Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Raspberry Peach Freezer Jam

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch as our family of 6 eats, or tries to, on $6/day.

My sister came to Evansville for a couple of days in the course of her oh-so-fun cross country move. Hopefully our house was a bit of a relaxing oasis for her and it was super fun for me and the cousins. We had lots of great food. And I'm pleased to say it didn't consume the entire visit. It was my goal not to spend the entire 2 days cooking for everyone (this is sometimes a weakness of mine when people come to visit--I want them to eat well while they're here, so I spend too much time cooking and stressing in the kitchen). I think that I was fairly successful. We did spend yesterday morning in the kitchen while I cut and froze a whole lot of strawberries and peaches, but it was more like productive visiting time than oh-my-gosh-I've-got-to-get-a-booty-load-of-food-made-by-dinnertime stressful. And we did make a quick peach raspberry jam with some of that fruit. And some cookies of course. But otherwise, it was cereal and sandwiches with an excellent crock pot dinner last night.

Today you get the peach raspberry jam. Both of these fruits are on right now. And if you're afraid of making jam, please meet your new BFF: freezer jam. It's so so easy. And so so fast. And if you're using seasonal fruit, it is 100% just as economical (if not a little better depending on the fruit you use) as store bought jam for way way better value. Of course you can make any old freezer jam with any old fruit you've got on hand. In each package of pectin (I use Sure Gel) there are specific instructions. However, I admit that with this recipe, I sort of made it up because I wanted to strain the seeds out of my raspberries (a tinge fussier than normal freezer jam, but in my opinion worth it). And I have to say it turned into the most beautiful jam I have ever made.

A few notes on freezer jam:
1. It tends to be a little looser than store bought or cooked jams, so if it seems a little runnier than normal, don't worry. Store bought jams remind me of boogers anyway, so I certainly don't mind a looser freezer jam.
2. You must use the exact amount of crushed fruits and sugar specified or it will really keep your jam from setting. So if you've got a little leftover fruit, freeze it or eat it with a spoon or make it into a smoothie, but don't just throw it into the jam mixture.
3. You can sometimes find pectin in larger containers. This is a cheaper option if you're committed to becoming a freezer jammer. If not, give it a try with a packet at first and then decide. Also, I often have trouble finding the bigger containers at the store, but they tend to have good sales at this time of year so keep your eyes peeled.
4.  It helps if you have Tupperware or glass containers that are all the same size so you can stack them up nicely in your fridge. I never do and all is well. For the record, I recommend plastic/rubber. Maybe your freezer is neatly stacked and perfectly organized, but, um, there are occasions when things fall out of my sloppy creative freezer. You've got a better chance of not breaking your fallen plastic/rubberware.
5. I always buy the lower sugar pectin. You don't have to, but I find that seasonal fruit tends to be nice and sweet anyway and the jams come out plenty sweet.

Raspberry Peach Freezer Jam
Makes about 32 oz.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Cost: $4.00 for me, more if you're buying raspberries, which admittedly, can hurt the pocketbook
(peaches: $1.30, rapsberries: mine were free from my friend; I'm guessing they'd be 4.00 or so unless you pick your own, pectin: 2.50)

2 C crushed peaches/ I used 5 ripe medium sized peaches (I believe this is about 1 1/2-2 lb, but I did forget to weigh)
2 C raspberry pulp/ I used 3 C black raspberries
1 C water
3 C sugar
1 package Sure Gel Low Sugar pectin (1.75 oz.)

Combine raspberries and water. Bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes. Mash the raspberries with a potato masher. It will only take a minute or two to get them mashed. Strain the raspberry pulp out through a find mesh strainer. Press it on through to get all the good stuff you can. Set your raspberry pulp aside. (Note: You can then discard the seeds. Or you can put them back in the pot with another cup of water, re-boil, and re-strain and then use that juice in smoothies or to pinken up a lemonade.)

Cut out the pits from your peaches (be sure to get any shards that occasionally get stuck to the inside of the peach) and crush the peaches in a food processor, blender, or by using a potato masher. I don't even remove the skins and no one ever even notices. Seriously, save yourself the trouble because you can't taste them at all. Measure out 2 C of the crushed peaches. Freeze any remainder or make a smoothie or add it to your oatmeal or feed it to your baby.

In a pot, combine the sugar and the pectin. Whisk them together. Add the raspberry pulp and mix it in. Bring this to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Take off the heat and mix in the peaches. You don't have to be, like, super speedy here or anything, but do not take this time to, say, use the restroom or put on your make up or empty the dishwasher because a little speed is in order as this is going to start setting up somewhat quickly. Pour the finished jam into very clean containers. Let them sit for 30 minutes without lids. Then put the lids on and leave them on the counter to set for 24 hours. After that, freeze them or refrigerate and use them within 3 weeks. (It is my opinion that they last longer than this, but I'm giving you the by-the-book amount of time they last. Of course, mine don't usually last 3 weeks anyway, but I put them in smallish containers.)


1 comment:

  1. Mmm, jam like that would be good on so many things. I bet they'd even make some really tasty cookie bars. Thanks for linking up to Sweets for a Saturday.



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