Monday, June 7, 2010

Before and After Party: Strawberry Jam!

009Geez Louise, you could practically pull my fingerprints off that picture! ;)

I have to start off this post by letting my Dad everyone know that yes, yes I CAN cook. I can bake. I can make dinner. And I can even pour milk into a cereal bowl.

All of the above. (The last one I do very well, thankyouverymuch.)

I just don’t cook and bake very often. With hubby’s crazy work schedule and a three-year-old who lately eats nothing other than cheese and hot dogs, I just don’t do it as much as I’d like.

But something about my transforming (beautiful!) kitchen and summer is making me want to cook and bake up a storm. (I’m going to try a out a doozy soon and will be sure to show you.)

So when I saw my friend Beth’s post about making strawberry freezer jam (and how unbelievably easy it was), I knew I had to try it!

Today was an absolutely positively gorgeous day here in the Midwest, so I corralled my BFF and her daughter, and the four of us took a trip out to a local berry farm to collect strawberries:


It was a big-fat-white-clouds-in-a-perfectly-blue-sky kind of day – lovely!!

We put the kids to work starting picking the berries:

003And the smart ones (the kids) realized VERY quickly that picking strawberries – not so fun. It’s hard work! So they stood around pointing to the good ones while the moms picked through the plants. :)

We finished our afternoon with some ice cream and a visit with the resident cutie-patootie doggy:


He’s just a BIG SWEETAY!! (If you can tell me where that’s from, I’ll send you a dollar. Just kidding. I’ll really want to send you one but won’t. Maybe a virtual dollar.)

Anyhoo, this evening I got to making my JAM – for the first time ever!! It was SO incredibly easy! If you read Beth’s post, this is pretty much a complete copycat of hers, but I have a dark stove and counters and she has light ones.  :)

I started with my luscious berries – I got extra just in case, and ended up with about five pounds of berries:

After rinsing and cutting off the stems, I used a potato masher to smash up the berries to two cups (smashed):

I didn’t even chop up the strawberries first. I had to start with about 2.5 cups (maybe a little more) of berries to get the two cups smashed.

Then, add to the mashed berries FOUR cups of sugar:

YES. Four cups.

Yes, that is only two. Add FOUR. Like Beth said, “Just don't think about it.” She’s right. I had to force myself to pour it all in. But I hear it’s totally worth it in the end so just close your eyes and POUR. :)

Mix it all together, and keep mixing here and there for about ten minutes:

For the last two minutes of that ten, take a package of Sure Jell and mix it with 3/4 cup of water on the stove:


After it starts boiling, let it boil for one minute and keep stirring!:

Take the mixture off the stove, add it to your berries and heart attack sugar, and stir for about three minutes (maybe a bit more).

Then take your so-cute-I-could-just-die jelly jars from Wally World:

I think it was about $8 for 12 of them?

And fill them up, about a half inch from the top of the can:

 strawberry freezer jam 

Let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then you can freeze them. I plan to bring them to cook outs and Fourth parties throughout the summer as gifts to the hostess – maybe with some yummy bread on the side? How precious is that?

And once I make a super cute label to dress them up, they’ll be too cute for words. Anyone know if these are OK to freeze until the holidays? If so, then the mailman better like strawberry! :)

I haven’t tried them yet, but I did have to lick the spoon at the end and YUMMO – it was good!!

I couldn’t believe how easy this was! I did two batches and that made 11 jars of jam and both only took me about an hour to make. Rinsing and cutting the stems off the strawberries took longer than the whole process did!

I still have about a pound of berries left too, so I didn’t need nearly all that we picked.

So my different kind of before and after for this month…


And after!:

Yes I'm wearing an apron

And yes Dad, I do own an apron.  ;)

So now it’s time to see your before and after projects!! Anything goes – as long as you have a before picture to share, cause we all know that’s half the fun!

PLEASE link to directly to the post, not your blog. (I have to delete those and I hate it!) To link to your post, right click on the post, copy, and then paste that url into the linky.

You can link up till next Monday -- have fun!


Thank you to my sponsor!:



  1. Thanks for the party!

    I'm still reading your post, but I just wanted to give you a heads-up that your links aren't working. Or, at least the ones I tried so far.

    "So when I saw my friend Beth’s post about making strawberry freezer jam (and how unbelievably easy it was), I knew I had to try it!"

    Love your blog! Now I'm going to go finish reading about how you made freezer jam. So domestic of you!

  2. Oooh that jam looks DELICIOUS. The pictures you took did it a lot of justice. Thanks for hosting a linky party. I love being a part of linkies. It's such an honor to be on your blog! : )

  3. Okay, I finished reading your post. And I'm starring it on my Google Reader so I can make some after I move. But maybe I'll try splenda... because FOUR cups of sugar? Yikes!! So every bite you eat you are getting twice as much sugar as strawberries. No wonder the stuff tastes so yum!!

