Nothing says summer to me like fresh, sun-warmed strawberries, straight from the garden. Mmm mmm mmm!
A few weeks ago was peak strawberry time here in Michigan so the kiddos and I went strawberry picking at a great little U-Pick Farm we love in Belleville, MI (the heart of strawberry country around here). Even better - my mom and my sister's family met us there!
The kids had a field day and were stained pink from head to toe with super ripe and juicy fruit - you could tell they were in strawberry heaven! We picked a few quarts of berries and easily ate half of them within the next day or two. We could have easily eaten them all, but I strategically saved a bunch of the berries to make homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam. Making this jam has become a yearly tradition, and not only is it super sweet and super delicious, it is also a super frugal way to use up fresh strawberries. The recipe only requires 4 simple ingredients, and easily could supply you with a year's worth of jam (if you have the proper storage).
If you have the opportunity to go strawberry picking, I highly recommend it. Supermarket strawberries may be large and pretty to look at, but they don't even begin to compare with the taste of garden-fresh. Plus, if you have children, a spouse, a significant other, or even a stranger from who-knows-where, picking your own fruit can provide great memories and great, healthy playtime outdoors. Have fun, be free, and be sure to frolic through the strawberry fields!
STRAWBERRY FREEZER JAM:
- 2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 (1.75 ounce) package dry pectin
- 1/2 cup water
Mix crushed strawberries with sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the pectin into the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the boiling water into the strawberries. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers.
Place tops on the containers, and leave for 24 hours. Place into freezer, and store frozen until ready to use.
Yields: 4, 12-ounce jars
Recipe can be easily doubled. For a thicker set, use slightly under-ripe strawberries.
Around here, each jar of homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam ends up costing about $1 for a 12-ounce jar (not including the cost of the container). Fun and frug-la-la!