I’ve tried buying just about everything to try to replace it, but as of this week, I have officially given up and decided to just go ahead and make my own.
What, exactly, you ask?
Well, Grandma Jam, (AKA Strawberry Freezer Jam), of course!
We call this magnificent substance Grandma Jam in my family because my Grandma Green used to make several batches every summer and share it with all of her kids and grandkids so we would be stocked for the rest of the year. I still remember carting back coolers of frozen jam on flights between Port Angeles and Spokane, along with the inevitable expressions of delight on my siblings’ faces when they saw the contents of those coolers! This stuff was like strawberry-sweet gold; once we opened the basement freezer to find the ratio of leftover jars to time left before summer (jam season) had dwindled out of whack, a sense of panic would start to set in for the Green family.
We would have to eat……….Smuckers. *GASP*
Thankfully, jam-making season always rolled back around, and my grandma always made sure she had enough strawberries for us to make one or two batches together when I came for my annual week alone at the lake with Grandma and Grandpa. We routinely packed that week full of pie baking, craft projects, math workbooks, swimming in the lake, and shopping, but making freezer jam remained a highlight of that trip for many summers.
My grandma has since retired from making jam, and we have felt a void in our lives ever since. I had essentially accepted an eternity doomed to Smuckers.
Until I saw the MCP Pectin display at the grocery store last Friday, that is. In that moment, it dawned on me: I know how to make Grandma Jam!
And so, I present to you…the famous Grandma Jam recipe! It’s actually easier to make than I remembered, and it’s strawberry season, so get your buns to the store so you can make some strawberry-sweet gold of your own too.
- 8 cups whole strawberries
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 box MCP Premium Fruit Pectin
- Wash 8 cups strawberries and cut into bite size pieces. Place in a large bowl.
- Using a pastry dough blender, smash strawberries until they are at a jam-like consistency (I like some "hunks" left in!).
- Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to strawberries. Stir and set aside.
- Measure 4 1/2 cups sugar into a separate bowl.
- Add box of MCP Pectin to strawberries and lemon juice, stirring gradually until completely dissolved.
- Now slowly add sugar to the strawberry mixture, stirring gradually until all of the sugar is dissolved. You will know this has happened when you stop hearing the grainy sound on your spoon. If you're not sure, dip a clean spoon into the mixture and taste test -- you shouldn't feel any grainy sugar in your mouth! If you do, keep stirring.
- Pour into clean containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top for expansion during freezing. Cover with lids.
- Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until set. Refrigerate up to three weeks, or freeze for up to one year!
- Having a hard time getting sugar to dissolve? Try placing the bowl in a warm water bath while stirring. It does the trick every time!