Strawberry Jam

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Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

We love homemade strawberry jam.  I like to make the freezer version because it is so easy.  We ran out of the last batch and as strawberries were on sale, I decided to make more.

I loaded my cart with strawberries and headed down the isle the pectin should be on.  Apparently I was not the only one who wanted to make jam because they were totally out of the Sure Jell pectin I have always used.  After some grumbling to myself, I decided to try out the jar of Ball brand pectin on the shelf.  It comes in 3 varieties: Classic Pectin (AKA cooked version), Instant Pectin (freezer version) and Low Sugar version.  I chose the Instant Pectin.

I am so glad I was “forced” out of my regular habits.  We love the jam we made and I will not go back to the old ways.  Let me tell you a few reasons why.pectin comparison

The Sure-Jell pectin recipe calls for 2 cups of crushed fruit to 4 cups of sugar.  The Ball brand pectin recipe calls for 5 cups of crushed fruit to 2 cups of sugar.
More fruit, less sugar?  Yes please!  The flavor is so much better.

The Sure-Jell pectin comes in a box.  It is intended to make one batch that yields 4 half pints (a half pint equals 1 cup)  The Ball Instant pectin comes in a plastic jar. You can make a batch as small as 2 half pints or multiply it and make 6 half pints.  (They do not recommend exceeding 6 half pints per batch).  They have a calculator on their website to help you calculate the amounts if you want to make the bigger batch.  One jar of Ball Instant pectin yields 15 half pints.
Less packaging is always better. 

The Sure-Jell pectin recipe requires you to boil the pectin and water together on the stove before adding to the fruit and sugar.  You also have to let the finished jam stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  The Ball Instant Pectin does not require the use of a stove and only has to sit for 30 minutes.
Easier to use and takes less time.

At my local store, one box of Sure-Jell pectin costs $2.98 which makes it about .75 cents per half pint.  One jar of Ball Instant pectin costs $4.98, making it .33 cents per half pint. (This is just the price for the pectin, not including the other jam ingredients)
More money in my wallet…always a win!

The Verdict:

The Ball Instant pectin wins hands down. 

It is my new go-to product for making jam.

We were totally out, so we made several batches of Strawberry jam.  You can buy containers for freezer jam.  However, I like to wash and re-use bottles from other foods we buy.  As you are not actually canning the jam, you don’t need canning jars.

Here is how our jam making adventure went:
Making Strawberry Jam

2 thoughts on “Strawberry Jam

  1. I had the same thing happen at the store. Just made 5 batches using the Ball pectin(loved how easy it is to make!) and still have 28 quarts of berries to make and was trying to decide weather to buy the Ball brand again or try another store for the sure jell. We had some for lunch it’s a little tarter than the sure jell kind and didn’t seem to be completely set. How did yours taste and set. All but one of my seven kids liked the taste (but he did eat 2 sammies with it) so I’m more concerned with the set. Thanks for your input

    • Laurie – We really liked the taste. I feel like it tastes more like the berries. The sure jell uses more sugar, so it will be sweeter. I think it’s a matter of preference. As for the set, mine seemed a bit less set when I first made it, but it did continue to set up. I can turn the jar I have in my refrigerator right now upside down and the jam doesn’t come sliding out. Kind of like the DQ Blizzard commercials 🙂 We have gone through half of the jars I made and have shared some with friends. I plan to stick with the Ball pectin for my future jam making. I hope yours all turns out well!

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