Making Jam In February

Doesn't everyone make strawberry jam in February?

Recently, I noticed that I had a lot of fruit purees in the freezer leftover from last summer. I pureed and froze local strawberries and peaches when they were in season so I could add them to the applesauce I made in the fall. I still had several bags of strawberry, cherry (not local), and peach.

I use Ball Fruit Jell Freezer Jam pectin. I find it in Walmart near the sugar. Read the instructions in the box if you're making anything but strawberry jam since different fruits require different techniques or recipes.

In a large bowl, I measured out 1 cup of sugar and 1 package of pectin.
(I use 1 1/2 cups of sugar if I'm making plain strawberry jam but with the addition of cherries in this jam, I didn't need as much sugar since the cherries were really sweet)
Have your 2 year old rest his nose on the bowl while he mixes the two ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, I had strawberry and cherry puree (4 cups total). Pour the pectin/sugar mix into the fruit.

Stir for 3 minutes. Then pour it into freezer safe containers. Let it sit on the counter for a while until it sets up. You can then put it right into the fridge to use soon or freeze it for up to a year. I froze my jam in larger containers this time around since we love it so much. Charlotte said that Evan makes the best jam. Be warned that when you cook with a toddler, they'll take all the credit.
My favorite thing about this recipe is that it doesn't have much sugar. It tastes like fruit not like sugar. I make sure to use fully ripe, in season fruit so it's as naturally sweet as possible.
Since last year's peach freezer jam never fully set up, I'm trying a different pectin/method for a smaller batch of peach/strawberry jam.

This time around I'm using Ball Natural Gel "No Sugar Needed" pectin. You can use this to make freezer jam. Again, you need to read the instruction sheet inside the pectin for specific instructions but here is what I did.
I put 1 3/4 cups of apple juice and 1 packet of pectin in a sauce pan and boiled it for 2 minutes.

Then I added my fruit (3 cups peach puree and 1 cup strawberry puree) and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. I also added 1/2 cup of sugar (I wish I had added a full cup). I boiled this for a while and then put it into freezer safe containers. I let the containers sit on the counter to cool and set. It set very firmly but still spreadable. The jam is pretty tart so next time I may skip the juice and just add a bit more sugar. I'll definitely use this pectin next time I make peach jam since it set firmer then the regular freezer jam pectin. The reason I used No Sugar Needed pectin is because I wanted the flexibility of using much less sugar then most jam recipes call for.

At the rate that we're eating this jam, I may need to make jam in April too!
My goal for this upcoming fruit season is to make enough jam so that we never buy store-bought. I think I'll need to make about twice as much as I did this past year to make that happen. We eat a lot of PB&J around here.