I recently had a friend ask me how to make jam. I started talking about pectin and storing it in the freezer, and she didn’t know what I was talking about. So I’ve decided to do a little how-to for making freezer jam. It’s so easy and super delicious, you will never buy store jam again!
First buy a box of pectin. Pectin is the stuff that makes the jam jiggly. You will need it for any kind of jam you make. I usually buy the Sure Jell brand, but there is also Fruit Pectin, and others too. You can find it in the baking aisle, or next to the canning supplies. The directions to make the jam, whether it’s cooked & canned or for the freezer, are included right in the pectin box. Just follow the directions. Really all you need is, your pectin, sugar, and your fruit. There are some fruit flavors that will require lemon juice. Just check the pectin directions to be sure.
Because strawberries are so easy to get and cheap when they are in season, I have only made Strawberry Jam. I have used frozen strawberries too, but it’s better if they’re fresh. If you choose to use frozen strawberries, make sure you drain as much liquid as you can before you puree them. Cut up your strawberries, then mash them to a puree. I use a mini food processor, but you could use a potato masher or blender. You will need 2 cups of strawberry puree. Then add 4, yes I said 4, cups of sugar. I didn’t say this was low calorie, just delicious.
Then pour your pectin packet into a small pot and bring it to a boil with some water, read the directions from the pectin box for how much. Once the pectin is dissolved, stir it into the fruit/sugar mixture.
It’s now ready to pour into containers. I like to use plastic containers that are freezer safe. I found these great jam containers (with the purple lids) but I need a few more for a whole batch.
Now you are ready to devour your Jam. I keep one out to eat now, and save the rest in the freezer for later. It should last up to a year if stored properly. I have also given these little containers as gifts to neighbors. Enjoy putting this yummy jam on your toast or simply eat it with a spoon straight from the jar like my Grandma!
I’m surprised no one mentions strawberry rhubarb freezer jam. I put mine on everything. So much better than cooking.
Hi Marie, The real fruit pectin that I buy, the Ball brand, calls for 2/3 cups sugar to 1 2/3 cups strawberry puree. MUCH less sugar. You mix the sugar with the pectin (no need to boil), add the fruit, mix for 3 minutes, fill jars and let them sit for 30 minutes. That’s it! This is a much quicker option than having to let it sit 24 hours, and it has just the right amount of sweetness. Thought I would share this with you all.
I am with LisainKC…..is 4 cups of sugar better than 1 3/4??? I don’t want it to be toooo sweet.
You forgot to mention that the starwberry/sugar mixture has to sit for 10 minutes before adding the pectin, and once you do, it has to sit for 24 hours to set before placing in the freezer, but otherwise, great job! (and really, those instructions are in the pectin box anyways, so no biggie).
I grew up on freezer jams and can’t stomach store-bought. Every year I make enough strawberry, raspberry and sometimes blackberry jam to last my family the whole year with some leftover for gifts. There’s nothing like making your own (especially for jam and applesauce too!)
Sorry if this has already been asked. Can you use splenda or some other sugar substitute? I was diagnosed with diabetes and I am trying to watch sugar intake. Thanks.
Enjoying your site!
No Lisa, not with regular pectin. There are pectins for sugar free jams though. Ordinarily, the sugar is crucial for getting the jam to “set” so regular pectin won’t work with Splenda. You’re in luck though that the pectin for sugar free jams usually sits right next to the regular pectin. :)
I just posted a free strawberry jam printable that might work with your freezer jam Marie.
Can this be made using a bread machine? If so would the recipe be any different?
Thanx so much! My Mother-In-Law said it’s a Secret Family Recipe & won’t give it to me :( So…I will now make my own for my Kids & Husband (so there) hahaha
It’s Tamara again here :) I found the purple lids plasticware at Bed Bath & Beyond…now to buy the strawberries at our flea market & then waa laa I’m making freezer jam & can’t wait! So excited.
