One of my favorite things about living in Portland (as opposed to southern California, my previous home) is the fact that I can hop into a car and actually go pick fruit myself. I have a deep appreciation for knowing exactly where my food is coming from, so I get quite excited to be able to harvest it on my own. A common destination around here for picking fruit, especially for berries in the summertime, is Sauvie Island, an island on the Columbia River covered in farms and beaches. Yesterday I headed there with my family and ended up at Kruger's Farm where I picked a massive amount of blueberries, marionberries, and raspberries.
When I got home, I immediately started brainstorming about what I wanted to make from them. Jam has always been one of my favorite foods when it comes to berries, but after making it for the first time a few years ago, I didn't feel like going through all the trouble involved (hot water, huge pots of berries, sterilization, etc.). Then I remembered freezer jam, which I had been meaning to try once I got hold of a lot of fresh fruit. Oh, this is where my heart lies- quick, easy, extremely delicious fresh jam with no risk of botulism. There are few things better.
I can't even describe the satisfaction I keep feeling when I walk into the kitchen and see five mason jars of jam all lined up on our windowsill. They're almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Mixed Berry Freezer Jam
3 cups crushed mixed berries
5 1/4 cups white sugar
1 package fruit pectin
Wash and rinse 1-2 cup plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids. Crush berries one cup at a time using a potato masher or a food processor (if using a food processor, pulse to a finely chop- do not puree! Jam should have bits of fruit). Measure exact amount of crushed fruit in a large bowl. Stir sugar into prepared fruit. Mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir pectin and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan (Pectin may start out lumpy). Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes.
Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2-inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover.
Let stand at room temperature for up to 24 hours, until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Otherwise, store in freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.