    Thanks for the tutorial. I can't wait to check out the links. I'm sure they are broken because of Blogger and all their drama today.

    Love your blog. you are still my favorite.

  4. I read Beth's post a few months ago and now yours and I'm so inspired to go pick strawberries RIGHT Now {except it's pretty dark out at midnight!} Looks yummy and I must try it one of these days! Thansk for hosting! Hope you have a fabulous week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

    p.s. amazing photo!

  5. Next time you want to make jam, see if you can find Pomona Pectin. It's amazing stuff. You can make jam from 4 cups of berries with 1/2-1cup of sugar (it all depends on what kind of fruit you're using). It tastes more like fruit and less like jam. It's so good! Some people don't like it, but I do. There are also low sugar versions of the standard pectins like Sure Jell if you don't like the Pomona Pectin. Happy jamming!

  6. Thank you for this post!!! My grandma used to make this and I just loved it! I always thought it had been "canned" before frozen so never asked for the recipe. I'm not really the canning food type of girl if you know what I mean. ;)

    This is so easy and none of that weird scary canning process stuff! Totally making it. Thank you... love your blog!

  7. I love your jam! I made strawberry soup Friday on my blog and it had a 3/4 cup of sugar in it. All weekend I kept thinking that was just too sweet, way too much sugar.(First time I made the recipe and I adapted it.) So I will try again with 1/2 cup of sugar. But, with jam you have to get a sugar syrup to create jam. I am sure it all has a lot of sugar in it. That is why it so good.

  8. You look adorable and careful with showing the finger prints!!! :)
    And those strawberries, I can just taste them looking at the photos...yum! Janell

  9. Oh the jam looks wonderful. I need to do that this summer. Thanks for having a great linky party.

  10. Boy! do I have the munchies right now - I could eat that jam with a spoon... and a half gallon of ice cream :P

  11. I just got done giving away a jar of my freezer jam to a friend for her b-day tonight at my Zumba class. And yes you can freeze them til then. Once you open a jar you just store it in the fridge. I love freezer jam! And you did a beautiful job!

  12. Hiiieeee! How fun! I am so going to try this... and give it sweet! Thanks for sharing and hosting! I just ♥ your blog!

  13. Hi there, I am new to your blog (although I did stay up very late one recent night reading ALL your posts!). I love your blog and have shared it with my crafty sister. We both dream of new houses but you have inspired us to enjoy what we have and spruce our places up, with 4 spray painting jobs between us as proof :)!! Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your lovely home and ideas. As well, this jam looks fab-o and I will be trying it this summer.

  14. I so love that first picture of strawberries!! And I love freezer jam. My Mom and I both make it every summer and give it away at Christmas - it keeps just fine. And makes such a great gift, thoughtful and cheap - two of my favorite things! Thanks so much for hosting!

  15. Yum I make this for my dad on his b day every couple of years. It is sooooo good. And your first pic made me want to lick the screen lol

  16. I love making and eating freezer jam. One year I made so much I gave it for neighbor Christmas gifts along with a loaf of fresh baked bread and I don't bake much either. It was a yummy gift to give. Thanks for hosting this party. I need to make some jam soon.

  17. That first strawberry picture is amazing!!

  18. It looks delicious! Love the sweet little jars too. Precious post. :)

  19. I just made some strawberry freezer jam yesterday! Can't wait to try it. I used the lower-sugar version. With four cups of berries, I used three cups of sugar. Anyway just wanted to mention that I noticed on the instructions for the pectin it says you can freeze up to a year, so you should definitely be good to go for the holidays!
    Love your blog!

  20. This works with other fruits too. Less sugar makes it more of a fruit spread than a jam/jelly. My Mamaw used to make "real" jellies & jams plus pickles and other canning goodies. I remember helping her in the kitchen during the summer. This is so much easier!

  21. Your jam looks deeeelish !! And, I'm loving watching your kitchen makeover progress !! I'm also an IKEA lover and miss having one close by. Thanks for hosting such a fun gathering, and for allowing me to share my master bedroom redo! Take care, Becca

  22. I've always wanted to make jam, but just too chicken, bok!! But now, thanks to your teaching (you make it look easy!) I will do it! Thank you! I'm really excited about this! Can you tell?

  23. Great job with the jam, i am so impressed.

  24. I just made a batch of strawberry freezer jam last week! Awesome stuff....

    Anywho....did you know there's a pectin (Ball's Instant Fruit Pectin) that requires only 1.5 cups of sugar (to 4 cups crushed fruit) AND it doesn't require any boiling water? It's so easy to use! I highly recommend it- you don't miss the extra sugar. (been using it for a few years now).

  25. hi sarah,
    i love the month of june because it's strawberry picking time here too. your jam looks great. funny how a pretty new space can inspire you to do more there. when we redid our bathroom, i just wanted to go and hide in there all day :P thanks for giving us a chance to share here.

