How I Pinch a Penny: Three methods for making jam

From left: Freezer jam, slow cooker with water bath and slow cooker only.

From left: Freezer jam, slow cooker with water bath and slow cooker only.

Here in southcentral Pennsylvania, it is strawberry season!

We went picking on Saturday because it was overcast and not too terribly hot. The kids are to the age where they are helpful with picking — and not just picking to eat. They are understanding the concept of why we are picking and what these berries will become when we take them home.

They are understanding that a bit of work from them now will yield lots of yummy strawberry treats all year long.

But I am still on the quest for strawberry jam that is thicker than syrup and will hold up when spooned out. So you get to learn from my quest, and hopefully you will find a method that will work for your family.

Method No. 1: Freezer Jam

Start with 1½ cups of sugar and instant fruit pectin.

Crush enough cleaned and hulled strawberries to make 4 cups. DON’T use 4 cups of strawberries and crush them. Crush them first … then measure your 4 cups. There is a difference. We used a muddler from the bar set to accomplish this. A potato masher or a pastry blender works as well. Or, if you want to get messy, use your hands to crush them (just wash your hands well first).

Stir together the sugar and the instant pectin.

Pour in the 4 cups of crushed berries.

Stir to combine. Be sure all the clumps of sugar and pectin are completely broken up and combined.

If the berries are too big for your taste, use a immersion blender to pulse the mixture a few times.

Ladle into clean pint jars and wipe the rim to clean off any drips.

Place on clean, new lids. Screw on the ring.

Allow to sit undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.

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Sarah Mock

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