So, I had to suck it up and head to the food bank for an emergency food hamper this week.
To be honest, I can't wait to be done school and have an income again, then I won't feel so damned useless...
But, they had a huge amount of strawberries to be given as fresh fruit, and they needed homes ASAP, so each family member was allowed 3 containers. For our family of 3, that meant 9 containers, or a flat of strawberries, plus one container. That's a lot of fruit! And, they were on their last legs, so they pretty much had to be used that day.
I love to make fruit smoothies with fresh, frozen fruit that I peel, cut, etc and freeze, yogurt and orange juice or homemade rosehip & strawberry tea. And we were running low on frozen strawberries. But there was no way I was going to find room in my freezer to freeze all that!
So, freezer jam it is!
I usually use Certo for my jams, but I didn't have any in the house. I've made jam with Jell-O before, but there wasn't any of that in the house either. And we are on a shoestring budget ATM (hence the food bank in the first place). So, I hunted about for pectin-free recipes that didn't call for Jell-O.
I found a few, and they all had oodles of sugar - about 2-4 cups of sugar per cup of strawberries, which is too much for me! But I noticed that they were all fairly similar to candy making, with the boiling of fruit and sugar until a certain temperature is reached (most said 220*)
So, I set about to wash, core and quarter all those strawberries. Some got set aside for freezing, but most were for the jam. There was about 8-9 cups!!! (I'm not a very scientific cook, either lol)
I popped them all in a pot and started at them with my handy potato masher. I suppose I could have used the blender, but I like the manual work for this; it leaves nice chunks of fruit in the jam :)
I slowly mixed in 5 cups of sugar (all I had in the house) and brought it to a boil. I waited until the mixture reached 220* and removed from the heat.
I added the juice of one lemon.
And let cool slightly before placing in containers.
All labelled up for the freezer!
And, because the berries were on their last legs, there was a LOT of waste! Those 3 containers there are all headed to the garbage.... (wish I had a yard so I could compost!)