Summertime to me always means getting fresh fruit to make jams. Years ago, I used the canning method which was very time-consuming. Then I learned to make freezer jam. It was much easier, but my freezer was packed with containers of jam, and I didn’t like the aftertaste the pectin left in my mouth. Now, I have discovered that not all fruits need the artificial pectin. They all contain a natural pectin, some more than others (see list below). By combining low pectin fruits with high ones, you will be able to make just about any combination for great jams. Keep in mind that the riper the fruit the less pectin so choose slightly under ripe fruits.

Blueberry Refrigerator Jam

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups fresh blueberries
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

Directions:

  1. Place a small ceramic plate in the freezer.
  2. Place 2 cups of blueberries in a saucepan, and mash with a potato masher. Add the remaining blueberries and the remaining ingredients. Heat over medium high heat, bringing mixture to a boil.
  3. Once the blueberries start boiling enough that the bubbles don’t dissipate when you stir, continue boiling for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. When the jam begins to thicken, pull the plate from the freezer and place a small amount of the jam on the plate. Run your finger through the jam, and if it jells and seems thick, remove the pan from the heat. If the jam is not thick enough, place the plate back into the freezer, and continue to cook the jam for a minute or two longer. Test again. Repeat until the jam is thickened.
  5. Divide the jam into clean glass jars. Allow to cool for about 2 hours, then top with lids. When the jam cools to room temperature, store in the refrigerator.

This next recipe is the easiest jam to make and strawberry is my favorite. The rhubarb gives the jam a little tart flavor.

Strawberry Chia Jam

Fit and Frugal shows us how to make a delicious jam with chia seeds!

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/3 cup strawberries
  • 2/3 cups rhubarb
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

  1. Process all ingredients in a blender and refrigerate overnight. The chia seeds will gel, thickening the fruit.
  2. Add additional diced fruit if you like your jam to be chunky.

I love this next recipe because you can make as little or as much as you want at a time.

Raspberry Jam

Ingredients:

Equal amounts raspberries and sugar!

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, crush the berries with a potato masher or the bottom of a soup ladle. Don’t worry too much if there are some uncrushed, as you will have a chance to smash them while they are heating.
  2. Measure the amount of the crushed berries and place in a large pot. Add an equal amount of sugar to the pot.
  3. Heat, stirring and crushing any whole berries until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that can’t be knocked down by stirring. Continue to stir for one minute.
  4. Remove from heat. See the foam on top? That is an indicator of pectin.
  5. Ladle into prepared containers. Allow to cool completely before placing your finished product into the freezer.

High pectin fruit:                                                                                    

  • Citrus skins
  • Apples
  • Crabapples
  • Grapes
  • Cranberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Peaches
  • Apricots

Low pectin fruit:

  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Rhubarb