezed the lemon juice into the pectin. 

making freezer jam | hello, sweetie!

making freezer jam | hello, sweetie!

Within a half hour, I had five beautifully filled, gem-colored jars.  Then the jam needed to sit at room temperature overnight before either freezing or refrigerating.  The frozen jams I plan to give away as gifts, since they are good for one year before using.  The refrigerated ones need to be used within 3 weeks, which should not be a problem!  I am looking forward to mixing it into our Greek yogurt, plain oatmeal and yes...maybe even pouring over ice cream!

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