You can make a no sugar freezer jam with the sugar free jello. Im not sure of the exact amounts but I think it is 4 cups of prepared fruit, bring to a boil for about 4 minutes and take off the heat and add the jello. If your berries are very tart you may have to add some splenda. Mix for a long time to let the jello dissolve completely. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from rim and let sit on counter for 24 hours, then in the fridge for a day or 2 to let it set. I got this from the radio station, Listen to the Mrs on AM 790 from the Saginaw, Mi area. They are also live online also. Its a great show that gives household tips and recipes. Anyone can call to get the recipe, the # is 1-989-752-6111. It is from 10 am to 11:30 am. Mon-Fri.
This jam sounds SOOO delicious. I wish my strawberry plants were producing more berries but with this extreme heat – they aren’t – so I will buy them at the store. :) This sounds relatively easy to make and oh, so fresh tasting! I am excited to try making it and will try it soon. Thanks for the recipe!! So, is the SureGel the best way to go or the Pectin that you boil? What’s the concensus??? I’m a little confused about that – and is it the recipe with 4 cups sugar or the one with 1 3/4 sugar?? Help!??
Was a bit intrigued with a comment regarding using Ultra Sperse. From the description I wondered if it was the same thing as Instant Clearjel. I do believe it is and Instant Clearjel is so much easier to find (I get mine on the internet or at Amish Stores). Here’s some uses for it in jam, bread and cookies…
Freezer Jam: Combine 3-Tbsp Instant Clearjel with 2-cups sugar, before adding to 5 cups crushed fruit and add 1 Tbsp corn syrup and then 1 Tbsp lemon juice. (For a great jam, that’s lower in sugar; less sugar, reduces calories!)
Breads: Add 2 tsp Instant Clearjel (per 3 cups flour) for breads. Adding ICJ retains the natural moisture in baked goods, extending the shelf life of the end product. Here’s a GREAT hint, when adding Instant Clearjel, you can actually REDUCE up to half the fat in most bread recipes, and still have a very tender loaf. (Reducing the fat content, also reduces calories!)
Soft, Chewy Cookies: Substitute (all or part) of the shortening with real butter. Use 1 tsp ICJ (per 1-cup flour) for cookies that can rival bakery-shop cookies. Homemade cookies many with butter usually spread out flat, but when ICJ is added to flour, dropped cookies maintain a nice shape and cut-out cookies roll out beautifully (pre-chilling is NOT neccessary)!
I love this idea. The kids and I just went blueberry picking and I think this will be great with our blueberries.
in all these comments, i am a bit surprised that no one had another venue for pectin. instead of sure jell, we use a bulk food called dutch gel, which is exactly the same as sure jell, but you use a rounded 1/3 cup to replace the sure jell pectin. it’s much less expensive than the sure jell……
Looks delicious and easy. I will have to try this. Thanks!
Just a quick note about the Ball plastic jars with the purple lids. I bought some and have decided that while great concept, they are not the best. I had trouble getting them opened after getting jam stuck in the threading. The lids screw to the inside of the jar not the outside. Yes, I could wipe the threading out each time but getting the family to do that is another matter.
Greetings in the name of King Jesus!
I made the same freezer jam as Deb. It turned out wonderfully! I cannot imagine using anymore sugar. It would give me a belly ache if it was any sweeter. I don’t like using white sugar (or splenda, which puts holes in your brain) but I did for this. I would have preferred to use Xylitol, but I have pets and it can be dangerous if they get any of it. I might try making some with stevia next.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Hi Bj, Been making freezer jam 30 years or more. Yes you certainly may use containers over and over as long as they are spotlessly clean, not necessarily free of spots,
Making mine tomorrow or rather today now. Best of luck to you. Remember ii is a softset jam, not like store bought, but OMG it is soooo much better.
I am post 73…does anyone know the answer to my question r/t reusing freezer containers and lids year to year????
Thanks, I am almost ready for this year marathon, but need guidance if I need to purchase NEW
Deb (commenter 36), when you mix the sugar (splenda) and pectin together, do you have to add water to the pectin?
Can you re use the freezer jam containers and lids year to year?
yes, you can.
