When canning season arrives, bumper crops of ripe fruits and vegetables can overload your canning capacity. Luckily, jams and jellies made from frozen crops work just as well and taste just as divine as those made from fresh produce. In addition, you can create wonderful combinations using frozen fruits that wouldn't ripen together in the regular canning season. By freezing jam/jelly fruits, your time can be spent canning the bumper crops that can't wait in the freezer until you get more time.
To freeze, prepare fruit with washing and slicing, removing stems, blemishes, pits, and skins, as needed. Premeasure the fruit, as desired, and place in freezer bags or containers, label, and freeze. You won't want to add any sugar or syrup to the pack, as the fruit will thaw faster and you'll be adding sweetener when you make the preserves.
To use, you can use frozen in cooked jams or thaw if you wish. Thaw fruit quickly to prevent browning by placing in a covered saucepan, adding 1/4 cup fruit juice per quart of fruit, and cooking over low heat, just until the fruit softens and releases its juice. Crush any fruit pieces that are too large and continue as directed in your recipe. For jams made from fruit purees, simply place frozen fruit in a food processor; thaw slightly as needed, and mash with a fork or potato masher if using a blender to puree the fruit. After the puree is prepared, measure and continue as directed by your recipe.
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