The first sweet juicy morsels of Oregon's legendary berry crop are starting to show up in area gardens, and local farmers markets.
We're not talking about golf ball sized strawberries in a plastic box. Our local berries taste better, and strawberries are just the start of the parade. Raspberries, blueberries,blackberries, and marion berries will keep your fingers sticky all summer long.
And while you can be forgiven for gorging on fresh fruit for awhile, if you don't save some for later, your winter will be dull and tasteless.
Freezer jam gives you the taste of fresh fruit, is easy to make, and keeps well. If you are still making cooked jam stop- or at least try a batch or two of freezer jam. You will never go back.
While each pectin supplier has a slightly different set of instructions, they all follow the same principle. Mix the sugar and pectin. Add water. Heat the mixture and add it to the room temperature crushed fruit-- see, we're done already. The jam stays out in containers overnight,then goes into the freezer.
There will be dire warnings in the directionsabout not varying the amount of sugar.
Ignore them. As a Master Food Preserver, I can tell you there is no danger associated with reducing the sugar in a freezer jam recipe. Runny jam maybe, but no health risk. Mix and match berries too if you dare.
My favorite is strawberry-- no raspberry- no- no - partially de-seeded blackberry.
Try making freezer jam. You'll like that fresh fruit taste now, and you'll love it in January.
I'm JohnFischer with KLCC's Good Gardening.