Music City Jam Session..Strawberries

Music City Jam Session

I realize that “strawberry season” is over here in Nashville.  So why am I having a        “Music City” Jam Session? Whipping up jars of Strawberry Jam? It is September… What has gotten into me? Let me tell you.

 Circumstances dictated my non-musical (except for Pandora) strawberry jam session. I ended up with lots of berries from a photo shoot – bags of IQF strawberries to be exact. You may ask what is IQF? or not? IQF stands for “individually quick frozen”. This means the berries were frozen on trays as individual berries, then bagged. The result is wonderfully whole, intact berries, not smashed & clumped together. The flavor & color of berries frozen this way is also still present.

Three bags of beautiful IQF strawberries I could not toss out. They came home with me. I made a quick freezer jam. Here are my jars awaiting the freezer, to be eaten way past summer, when the days get longer & dark and we need something colorful & comforting to cheer us up.

jars filled with strawberry jam

You can make this with any “IQF”/frozen fruit…blackberries, blueberries…even peaches. If you missed the local harvest but crave a jam session then just go to the grocery, bring home your frozen fruit & get busy. This is so simple & easy.

Here is how you do it:

1. Start with 2 lbs of frozen whole berries, thawed. Place berries in a deep non-reactive pan. Grate the peel of one lemon into the pan. Stir to blend. Place pan over medium heat.

2. Sprinkle 1 cup sugar over mixture and stir until sugar has melted. Allow berry mixture to come to a low boil.

                       Lemon zestingStrawberries in Saucepan

3. Meanwhile add Ball Pectin, or any other brand, by following the instructions on the packaging right under the label. I mixed 2 tbsp. of pectin with 1/2 cup water, whisking until it was dissolved. Quickly stir into the pan of berries.

Ball PectinPectin dissolved in water

4. Bring mixture to a slow simmer  for 30 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat.

Cooked strawberry jam

5. Spoon hot strawberry jam into 1 or 1/2 pint clean glass canning jars leaving a “1/2 inch unfilled” at the top of each jar which is important. The jam will expand as it freezes so you need this extra headroom to allow for this. Trust me…I failed to pay attention to this rule when I made my very first batch of freezer jam and just let me say that the results were interestingly “volcanic-like” in my freezer!

Doesn’t my jam making area always looks a bit like a CSI crime scene? But sweeter.

filling jars with jam

6. When all your jars are filled wipe edges clean, top with lid and rings, tightened. Let jars of jam sit until mixture has cooled down. Pop into the freezer (I keep one out in the fridge to eat immediately). I always give most of my jars away to my daughters who love this particular jam. Allow frozen jam to thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

Freezer Jam

Yes, anyone can, “can”.


“Strawberry Freezer Jam’ on hot buttered toast for now and later.