I think I’m the 284th blogger to write about strawberry freezer jam this week. There must be something in the air…or more accurately…in the farmer’s market. Strawberries. Lots and lots of sweet, beautiful, delicious strawberries.
But this post is different! I like to think if it as the definitive writing on the hot debate between Ball and Sure Jell Strawberry Freezer Jam. If you look around, you’ll see that there are two very different recipes for Strawberry Freezer Jam. The primary difference (besides the brand of pectin) is the amount of sugar in the recipes.
I made them both because I was curious and now I can tell you about the results. And I also made a batch of Strawberry Pineapple Freezer Jam because that sounded good too…And because I’m a crazy-person. Once I get started on something, I can’t stop. I have 25 containers of freezer jam to fit into my freezer. For real.
Freezer jam is fantastic because it doesn’t involve all of the pesky parts of canning like sealing the jars. If you have a little room in your freezer, it’s totally worthwhile to make a batch, or 5, of this sweet, delicious treat. And regardless of which version you make, it’s ridiculously easy. I didn’t do anything fancy and followed the recipes on the box exactly as written.
First, you have to get your hands on some berries. My local market sells a quart of strawberries for $5.50. Ouch! That’s pricey for jam, in my opinion. But they sell “Yesterday’s Berries” for $2.50 a quart. They’re perfect for jam. You just have to get there early.
Here are the ingredients for the Sure Jell Strawberry Freezer Jam:
- 1 package Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
- 4 cups of sugar
- 2 cups of crushed strawberries (about 2 lbs or 1 quart)
Yes. You read that right. 4 CUPS! Every fiber of your being will say “too much!” but just close your eyes and go with it. And think of it this way…there’s at least that much sugar (not to mention high fructose corn syrup) in store-bought jam.
Here are the ingredients for the Ball Strawberry Freezer Jam:
- 1 package Ball No Cook Freezer Jam Pectin
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 4 cups crushed strawberries (about 4 lbs or 2 quarts)
The Ball version has WAY less suger and WAY more strawberries. It’s also slightly easier because you don’t even have to turn on the stove to cook the pectin. That’s EASY!
Sugar aside, the recipes are very similar.
First you core and mash your berries. Some people use a food processor, but I think a potato masher is better. Jam is supposed to have larger bits of fruit in it.
Then you add your sugar and stir your berry mixture until the sugar dissolves completely.
Here’s where the recipes differ a little. In the Ball version, you add the pectin directly to the strawberries along with the sugar. How easy is that?
With the Sure Jell version, you boil the pectin for a minute in some water and add that to your strawberry/sugar mixture. Totally not difficult. It only adds a minute or two to the process.
After everything is mixed together, you ladle the sweet strawberry mixture into containers. I used a combination of 8 oz. plastic freezer containers and cute little glass jelly jars. The plastic containers are for our family and we’ll give the cute jars as gifts when we’re invited to parties and bbq’s this summer.
The Ball version needs to sit out for 30 minutes and the Sure Jell version for 24 hours. After that, they’re ready for the freezer! A jar will keep for about 3 weeks in the fridge and for at least a year in the freezer.
So what’s my opinion on the two different versions? Good question. I like them both, but they’re different. The Sure Jell is more like a traditional store-bought jam. Very sweet and fairly thick. The kids love it.
The Ball version is much less sweet and way more strawberry-y. I think I like it better, but if your strawberries aren’t already sweet, I don’t think it would be good. It’s not as thick as the Sure Jell version so it will make a really good sundae topping too.
But honestly, the Strawberry Pineapple Freezer Jam is my favorite. It’s very sweet, but I like the combined flavors of the pineapple and the strawberries. YUM!
Now I’d better hope those BBQ invites come soon. Cause I don’t have enough room in my freezer for all this jam. YIKES!
So spill it! Who makes their own jam? What kind? What’s your fave?