For years now, I’ve been trying to grow my own strawberries. And year after year, it’s a disappointing “harvest” of one or two small bites of tart berries. In fact, this year, my niece and I ogled two berries on the vine. I told her she could have one, and I could have one. She chose the large one and I was left with the dime-sized one. Though she didn’t come out too far ahead; hers was only the size of a nickel! It happens to me every time: they start with such promise, boasting bright green leaves and even a few strong flowers at the nursery. I bring them home, plant them in a hanging basket, and watch them shrivel up and die seemingly before my eyes. So, I’ve decided: if you can’t grow ’em. . . Buy ’em. Lucky for me, berry season is in full swing here in Texas. And while, at times in my life, I have spent full days in the kitchen making old-fashioned jams and canning pint after pint until the kitchen can hold no more, there are other times (and maybe you can relate) when I’d like the satisfaction of a homemade jam with none of the work. Too much to ask? There is a way—an easy, quick, and fool-proof way—to make this happen. Two words: Freezer Jam. Purists may scoff (though I don’t know why; perhaps because they’d rather spend hours upon hours in the kitchen over a hot stove?), but freezer jam doesn’t use any strange ingredients or magic tricks. It’s just a different way of going about preserving fruits. Last year, when I bought six pints of organic blackberries on sale and brought them home to my new (unpacked) kitchen, freezer jam was just the thing I needed. Leave that giant canning stock pot in the garage and try it the easy way. Here’s the best part: since it’s berry-pickin’ season in Texas, find your nearest pick-’em-yourself farm and come home with a bounty of local berries. Then, follow one of these simple recipes for making a small batch of quick jam. Don’t forget to sneak a few berries for the chef. • How to Make Freezer Jam • Homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam (made with honey instead of sugar) • 20 Homemade Freezer Jam Recipes
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