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Jam time

At some point every May, I take mental stock of what we have going on in the coming weeks so I can find the day, most likely on a weekend, when I can make the strawberry jam.  This pondering normally begins when I see my first pint of local strawberries, my tell-tale sign that it is summer, or close to it. And because of all that mental work, I knew that if it was going to happen at all this year, it would have to be this past weekend.

June 4
June 5

But, at the same time, I wasn't convinced that I needed to make it happen. The strawberry crop was hit with a bunch of rain in April and the beginning of May, making the fruit slow to start. My favorite u-pick farm closed their fields to pickers. Big bummer and no fun. And I am pretty sure we have *just* enough in the freezer to get through the year, although I was really too lazy to actually take inventory. I was willing to gamble. And then on a whim, we went to the farmers market on Saturday. Yeah, you guessed it. Eight quarts of strawberries purchased. I made the jam.

Jam 1
Jam 5

It's a yearly ritual at this point and why I thought I wouldn't do it is really beyond me. It's kind of like planting bulbs in the fall, or in my case, the good intent to plant said bulbs. Every spring, I swear I am going to plants hundreds of daffodils. By October, I am so. over. gardening. that. I. cannot. bear. to. plant. anything. at. all. Come spring, I curse myself and swear I'll do it this year. Cross my heart. But then it's rinse and repeat, doesn't happen. It's the same, but opposite with the jam. Every year, I think I am going to take a break and live on my reserves and Bonne Maman. But no. I do it. I get the strawberries. And the sugar and the pectin. Or Fatty does, as it happened this year. Regardless, I make the jam. I always do.

Jam 4
Jam 6

Strawberry freezer jam is a taste that takes me right back to my childhood. It's just as much a part of me as, say, red hair and freckles. Really. I think the only time in my life when it wasn't in my refrigerator was when I was in college, living far from home and the chest freezer full of jam. And, by now, you'd think that I'd realize that I can't not have it around and just go on planning to make it. But I think the making of the jam is kind of like strawberry season - it comes fast, hits hard and is gone before you know it. It appears to be that way for me - I made five batches in record time this year.

Jam 3
Jam 7

The sweet, sticky mess was made lickety split and, just as fast, was all cleaned up. The only thing I have to remind me is the 14 pint jars of glorious, sweet, red jam sitting in my freezer. Jam that will bring the taste of summer to my mouth some blustery autumn afternoon or snowy winter day. And when the spring rains start coming, and I am eating jam, I'll realize that May is just around the corner. The thinking will begin. The strawberries will call and I will make jam.

For more information on how I make the jam, refer to this post from 2009. I also wrote about strawberry freezer jam in 2008 and 2010. Like I said, it's an annual thing.



I didn't make any last year and I deeply regretted it.
We won't have strawberries here for another 3-4 weeks, but you can bet your boots that we'll be there picking what we can!


i love the parallels between making jam and planting bulbs. what is meant to happen will happen, especially those traditions we hold so dear. and i do believe that after years of never getting around to it, strawberry jam is going to make its way into our freezer this year. thanks for sharing your recipe, erin! xoxo


i love strawberries....those lovely jars of jam would never see a winter day in my house. one spoon, jam and me!!!! mmmmyummy. ditto on fall plantin! :>)


Oh I'm so jealous. Strawberries here are hard to come buy. Bought off the produce shelf for a small fortune. Homemade strawberry jam would be heaven!

Mama Urchin

I've canned three kinds of strawberry jam this year. Today Tristan and I prepped 7 quarts for the freezer. Strawberry season is definitely winding down here, I imagine you are about the same. Just think, when your girls are grown they will have that same memory of the freezer and strawberry jam. Some traditions are definitely worth keeping.


Strawberries are finally starting to ripen here in New England. Too much chilly rain! I'm hoping there are enough to pick this weekend. After over jamming two years ago, my freezer is finally empty of strawberry jam!


Lovely, lovely strawberries! I've never made freezer jam but think I must try it this year -- looks heavenly.


I do the same thing too, will I or won't make jam this year...This year is still up in the air as the strawberries are no where to be found. Our (Oregon) spring has been, and is still, too wet and the strawberries have not materialized.

