Throughout August, we’re covering some of the basics of canning, including a few how-to ideas to help you get started. This week, we’ll cover freezer jam, or fresh fruit jam and how to freeze berries so you can enjoy them all winter long.
Always Read the Directions and Consult the Pros
Oregon State University Extension Service and Washington State University Extension Service offer many recipes and advice. Have questions about food preservation? Call OSU’s food safety and preservation hotline at 1-800-354-7319. It’s staffed right now through mid-October by certified Master Food Preserve volunteers.
Get Your Essentials
Start with the Weston 5-Piece Canning set available at Coastal. Each pack includes a wide mouth funnel, jar lifter, lid wrench to get the lid extra tight, kitchen tongs, and a magnetic lifter to lift jars out of hot pressure cookers. You’ll also need a 12-pack of 8-ounce Quilted Crystal® Ball Jelly Jars. They are the perfect way to store and display your fresh fruit jams and give them as gifts.
Making Fresh Blackberry Jam
This recipe works with almost all other berries and fills two 8-ounce half-pint jars. Peaches have their own, unique recipe. Be sure and multiply the recipe to utilize all of your berries and fill the necessary number of jars.
What You’ll Need to fill two 8-ounce half-pint jars
- 1 2/3 cups prepared fruit (use a potato masher to crush your blackberries)
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Ball® RealFruit Freezer Pectin
Stir sugar and pectin in a bowl.
Add mixture to the prepared fruit. Stir for 3 minutes.
Ladle jam into clean freezer jars and let them stand for 30 minutes before adding your lids.
Coastal tip: when filling jars, leave a half-inch of space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion when in the freezer.
Freezing and Storing Fresh Berries
Picking blackberries might be easy, but preparing them for the freezer is just as simple with these steps.
Wash the berries and allow them to dry.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper (optional) and place the berries flat on the sheet.
Put the cookie sheet full of berry goodness into the freezer overnight. This will make the berries hard enough to keep them from getting mashed together into a glob once you put them into a bag.
The next day, put the berries in either a Ziplock or vacuum-sealed bag.
What is Better? Ziplock or Vacuum Sealing?
Both are great options for storing fresh berries in the freezer for up to 12 months. Ziplock bags are easy and inexpensive. But with a vacuum sealer, you get the added advantage of removing all the air from your bag of berries. Vacuum sealing machines create an air-tight environment, which can help keep them looking better for a longer period of time. Removing the air can also help avoid freezer burn.
Get Your Canning Supplies at Coastal
Whether you’re canning or freezing, you’ll find what you need in the canning section at your Northwest and owned Coastal. That includes Ball BPA-free lids, produce protector, pectin, jars, labels and lids, as well as jam and jelly makers and pressure canners.