  26. That look so good! I would have to close my eyes to throw in all that sugar. But I'm sure it's worth it. Used to go picking when the boys were little. Brought back memories!

  27. I LOVE strawberry freezer jam. The girls and I make some every year from the strawberries we pick. I'm actually going to try a new, low-sugar recipe this year, so we'll see how that turns out. If you freeze up the rest of those strawberries, they'll be perfect in smoothies. If they last that long, which I can tell you they wouldn't in my house. As for the jam, it will still be fine at Christmastime. If it you have any left by then. :-)

  28. Puppies and strawbabies-- two of my favorite things!!

  29. An easier way to make freezer jam is by using the Ball pectin. So easy and you don't have to cook anything. Just mash the berries, add the sugar and pectin and freeze. So easy I let my kids do it.

  30. Here is my before and after! I wasn't sure where to link too...I'm still knew to the blogging :)I wish I knew a good place to go pick strawberries in Virginia and then I'd be all over that jam :)

  31. We make strawberry and raspberry freezer jam every year. It is so easy and my 3 and 6 year old love to help mash the berries. We make enough to last a year. I don't buy jam anymore. They make a freezer jam pectin and that makes it even easier!

  32. Oh, I so want to make some now. My Mom use to make jam all the time (Guava and pineapple where a staple in her kitchen)
    You look too cute with that apron :)

  33. Freezer jam is the best! Plus, it tastes a lot more like fresh fruit than processed jam. I make freezer jam twice a year - once in the summer with strawberries, and again in the fall with peaches. It's so yummy. Your berries are so cute! :)

  34. You make it sounds so easy! As much as I love to bake and cook, I have never made jam or preserves. I am spoiled because my mother, aunt and grandmother have always done the canning/preserving and they share it with me. Maybe next strawberry season I will try it. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    ~ Tracy

  35. Did you go picking at Waterman's on Raymond? That's the only local u-pick place I've heard of. But I live in Greenwood.

  36. Yes, I would just have to ignore the 4 cups of sugar. It looks like it's worth it!! :)

  37. Your freezer jam will be good for a year in your freezer. I make a lot of jam (I call it "jamming") and another good freezer jam recipe is on the back of the ball freezer jam pectin, you'll find it in the canning section of the grocery store. It's even easier than the one you just showed us and oh so yummy! Your jam looks beautiful, good job!

  38. That's awesome! I love freezer jam, and have been wanting to try it this summer! Guess I'd better find a berry farm & get picking! :)

  39. I apologize if another comment has been posted about this as I haven't had a chance to read them all. Your jam looks DELICIOUS! And since you've taken the plunge into making jam, I wanted to encourage you to take it one step further by canning rather than freezer-jamming. Especially since it involves only ONE step more: boiling the lids and rings. That's it, you've done everything else (e.g., berries, pectin, jars). It's so simple and it saves ALOT of space in your freezer. Just a thought! I wish our Oregon strawberries were as ripe as yours.

  40. Hey! You went to Spencer's Berry Farm?!(thats what it looks like, anyway) Was just there last Friday and picked over 13 lbs. I love that place!

  41. LOVE your before and after and I'm thrilled that you tried it! Big hugs! :)

  42. Yummy! Those berries look delicious! I think your Dad may be related to my Dad. He says (about me) "she's a good cook... if you can get her to cook"! You made that look so easy! Now I want to try it!

  43. The BALL brand of fruit pectin makes a pectin especially for freezer jam. And it only uses 1 1/2 cups sugar. Trust me, it is good. I have tried both and I prefer the freezer jam pectin. It comes in a pouch instead of the box. It's a no-cook method. :) Love your website. I check it often!

  44. That jam looks sooo good. I need to make some. There's nothing like fresh jam on homemade bread (not that I make homemade bread, but still).

    Such a fun party. I need to figure out when you do these so I can gegt my act together and join up!


  45. Yummo!!! We went and picked strawberries a few months ago. I totally should have made some jam. Ack! Great job it looks delicious!

  46. Frozen goods are said to only last 6 months (except meat which is less) but I have freezer jam from last spring that is still great. (I made 20 pounds!) I second everyone that says use the lower sugar options. Some use juice instead (still not super healthy unless you use a good healthy juice)

  47. You make it look so easy!!!! I shall make freezer jam this year!!! :o) Thanks!!! xoxo!

  48. 9, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Wow, that looks so yummy!!! I will have to make that soon. YUM

  49. that photo of the strawberry is amazing! What lens did you use?
    Loving your kitchen revamp. I like the island cream, but I can also see adding a pop of color too. :)

  50. I made freezer jam for the first time last year - isn't it yummy??

    P.S. I'm sensing you listen to Bob and Tom . . . ;0)

  51. Wow...great pics! The one of the strawberry is amazing!!
    Thanks for hosting the Before and After link party. They're always so much fun!
    Have a great night! ~ Jo :)


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