Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quick And Easy Homemade Freezer Jam With Farm Fresh Fruit

One of my favorite things about being a Jersey Girl is the cornucopia of locally grown Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables available. Growing up I marveled as I watched my Mom turn baskets of produce into dozens of beautiful glass jars filled with preserved fruits, vegetables and jams. They would be lined up on our basement shelves bringing our family a taste of summer all winter long. Now I'm the Mommy, and it's my opportunity to share this wonderful life skill with my children, and with you. Fortunately, my Mom is close by in case I get jammed up (pun intended!). With the diminished economy, an increased interest in emergency preparedness, and a desire to embrace a simpler life, home canning has seen a resurgence, and the undisputed go to place for information on home canning, drying and preserving is Ball's Fresh Preserving. Home canning supplies are readily available online, in grocery stores, hardware stores, and even the big stores like Walmart and Target.

Since I have an abundance of sweet, juicy nectarines and organic blueberries we'll be making Lemony Blueberry-Nectarine Freezer Jam from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.  Freezer jam is a great way to get started in preserving because it's quick, easy and fun, and absolutely anyone can do it! You will gain instant rock star status when you tell your friends you made your own homemade jam.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 3 cups chopped, pitted, peeled nectarines (about 4 medium)
  • 1 cup of crushed blueberries (about 1 pint)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of Ball Instant Pectin
  • 5 half-pint freezer jars
After you crush the blueberries, and peel, pit and chop the nectarines, grate a tablespoon of lemon peel and squeeze a teaspoon of lemon juice. Now combine those first four ingredients in a medium sized bowl and give them a stir. I like jam with pieces of fruit in it, but I zapped the mixture in the blender to smooth it out a bit because my kids are suspicious of any food with lumps or chunks in it.

In a smaller bowl, stir together the Ball Instant Pectin and the sugar, making sure there are no lumps left . Don't be tempted to use a different type of pectin you might have on hand. The Ball Instant Pectin does not require cooking and is not interchangeable with other types of pectin.
Now pour the sugar/pectin mixture into the fruit mixture and stir for three minutes.

 Ladle your super tasty jam into the plastic freezer jars, leaving about 1/2-inch of head space. The Ball freezer jars actually have a horizontal line on the side to make this extra easy for you.
This is what a full freezer jam jar with 1/2-inch of head space looks like. The lid sits down in the jar a bit so stick with the line on the jar and you can't go wrong.

Now screw on the lids, let the jam stand for about 30 minutes to thicken, then label and freeze! It's that easy : ) You should have five half-pints of homemade, all natural, yummy freezer jam.
Your freezer jam is good for about 12 months in a freezer maintained at zero degrees or lower. Not that your freezer jam is going to be in there that long because it is so darn good your family and friends are going to gobble it up real quick! I keep one in the refrigerator and then when I need another one I just take it out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge to thaw out. It's great on toast, bagels, on oatmeal, in ice cream or right off the spoon!
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Many Blessings,

Jana : )