Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry Freezer Jam

This is a summer staple in our house now as well as for both Huz and I growing up, so the tradition continues!!!  Homemade strawberry jam with fresh picked berries…doesn’t get any better.  Just a warning, once you make this you won’t ever want to go back to store-bought, there is no comparison…

Strawberries in Michigan are still picking until the end of next week.  The season is a bit later this year due to the cold spring.  Usually strawberry season runs from about June 1 – June 25-ish in West Michigan.  Recipe difficulty rating: easy to maybe medium.  Lets get started…

Things you will need for a single batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam:

  • A batch will net you 5 cups of freezer jam, so wash, rinse, and set aside enough freezer containers, glass or plastic work fine.
  • Rinse thoroughly about 2 quarts of berries,  a batch usually uses about 1.5 quarts, so if you wanted to double use 3 quarts of fresh picked berries.
  • 4 cups of white sugar
  • 1 box of Sure-Jell… it’s a yellow box usually found in the canning section at stores.  Here is a link to the website so you have a visual of what you are looking for.  This blog post is simply following the recipe for “strawberry freezer jam” in this box, with a few tips thrown in for extra success!!!

Directions:

Rinse berries thoroughly, the last thing you want is sand or dirt in your Jam, gritty = not good.  We fill a sink with cold water, dump the berries soak and swirl them for a minute or two.  If the water is really grubby, we repeat until it looks better, it will never be perfectly clear.  Then we rinse in the colander for a final time. Once rinsed cut/hull the berries so the green little stems are removed.  See below.

Strawberry Jam 1

Then crush the hulled berries into medium size chunks with what ever tool you have, pastry blender, chopper, hand chopper, etc.  The larger the chunks the more in your jam, the finer the chunks the finer your jam.  Crush enough for 2 cups.  *TIP* Measuring is key to this recipe.  Make sure your measurements as exact as possible, this ensures the jam sets up after you add the fruit pectin (Sure-Jell).  Measure exactly 2 cups of crushed berries, and 4 cups of white sugar and combine into a bowl and mix to incorporate berries and sugar.  Steps below.

Strawberry Jam 2

This next step is just as important as rinsing and measuring… you wait!  The sure-jell box of directions says to let the strawberry/sugar mixture sit for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.  We have found it is best to let them set for much longer, around 25-40 minutes depending on the berries “juciness”.  This longer resting time allows for the sugars to dissolve better, sometimes if you do not let this combo sit long enough your jam can come out a bit grainy from sugar.  So take your time here… clean up some of your mess, prep your freezer jars,  and stir occasionally until it looks good and clear.

Next step is to open your box of Sure-Jell fruit pectin and follow the directions:

  • Stir on box of sure-jell pectin and 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan.  (The pectin may start out a bit lumpy) Bring to a boil on a high heat, Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and pour into your berry/sugar mixture that has been sitting for a good 25 minutes.  Stir constantly for 3 minutes, this step also helps to dissolve any of the remaining sugars to eliminate “grainyness”

Strawberry Jam 3

Once you have stirred for at least 3 minutes it is time to pour into your freezer jars.  See below

Strawberry Jam 4

Once done pouring, cap, and let sit out on your counter for 24 hours this helps to set the pectin, then freeze until ready to use.  This stuff will stay good up to 2 years in the freezer.  Don’t forget to sample some of the fruits of your labor.  It is delicious and so so fresh when first made!  YUM!

Strawberry Jam 5

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan

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Scandinavian Cinnamon Roll Recipe … a classic!

Scandinavian Cinnamon Roll Recipe … a classic!

My Mom’s side of the family is famous for these and they show up at many family events.  Out of the whole family my Aunt Anne seems to make them the most, they are her speciality, she can probably make them in her sleep by now.  Growing up I was always envious of her kids (my cousins) because they probably got to enjoy these luscious cinnamon rolls every Sunday for breakfast because she made them so much.  However reflecting back and knowing my Aunt Anne as well as I do, she probably gave most of them away due to her generous heart.    So let’s get to it, Aunt Anne this post is for you!

Scandinavian Cinnamon Rolls:  Ingredients,  yields 24 rolls.

