Monday, July 1, 2013

Scrumptious Specialty Jams (...of the freezer variety...)

So, I love freezer jam.  But lately I've been wondering, does freezer jam have to be plain ole?  Can I make designer-flavored jams without turning on the stove top and simmering things all day?  I did some experimenting with our recent us-picked local organic strawberries and I'm so happy to have found that freezer jam can be glammed up!  I share my experiments with you, because  busy moms deserve a designer-flavored freezer jam stash just as much as the next busy person...

The three new jams I experimented with were Strawberry Basil Lime, Strawberry Mint, and Strawberry Orange Almond.  I was especially excited to make the first two since I got to use basil and mint from our recently planted mini herb garden.

 the poor wilty lemon mint is doing better now!  doesn't look so great in this shot :(  

So, here are my experiments...  

Scrumptious Specialty Jam No. 1
Strawberry Basil Lime

This was everyone's favorite.  The kiddos helped me make a triple batch after we tried it and decided it was superdelicious.  (I've included some pix of my helpers on this one, but don't worry, I won't bore you with a photo play-by-play on the other two flavors...)

Using Ball Instant Pectin for freezer jams, follow the instructions to prepare your sugar and pectin for one batch of jam.  (about two half pint jars worth)

Chop a handful of fresh basil and finely as possible. (for one batch I did it by hand, and for the larger batch I used a manual food processor)  I used the amount pictured above, plus a little more, for one batch.  I didn't want my experimental jam to just taste like plain ole strawberry jam with green dots in it, so I went heavy on the herbs and additional flavors.  As far I as I can tell, you can add as much or little as you like.

Prepare strawberries according to the instructions on the pectin jar.  I used almost 2 cups chopped berries. 

Mix in the basil, as well as the zest and juice from one small lime.  If possible, let it sit for a little while to allow the flavors some time to blend.

Add sugar and pectin according to the instructions... stirring for three minutes.

Ladle into pre-cleansed jars.  Add lids.  I had enough jam left over after two half pint jars to fill a small 4 oz jelly jar.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.  Freeze. Or enjoy immediately!  

My family has already polished off two jars of this amazing jam, spreading it on anything they can get their hands on.  I took a more refined approach and had it with some creamy brie on french bread...

Scrumptious Specialty Jam No. 2
Strawberry Mint

I've seen this flavor of jam done elsewhere, so I was pretty sure it would taste great.  And it did! 

Simply follow all the directions on the instant pectin jar, but add a medium size handful of finely chopped fresh mint leaves to the chopped berries.  Allow to sit for a while before stirring in the sugar and pectin.  For our jam I used both orange mint and lemon mint.

Scrumptious Specialty Jam No. 3
Strawberry Orange Almond

Again, prepare berries and sugar/pectin mixture according to the instructions on the instant pectin jar.  

Before combining, add the following to the berries (for a single batch): the zest and juice from one medium orange and 1 tsp. of almond extract.  (I actually added 1 1/2 tsps, but the flavor was a little too much, so when I make this again I'll just be using 1.)    

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There you have it!  I am soooooo excited about discovering that even though I like the ease of no-cook freezer jam I'm not restricted to basic single-flavor fruit jam.  (Well, I've always combined blueberry and raspberry, but you know what I mean.  Speaking of which... I'm already starting to plot my specialty makeovers for next month's fruit crops!!  You know if I come up with anything tasty, you'll hear about it here!)

I hope you get to try one of these new (simple) specialty jams this year, or that you'll even create one of your own.  Either way, I'd love for you to comment on it here!!

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ps - we tested all three flavors out on our first guests this morning - the after-Mass crowd.  Ok, it's just my parents, but they said the jams were uh-mazing, and I don't think they were just being nice ;)  


  1. I might just have to put my apron on and try the basil lime jam:)

  2. Sounds Yummy, Theresa...Can't wait for the next harvest!!! Love ya, Aunt Claire


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