Turning your fruit harvest into freezer jam
When you’re up to your ears in fresh fruit and don’t have time to can, try making freezer jam. It’s fast, easy and will keep for up a year.
Rhonda Beatty-Gallo, a master food preserver of Solano County, says the jam can be made in the fraction of the time it would take to can it, and has a fresher, fruitier taste. It will keep about a month in the refrigerator and at least a year in the freezer.
Here are her tips on freezer jam success:
• Prepare all of your ingredients beforehand. Just like process of traditional canning, making freezer jam is a science, and you’ll need to proceed in order for all the parts to come together.
• You’ll need, depending on the fruit and the recipe, 5 cups of crushed fruit (without stems and pits, and perhaps with the peels), 2 cups of granulated sugar or Splenda, 6 tablespoons of instant pectin, and 3 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice if you are using lowacid fruits such as peaches, figs, papaya, Asian pears, mangos or tomatoes.
• Use only instant pectin or, if the recipe calls for it, liquid pectin.
• Avoid using jars with shoulders; don’t fill jars all the way to the top as the jam will expand as it freezes.
• Use only approved recipes and methods, which will not only improve your chances for success, but will be safest.
• Combine your sugar and pectin, then add your fruit and any other ingredients and stir for 3 minutes. Pour into jars and allow to set for 30 minutes before eating, or screw on lids and put into the freezer.
• Splenda can be substituted for sugar, but it won’t look as bright, and it won’t keep as long.
You can use almost any fruits to make freezer jam. Fruits that are low in acid, such as peaches and figs, can be used it you add bottled lemon juice.