  • 4 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Butter – the real stuff
  • 1 Package of Dry Yeast ( 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 Cup of Warm Water (around 90-100 degrees)
  • 3 Egg Yolks (beaten)
  • 1 Cup of lukewarm milk (around 90-100 degrees)

Filling Ingredients:  Butter and Cinnamon Sugar Mixture, to be made after dough refrigeration rise.

  • 4 tablespoons of butter – melted and set aside
  • Mix the below together and set aside:
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (really you can add more or less depending on how much cinnamon/sugar you want in your rolls)

Frosting Ingredients:  To be made while rolls are baking in oven and applied after your rolls cool slightly. 

  • 3 Cups of confectioners Sugar (Powder Sugar)
  • 4 teaspoons of Butter
  • 3 teaspoons of Vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons of Hot Water – I nuked my in the microwave to get it good and hot, it helps to melt the butter and give the frosting a very creamy look

Directions

Add flour, salt, sugar to a large bowl and cut in butter with pastry blender until mix looks like cornmeal.

Scandie 1

Then dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water (around 100 degrees).  This step activates the yeast, in the picture below you can see the active yeast working and rising up.

Scandie 2

Next add the activated yeast mixture, egg yolks, and warm milk to the flour mixture (the stuff that looks like cornmeal).  Beat well until all ingredients are incorporated.  I used my mixer but you can also stir by hand.  See below once it is fully incorporated it will clump nicely together that is due to all that delicious butter we cut in!

Scandie 3

Next step is to chill the dough overnight in a airtight container in the refrigerator or refrigerate for a minimum of 4 or 5 hours.  I used a tupperware container.  This gives the yeast time to do its thing during a slow ferment process.  Below are my before and after overnight refrigeration shots.

Scandie 4

After the dough has risen grease your muffin pans to hold 24 rolls.  Mix together your cinnamon sugar filling from above ingredients and melt your butter, 4 or 5 tablespoons should do the trick, but if you need more, just melt more as needed.  Roll 1/2 of the dough into a rectangle that is 12×10 inches (put the remaining dough back in the fridge until ready for use). I cheat because my pastry mat  has measurements but you can also use a ruler.  Then brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with half of your cinnamon sugar mixture. See this step below.

Scandie 5

Beginning at the wide side, roll as jelly roll.  Once the dough has been rolled, you now have a “dough log roll”.  Using a knife gently nick the top of the log roll and measure out roughly 12 1 inch sections.  Note: do not use the knife to cut the log, it will crush it.  Once the tops have been nicked, pull out a piece of string.  I used all-purpose thread I keep handy for button emergencies.  Cut a nice long piece of string.  Then work the sting under the dough log roll to your first marked nick, then cross the string at the top and pull thru the dough to cut.  This gives you a clean cut with our crushing the log roll.  Once cut place into your muffin pan.  Continue to until all sections have been cut and placed into muffin pan.

Scandie 6

Then repeat this entire process with the second half of dough, netting 24 cinnamon rolls.  Once all dough has been rolled and cut, cover and let rise in warm (70 degrees-ish) room for about one hour.  Note:  the dough will almost double in bulk, but will only rise slightly.  Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  If you have a convection oven, use it, it browns doughs beautifully.  Warning:  Watch rolls after 15 minutes as they can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of a minute.  If they look done pull them.  Each oven is a bit different.  Below is the before while rising and after baked in oven.

Scandie 7

While the rolls are baking I mix together the frosting, ingredients and measurements above.  Dump the confectioners sugar, butter, and vanilla into a bowl then add 3 to 4 hot tablespoons of water.  Mix until smooth and creamy.  If it seems a bit too runny add a bit more of the powder sugar, if too dry add a small amount of water until you have a nice and smooth butter cream look.  See below for beginnings of the frosting mixture.

Scandie 8

Last but not least frost.  After the rolls have cooled for about 5-7 minutes begin to frost.  You want them warm, so the frosting will melt into the roll, but not so warm the frost drips off.  Frost each roll, then make a pot of coffee and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Well at least that is what I did.   They go delicious with coffee or milk!  Final product below.

Scandie 9

Few Tips:

  • Please do not be intimidated by this recipe.  It has lots of steps, but each step is not too complicated.
  • I would give this a medium difficulty, due to the steps and time, but the reward is worth it.
  • They are Huz approved as well as Grandma approved.  We shared our bounty with Huz’s Grandma because she loves cinnamon rolls!

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!  Enjoy ~ Megan