Your photos are beautiful.


lovely! I went strawberry picking on Saturday and loved it! I didn't make jam though, I think I will freeze the ones I have leftover from the strawberry rhubarb pie I made yesterday. I too love reaching into the freezer in the middle of winter to remember what summer tastes like! :)

Indiana Lori

And because of years of reading your blog, strawberry freezer jam is a tradition at our house as well. This was our 4th year of making it to the fields the very first day of summer break. The crops are horrid up here in Indy as well, but I'll probably get 20 or so jars. I'll have to supplement with apricot and blueberry and raspberry jam to make it through a year. We eat A LOT of PB&J's here! Thanks for sharing!


I thought you were quoting me about what I say every single year in regards to bulbs. I swear it's going to happen this year!


We made it this weekend and with cane sugar this time. It is darker and has a different maple sugar/molasses like taste to it. So good.


You inspired me to make peach freezer jam last year, so thanks again in advance if I jump on the strawberry bandwagon this year. = )


I made my first jam ever, Saturday, following pretty much the same experience: late crops, closed u-pick, flat from the market, score!

We also made strawberry freezer jam, and although I think I biffed several steps, it turned out okay. Hard to go wrong with 8 cups of sugar, anyway :)

Off to go read your earlier posts about this business. I tremble at the thought of canning. Must get off the bench.


I love that you put the jam up in pint jars. Thats the way to go. With all the rain we've had in Vermont I'm hoping the Strawberry season won't be a total loss. You should enter it in your local Ag Fair. I won a Blue Ribbon one year for my Strawberry Jam - it was that year!


Oh Erin, yum. That looks delicious! I canned for the first time last summer. Figs jam from the fig tree in our front yard. What in the world is freezer jam though? Is it easier than traditional canning? I'm intrigued!
The photos are wonderful.


I'm flexing my jamming muscles as we move into the season here. Funny, it is only through blogging that I realize how much of a pattern there is to my year. I never realized I had so many habits and rituals before.

Steph VW

You are making my mouth water this morning! I love making strawberry freezer jam and got a hint from a certo recipe years ago to substitute lime juice for the lemon juice - it's a subtle change, but it's oh, so good.

I had a good laugh when I saw your photos - I use that same, big, yellow bowl for my strawberries. Mine belonged to my husband's paternal grandmother. It's the best bowl for strawberries, isn't it?


I love reading about your traditions over and over again.


I feel the SAME way about bulbs! Our jam season is probably about 2 weeks away still where I live, but we are ready for it with only a couple of jars of jam left on the shelf. It is a yearly tradition for us, too, and we've starting mixing all sorts of fruits together. Last year we had a batch of strawberry-cherry-blueberry-raspberry!

Angela Watts

We're up in New England as well. I never think of strawberry jam until June with our local Strawberry Festival in South Berwick, ME falling the last Saturday of the month. I normally remember that weekend to find some berries. I don't have the freezer room for jam, but I adore how forgiving it can be and have made it for years.


I can strawberry jam too and I tried my hand at peach jam last year when i found some organic very ripe peaches on sale for 50 cents a pound. My family devoured all of it and we now have none! We moved this year and low and behold, we discovered we have an established peach tree that bears a lot of fruit. I'm so excited about it, except for the fact that there's probably about 150 peaches that are going to ripen at around the same time. I will be very busy! Glad you were able to make some jam this year. It's rewarding and makes you feel like such a good little homemaker! :)

Steph W

Our local "hoods" are supposed to be available this weekend. I can't wait!


Ha! Your fridge looks like you live on beer and strawberries! :)


YUM! looking up the recipe in the link you gave....I could really love this being a new tradition at our house...or blackberry jam.

Mary Smith

I can't wait to do that too! It's a great annual thing!!


Strawberries are essential to summer.
I've also made some jam but not in the quantities that you have and now its nearly all gone.


Strawberry freezer jam is on my families favorite, my only problem is making it last. the gobble it up so quickly. :)


i'm diggin' all that beer :-)


Somehow I always miss the local strawberries...probably because the nearest place to pick isn't all that close by. I need to get to the blueberry patch soon, though!


I bought a flat yesterday though they are late here this year. No time for jam, they went straight into our mouths.

Coveting your beer collection, now that's my kinda fridge.

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