Lip-smacking delicious…Fresh strawberry freezer jam provides a tasty treat

Published 5:36 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

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It’s a cold, blustery December morning and one stumbles out of bed to find flurries of snow making their way across the landscape.
A fresh pot of hot coffee is brewing and you pull a hot pan of cathead biscuits out of the oven. Quickly a good slab of butter is put between a couple of halves of a biscuit and the butter begins to ooze over the sides.
All that is needed now is the jar of strawberry jam in the refrigerator to top of a simple but mouth-watering breakfast.
The imagery is one that plays out for many throughout the hills, valleys, and hollows in the neck of the woods that we live in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
And right now is the time that folks need to be taking advantage of freshly ripened strawberries that can be found throughout the area.
Whether your berries come from your small patch in your garden or from the many options available from Scott’s Farms in Unicoi County, Church’s Farms around the Nolichuckey area, Mann’s Farms in Fort Blackmore, VA or Cooley’s Farms in Chesnee, SC, its time to be figuring out just how many berries you plan on putting up to make this a reality later in the winter season.
Some may be asking what the difference in the strawberries are and a lot of the difference in taste, shape, and juiciness of the berries depends on the type of soils that the berries are raised in as well as the breed of the plant.
I will use this for illustration. The strawberries that come from Scotts in Unicoi County are most familiar to this area of Carter County. The berries are not always the same size but provide a tasty delight to the mouth.
My berries of choice actually come from Cooley Farms in South Carolina where the soil has more of a sandy clay consistency and the berries that I purchase are normally uniformly the same size and have a deep-red color which adds to the aesthetics of the look of the canned product.
These berries are normally carried locally by Farmer Johns Produce and Lambert’s Produce as long as they remain available. The strawberries have been a little slower turning this season due to the cooler weather but are starting to flow in a little more steadily.
I will say that if one is interested in this particular berry that you make a call to these two produce stands to make sure that they have some on hand as they go fast when they arrive.
In the day we live, I know that a lot of people have gotten away from canning and preserving food, but if one could invest about three hours into making strawberry freezer jam, it will be well worth the time.
And it’s truly simple.
All it takes is two gallons of strawberries, a 25-pound bag of sugar, eight boxes of Sure-Jell, and water. I will say that as far as Sure-Jell goes, it is better to stay with the name brand rather than an off-brand.
I am going to include the full recipe at the end of the article but I just wanted to share how easy it is especially if you can get a partner to help you in the canning of your freezer jam.
The first step is cutting up and mashing four cups of strawberries and mixing that with eight cups of sugar and mixing the two up well. Set this aside for 10 minutes.
When there is about five minutes left, mix two boxes of Sure-Jell and one and one-half cups of warm water together and put on the stovetop on high. Let this mixture boil fast for two minutes while stirring to keep from sticking.
Ten minutes should be up on the strawberry-sugar mixture that has been sitting so add the Sure-Jell into this mixture and stir for a total of three minutes.
You then simply pour this into your jars and let sit for 24 hours on your table or countertop. After 24 hours have passed, simply put the jars into the freezer, and you are set for some of the best eating that you could ever imagine.
As my grandfather would say, “It will make your tongue smack your lips off.”
Depending on whether you want to can your freezer jam in quart or pint jars, this recipe will generally give you 11 quarts and one pint or on average 23-24 pints.
We prefer the pints as they fit better in the side of the refrigerator compartments. We share our tasty freezer jam with our children who empty the jars out quickly and bring them back to be replenished the next strawberry season.
As promised, here is the recipe should you want to cut out and save. This recipe actually came from my mother-in-law’s Aunt Noami Baccum who lived in Erwin.
Trust me, you will be thankful you spent a little time putting this recipe into action especially when you start thinking of those big cathead biscuits during a cold, winter morning.

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