Penny: What size containers are you using?? That will depend on how many strawberries you need. My mom used to make this using baby food jars. Now all these years later I am trying it that way, they are used jars, I washed and I am not spending money on containers. Perfect sized jars she says so we’ll see!
ok i am asking for a little friendly advice if you please. i need to make 300 jars of jam for my daughters wedding. this will be my very first time for making jam. can anyone give me an idea of how many strawberries it might take for this call me crazy, undertaking? thank you!!!
Brenda – I’m not sure. I wish I knew more about the science of it all. You may need to contact one of the manufacturers of pectin and see what went wrong.
Anyone else know this answer?
My freezer jam is pink in color and is grainy of sugar. What did I do wrong?
I love strawberry freezer jam, too! I just made raspberry blackberry over the weekend, now I don’t know which one I like better! Sandy’s (www.reluctantentertainer.com) strawberry raspberry sounds wonderful, too. It’s all so yummy!
I actually followed the directions on the package of pectin. I used one specifically for a no cook freezer jam. I had looked at several online recipes, and many posts about them being too sweet. The difference seems to be that the amounts for sugar and fruit are reversed? I used 4 cups of crushed berries and 1 3/4 cups of sugar. It came out great, and plenty sweet enough for us (even my sugar addicted 4 and 6 year olds)
I love freezer jam. I make mine without the pectin – you just need to cook it for longer. Yum!
Hi Buzz – I work at Kraft Foods so I was able to look into the Sure-Jell No Cook Pectin for you. I’m sorry that this wasn’t shared previously but it was discontinued a little over 2 years ago. There just wasn’t any demand for it. But we still make a regular Sure-Jell Pectin. Hope you find this helpful.
I want to buy sure jell no cook jam pectin but I can’t find it anywhere and Kraft won’t help me. does anyone know where I can buy it?
Kathy – The pectin box should have it’s own instructions on how to make. I haven’t made the sugar free before, but I’m assuming that’s what it means. Check the directions in the box. Have fun!
I bought the no sugar needed fruit pectin – with this do I need to use any sugar – do I just dissolve this in water and then pour over strawberries?
Just made this tonight…it was so easy (although I got a little over zealous with the amount of strawberries I was smooshing). I’ll just have to get some more pectin tomorrow! Thanks!
Hey thanks so much for sharing this recipe I’ve been wanting to make this for quite some time…keep posting I love your site!
Wow, i never really realized how easily I could make jam! My boyfriend devours the stuff like it’s going out of style, i think i might try this! Thanks so much. :)
Peaches make terrific freezer jam too. It’s almost like picking the peach right off the tree and eating it. Because my brother-in-law is a diabetic, I use 50/50 sugar and Splenda. Works like a charm and tastes just as wonderful.
I made strawberry freezer jam at our cottage and left the freezer door open for a week and it never got frozen. Does anyone know if it will still be good?
Our freezer jam always seems to be way to thin, even though we have followed the directions on the Sure-jell box exactually. Please help
My parents used to make this when we were kids. My brother and I were such strawberry jam snobs we wouldn’t eat our PB&J’s with anything else…embarrassing for my mom when we were visiting friends! Can’t wait to revisit this tradition with my own kids.
According to info from a website reg: Splenda and freezer jam, you have to use a pectin with monocalcium phosphate which helps if thickening jams made with Splenda. The brands of the pectin are Pomons’s Uneversal and Mrs. Wages Lite Home Jell. Can’t find in my area, any suggestions from those out there that make freezer jam with Splenda?
Glass jars are fine in the freezer- just don’t tighten the lid until the jam is frozen to allow room for freezing. They shouldn’t break because they are not hot. If you fill a very hot glass jar then put it in the freezer, it may break.
Does anyone have a recipe for Strawberry Butter (similar to apple butter. Not strawberries mixed with butter and confectioners sugar)? I know it has strawberries and sugar and cinnamon. I tried it in a crockpot but the strawberries turned to juice.
Thank you for this recipe!
I’ve never heard of freezer jam before. This is great!
