Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jam-Packed Freezer

My husband loves his (paternal) grandmother's raspberry jam more than any jam in the history of ever. He spent most of his Summers staying with them growing up, and he lived with them to finish up High School since his dad was in the military and got transferred away. So my husband is very close with these grandparents. One of the traditions they do is French Dip sandwiches on Christmas Eve, and a while back we went over there to visit and for Grandpa to teach him how to make them. This time around was Grandma's turn. Plus raspberries are in season, so they are plentiful, cheaper (than other times of the year) and far yummier right now. I joked that Grandma's secret recipe was just the pectin box's recipe, and it turns out I was mostly right! ...Mostly...

MCP Raspberry (or Mixed Berry) Freezer Jam
3 1/4 c crushed berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or any combination.)
4 1/2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup (we used Karo)
1/4 c lemon juice
1 box MCP Fruit Pectin
Enough washed plastic containers with air-tight lids to hold it all. Makes roughly 8-9 cups.

Step 1: Wash and crush berries. Measure exactly 3 1/3th cup into a stove-top-safe pot (will need to hold another 5+ cups, so big enough for all that.)
Little Z once again proved herself a pro at mashing jamberries.
She has a biscuit-dough mixer thing, and Daddy has the potato masher.
Step 2: Unlike the Sure-Jell brand (although we found out MCP is owned by the makers of Sure-Jell as well,) we don't dissolve and cook the pectin in water. You just dump it in after measuring out the crushed berries, and let it sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bo-o-o-ring.

Step 3: Add 1/4 cup lemon juice (from a bottle or freshly squeezed. We used freshly squeezed. Grandma's an overachiever!)

Step 3: Add 4 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup light corn syrup (really the corn syrup, lemon juice, and sugar can be added/mixed in any order, after the 30 minutes of "alone time" between the berries and pectin.) Mix well.

Step 4 [Granny's Super Secret Extra-Special Bonus Step!]:  Now here's where Grandma deviates from the recipe. She says that when following the directions exactly, her jam was a little grainy from un-dissolved sugar. So she heats it up on the stove on medium heat and stirs occasionally until warm to the touch and you can no longer feel any grainy bits.

Step 5: Pour into prepared containers and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Leave 1/2-inch of room at the top for contents to expand. Can store in freezer for up to 1 year, or in fridge for 3 weeks.
Costco had a set of Snapware for $25, with 19 containers (38-pieces total, including lids) in a variety of sizes. We used all 5 of the 1/2-cup ones (pictured above right) between the two batches of jam, both of the mini-square 1.25-cup ones (top left,) and small rectangle (2-cup) ones (middle left,) plus both of the 4.7-cup rectangles (bottom left) to hold the rest. We opted to use all the little containers that we could, since it's only good in the fridge a short time, so best to have smaller amounts in there at a time.
We had a hard time deciding between the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid containers (the ones they had have see-through windows in the lids) and these, since we already have a set of Rubbermaid ones which I use a lot, and they would be compatible. But the thing that cinched it for the Snapware (other than having a few more pieces for the same price) was that this set also came with two 3.5-cup divided rectangles - basically, the size of an EasyLunchBox (which I love) but only one divider along the side, making large square and small rectangular compartments. Another lunchbox option! WIN! (AND I suckered him he bought them, so he can't yell at me for bringing home yet another lunch box! [We have, like, fifteen or more traditional bento boxes, plus a Laptop Lunch, a LunchBots Duo, an EcoLunchbox, several Goodbyns, 4 Sistema boxes, square and rectangular Lock and Lock boxes, assorted Kinderville and Kids Konserve containers, and a stack of 12 (although they're never all clean and in the same place at once) EasyLunchBoxes. Whew! Plus some Citizen Pip containers that are like the Snapware and more Snapware from a set with a BUILT lunchbag {TOTALLY cute! I'd been lusting after that bag, which is almost $20 by itself, and I got the whole set for less than that at Costco last year! Fits an EasyLunchBox, ice pack and drink box or pouch perfectly. You can even squeeze in a container of yogurt, apple or banana!} I have those camouflaged in the Tupperware cupboard, so he doesn't even know I've exceeded my allotted cupboard space!]

We also made a batch of raspberry-blackberry jam (my choice, and far yummier than his plain raspberry, if I do say so myself.) Same recipe, but we had more raspberries than blackberries (he bought 12 of those little pint jobbers of raspberries, but we only got a 12-ounce clamshell of blackberries, minus the ones Z ate while shopping (Costco) and while waiting for the first batch of jam to get it on with the pectin.) We just mashed up all the blackberries we had left and filled in with raspberries. So I don't know the ratio. Slightly less than 12-ounces (8 ounces to a cup) of blackberries, so a slightly higher raspberry concentration.
Grandma Donna had just enough vanilla ice cream for everyone to have a scoop with some still-runny-jam on top. Everyone but my husband chose black-raspberry. Soooooo gooooood!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing, I love fruit jams. Yummy!

    Following you from a blog hop, all the best!


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