A record of my efforts to live a more sustainable life.

Making No-Cook Jam

I went strawberry picking on Saturday, for the first time since I was a little kid going berry-picking with my grandma. I picked four pails of strawberries, and decided to try my hand at jam-making. Through much asking of questions, I learned that there is a type of jam called freezer jam (or no-cook jam), which is like regular jam, but way easier to make! It doesn't involve any sterilising of jars or cooking of fruit. The trade-off is that it only lasts a few weeks in the fridge, or up to 8 months in the freezer, as opposed to the years you get with cooked jam.

So, when I got home, I went to the grocery store and bought some pectin. It came with detailed instructions. In less than an hour, I had six jars and two plastic containers full of strawberry jam sitting on the kitchen table to set before being put in the freezer. To show you how easy it was, I'll share the process I used, though the specifics may vary with the brand of pectin you buy.

First, you wash the strawberries and cut off the tops. That's the biggest part of the work. Luckily, my mom did it for me. Yay moms!

Next, it's time to mash the strawberries! This is the fun part. It works best in a really big, wide bowl, like this popcorn bowl I used.

Then you mix the fruit with the sugar. In the recipe I used, it was two cups of mashed strawberries and four cups of sugar. I think those measurements are fairly constant across recipes, or at least the proportion is. Once this is thoroughly mixed, let it stand for 10 minutes.

The pectin I bought was in crystal form, so it had to be mixed with water and boiled, stirring constantly, for one minute. Pectin can also be bought in liquid form. In that case, I'm not sure what happens here. I imagine it would still need to be heated up, anyway.

The hot pectin is then poured into the fruit and sugar mixture. Stir for three minutes, and voila! The jam is ready to be poured into jars or other freezer-safe containers! Then, it needs to sit out at room temperature for 24 hours to set. Here's my final product:

Overall, it was a pretty fun experience! I'll definitely be making jam on a yearly basis now. Of all the foods you can make at home to avoid the packaging and the carbon footprint caused by the food's travel, freezer jam has to be one of the easiest.


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