This is a great post and I linked to it as part of a post on picking strawberries.
Stephanie – I don’t like to mess with the boiling either, that’s why I love to make the quick freezer jam. Just buy a box of “pectin” and the freezer jam recipe should be included, just follow instructions.
For freezer jam, you need to use a jar or something that will be safe to store in the freezer. As this should last you about a year in the freezer, I’m not sure how well glass would do, as it could crack. But, if it’s safe for the freezer, there shouldn’t be any problem.
Personally, I like to use plastic, the ziplock or glad containers are good, or the Bell jars I have pictured. Or you could even store it in a freezer safe baggie.
Can you make freezer jam in the glass jars or do you have to use the plastic? I am a jam-newbie and am wondering if you have to go through the whole boiling processes with the jars if I make this recipe. Thanks for any help. :)
i’ve made freezer jam for years, and my mom has made it even more years than i have, and we’ve only ever used glass jars. just put the jam in, screw on the lid, let sit on the counter for 24 hours, then put in the freezer. it would last a long time, but we generally use it within a year, and then i make more…..
I make some jam too. You all are right it tastes so good!!!! Mine did not set very well, but it tastes so great I do not care. I made a strawberry cake and we put some of the jam on each slice instead of frosting—-what a treat.
I am not sure what sounds better, the plain jam or using it for strawbrerry daiquiris!!
Could you use this for a Strawberry Daiquiri mix? I think it would be good.
I would be making this tonight if I wasnt so lazy LOL
Yummy..I love it. Anything with strawberry is great
The food blogger next door :)
This sounds SO much better of a thing to do in summer, when berries are at their peak, than standing over a simmering cauldron, canning away, not that there’s anything wrong with that….
I get roped into–I mean, I experience the joy of making freezer jam for the whole family nearly every year. It’s simple, it’s fun and if you can’t get the jars called for here you can use any airtight freezer container for your jam.
One of my favorite things to do is to melt a little jam and pour over homemade vanilla ice cream–omnomnomnom!
When freezer jam sets is it a soft set or a firm set? Mine is set but it still rolls around in the jar. Is that normal?
We got a whole flat of strawberries at our farmers market for $12. I decided to look up freezer jam recipies because I thought it would be fun to do with my kids. I came across this tutorial and it looked so easy I thought I could do it. I called a million places to find the ball freezer jars and the only place that had them was Walmart so I drove 45 minutes there and 45 minutes back. I discovered that they are not only great for jam but also great for freezing other liquids like stocks. I got 5 packs (each had 4) at $2.93 a piece. The pectin was convieniently placed right next to the jars. It took me two hours to do a whole flat and I ended up with 21 jars (16oz each) of homemade strawberry jam. My kids can’t stand the 24 hour set time they are waiting to dive into the jars. Thank you for showing us how easy this is, I don’t think we’ll ever buy jam again.
Laurie- I don’t know what brand of pectin you used but the one I used had section on what to do if your jam didn’t set. You may want to look at your directions again.
I had some strawberry freezer jam at a friends and it was so good I came home and made some right away. I was very precise with my measurements, but it didn’t gel, what did I do wrong?
I’ve made this for over 30 years. What’s the big deal?
Just wanted to share a product that makes it even easier to make strawberry or raspberry freezer jam. (See package to make apricot or peach, as the measurements are a bit different!)
I also like this way of making the jam, as it uses much less sugar (4 cups fruit to 1-1/2 cups sugar)
The pectin pouch is made by Ball, and called Simple Creations, no cook, freezer jam fruit pectin. The directions are this simple:
You will need:
1. Your favorite fresh or frozen fruit crushed to make 4 cups.
2. 1 1/2 cups sugar (or splenda–(granular)
3. 5 plastic ball freezer jars-8 oz–they come in packs of 5 and have purple screw lids)-or other containers, but these are great! (pictured above in the original recipe).
Stir sugar and pectin package together ’till well blended.
Smash fruit to make 4 cups.
Pour into the containers.
Let stand 30 mins to set. Refrigerate or freeze.
