Friday, August 16, 2013

Phat Food Friday: Easy DIY NO COOK freezer Jam!

Do not ignore this post!
I know that making jam sounds know, canning & all.
That is usually super complicated and needs special equipment, right?
A friend clued me into super easy, no cook way to make freezer jam!
If you have just a few things, you can whip up a batch in less than 30 minutes!
Now, while living here in Alaska, we get some really great views...

I know...epic calendar picture views!
BUT the summer is fleeting and we need to savor every minute here.
So I decided to give this freezer jam thing a I can remember these summer days!

 I am always so excited  in spring to see these flowers in bloom.
They are the flower of the Salmonberry.

 By mid July, you see these ripe GIANT berries all over the place.

 They are similar to raspberries, but the taste is a bit different.
See how HUGE they are!

So, I rustled up a berry picking partner, grabbed my ice cream buckets and filled 'em up.
You of course, can use any fresh berry of your choice!
I even picked a few rogue Blueberries and added them to my mix. worth it!

Aren't they beautiful? The jewel toned jars make my mouth water...

Ok. Lets get down to business....VERY EASY FAST jam business : )
You need to pick up these great mason jars ...they even come with the lids & rings!
Make sure that they say FREEZER SAFE on them.

See? FREEZER SAFE in blue there.
You need the jars to be straight at the mouth in order to freeze.
If you use the jars with a curve at the top, the jar may crack in the freezer.
No thanks to big sticky glass jam mess in the freezer. Right?!
Alternatively, you can just use a plastic freezer safe container too! 
I chose the glass jars...they are super cute...
and will be used for many a Pintrest craft later on : )

Next, grab a container of Real Fruit Instant Pectin.
I used the Ball brand that was on my grocer's shelf.
Check the label to be sure its for Freezer jam with no cooking required.
We want fast and easy jam, right?

Ball makes it even easier by printing the directions right inside of the label!
You don't even need to read the rest of my post, you can just listen to the jam authorities : )

Last ingredient: Sugar. Regular ole sugar...mmm.

Ok. Let's review.

For about 2 half pint jars of jam (2 cups), you need:

1 & 2/3 cups of fresh berries of choice
1/2 cup regular ole sugar
2 Tablespoons of Real Fruit Instant No cook Pectin
Freezer safe mason jars or plastic containers
2 bowls
A spoon
A masher (fork, potato masher, meat hammer, your fist...but that gets messy)

Now that you have your stuff all ready, lets get started!

Submerge your berries in cold water in a large bowl.
If you picked your own this is very important to get rid of the bugs and debris.
If you are using store bought berries, a quick rinse should be fine.

Sift out the berries and set them aside.

Eeew. See all the junk?  Not in MY jam!
Rinse out the bowl.

Great. Now put your clean, de-bugged berries back into your bowl.

When you think you are done, smash some more.
You really want to break apart all of the skins to release the juices.
This makes a better jam.
The next step is important. So important that I forgot to take a picture. I did not want to mess up my jam!

Add the sugar & pectin mixture into your mashed berries bowl.
Mix thoroughly for 3 minutes.
The jam will start to thicken...and, well look more like jam.

When your 3 minute mix time is up...spoon/pour the mixture into jars.
Do not fill them up all of the the top of the jar!
Your jam will expand when freezing, and we do not want that
big sticky glass jam mess in the freezer.

Do not put those cute lids on yet.
Let the jam set for 30 minutes.
See the nice 1/2" of space that is NOT filled with jam at the top?
That's how you want yours to look.

Now, wait for 30 minutes to let the pectin work its magic.
Go ahead and add your cute label to the top of the lid now,
or just write it on in sharpie.
You may want to add the date too.

When your 30 minutes is up...You are done!
Screw on the lid of your jam jars.
You are ready to snack on a jar...or store them.

Store your jam in the freezer for up to a year.
(I put one jar straight into the fridge and store the rest in the freezer)
When ready to use, just defrost in the refrigerator the night before.
You can snack on the jam out of the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Those sweet smashed berries really help me out on days like this.
Trust Alaska there are too many!

But, on my chilly winter morning, I will take a bite of my super yummy home made jam, close my eyes, and remember the few summer days like this one...