COBLESKILL, N.Y. — Do you want the flavor of fresh fruit with a longer shelf life? Try making an uncooked freezer jam or jelly. This type of jam or jelly is quick and easy to make. Because they are not cooked the fruits and juices used retain brighter colors and fresher fruit tastes. However, be aware that the finished product has a slightly looser set than a traditional cooked jam or jelly and must be kept at room temperature for up to 24 hours to create a gel set before refrigerating or freezing.
Uncooked jams and jellies can be made from most fresh or frozen fruits, and fruit juices. When choosing fresh fruit do not use under or overripe fruit because that will be the predominate flavor of your jam and it can affect the gel set negatively. Adding extra fruit or doubling batches can also do that.
Most recipes call for the use of commercial pectin. Store-bought pectin comes in two forms: liquid and powdered – the two are not interchangeable— be sure to use the form your recipe calls for.
Sugar inhibits the growth of bacteria, keeping your jam or jelly fresh, fruity, and safe to eat. The recipe you are using has been formulated for a certain ratio of pectin to sugar and will not gel properly if you don’t use the correct amount of sugar. If you want to make a less-sweet jam or jelly, you need to use a special kind of pectin formulated to work with less sugar.
Acid is needed for gel formation and flavor. Certain lower acid fruits will require lemon juice be added to the recipe. If lemon juice is called for in the recipe citric acid may be substituted. One tablespoon of lemon juice has the same acidity as 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid.
Before you begin making your jam or jelly, have all your jars ready and waiting. Use either sturdy plastic containers with tight-fitting lids, or short, wide-mouthed glass jars made especially for the freezer. It’s best to choose containers that are no bigger than pint-size, smaller is better; the jam will not set up as well in larger containers. Wash them as you would any other dishes; there’s no need to boil them.
Now it is time to give this Life’s Solution a try and savor the flavor of fresh strawberries for that just picked taste.
UNCOOKED STRAWBERRY JAM FROM FRESH FRUIT
(makes about 4 half-pint jars)
1-3⁄4 cups crushed strawberries (about 1 quart)
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of citric acid
1 pouch liquid pectin
1. Crush strawberries in a large bowl with a potato masher one layer at a time.
2. Measure 1-3⁄4 cups crushed strawberries into an extra-large bowl. Add sugar, mix well
3.Measure lemon juice into a small bowl; add the liquid pectin and stir well.
4.Pour pectin mixture into the prepared fruit and sugar mixture and stir for 3 minutes.
5. Ladle jam into clean, dry freezer containers or half-pint canning jars, leaving 1⁄2-inch
headspace, wipe rims, and close with lids. Let stand at room temperature until gel is set (up to 24 hours).
6. Once jam is set it can be refrigerated for up to three weeks or you can freeze it for
up to a year. When removed from freezer thaw jam in the refrigerator; stir before serving.
It can again be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Once a container is opened, the
product should be kept refrigerated. Room temperature is not recommended because uncooked
jellied products will mold or ferment in a short time.
For uncooked jam and jelly recipes using powdered pectin follow this link- ceschoharie-otsego.org/uncooked-jams.
If your uncooked jam or jelly doesn’t set within 24 hours follow the directions at the following links to remake your product. If your recipe called for using liquid pectin go to cceschoharie-otsego.org/liquid-pectin-freezer-jam. If your recipe called for using powdered pectin go to cceschoharie-otsego.org/powdered-pectin-freezer-jam.
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–Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties
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