This keeps for 3 weeks in the frig, or for 1 year in the freezer!
I have made this many times, using raspberries and strawberries, and it is the best (and easiest) freezer jam I have ever had.
A neighbor picked raspberries yesterday, gave them to me at 12:15, and by 1:05 I had brought him back a jar of the jam!
My wife and children make a batch of strawberry freezer jam every year and somehow it always lasts us RIGHT up until the next strawberry season.
Our children are all under 12, so we go through LOTS of peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches. This is the only thing we’ve put on them in years.
There is nothing better on home-made bread.
Wow, I am going to make this. I live next to a big strawberry farm and they are so good. I will have to make a batch to put away for this winter. If it turns out as good as this looks, I will post it on my website for others to enjoy. Thanks for the clear instructions, and pictures.
My husband and I made freezer jam earlier this year with cherries from the trees in our yard. We over-estimated how much we’d need; now we have almost two gallons of cherry jam in the freezer (and that’s after we gave some away). We also made some of it with lime juice instead of lemon (again, because we over-estimated and ran out of the lemon juice we had on hand). It created an delicious, interesting flavor, almost “spicy,” and it thickened just fine. Wonder how it would work with strawberries?
Andrea, you are not thinking things through.
1. You use a ton of energy to make “real” jam. All that boiling.
2. A freezer uses less energy if it is full. The frozen contents help maintain the lower temperatures. The same is true for your refrigerator. Air alone cannot retain the cold – solids can.
3. Freezer jam stays fresh for the same amount of time. And it tastes like the berries were picked yesterday – right up to the last jar you thaw. I also imagine the nutrition levels are maintained. That’s why frozen vegetables are better for you than canned.
I just do not get it. Why just not make real jam? Why using extra energy to freeze jam? I was always happy with my jam, but I do it the “normal” way and it stays fresh for up to 3 years.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
I’m a diatetic and I love strawberry anything. And I don’t think that a lot of people know that you can make strawberry freezer jam with Splenda. And it’s fantastic.
I just moved to Maine and was only here for 10 days and twisted my ankle and fell and broke it. So if you can’t get out there yourself to pick teach your grandchildren how to pick strawberries.
I can remember as a little girl on the farm my Mom would send me out and when I returned she would say, “Betty I think you ate more than you picked”. But gosh were those strawberries luscious.
Edward – Wow, mangoes. I bet that tastes great. And nothing is better than some bread with Jam!
Jolene – I would be interested if melons would work with Jam. My only thought is that watermelon is very watery and it may not work with the pectin to make it gel like. When I have used frozen strawberries, I have to squeeze out some of the water once they have thawed out, or it has made my Jam runny. If you try it, let me know if it worked. I love watermelons, so watermelon jam sounds great.
I wonder if you could make watermelon jam or musk melon (cantalope) any thoughts?
I adapted “Freezer Jam” for the over-abundance of mangoes in my area. When cooked, mango’s take on a turpentine flavor, but when non-cooked, the flavor remains nice and fresh. Same for strawberry guavas. What’s better than a slab of home-made bread with butter and jam? Thanks for this post.
Micayla – Look up the comments for #18 Kathy Alldredge. She explains where to get it. Good Luck.
Could you please tell me where to purchase Ultrasperse? I have searched, but cannot come up with a source. Thanks for your help.
There is a great review of a variety of culinary thickeners available here http://www.sharonanne.com/mfs_chart.htm. It includes the skinny on how to cut down the amount of sugar required to set jams, thus reducing calories without sacrificing taste. Includes links for purchasing.
Susan – For the jars, Kym and Amy are right on. I got my jars at Walmart too. They’re next to the canning supplies by the kitchen aisle.
I’m ready to make another batch of jam this weekend.
Amy (Commenter No. 22) just told me about this today and was so excited about how easy it was, so I had to come check it out. Looks great! I will certainly give it a try.
Yummy. We are going strawberry picking this weekend, so this will be the perfect thing to make with them.
this is awesome – showed it to a professional magazine staff today – they all liked it.
Wow, this was so easy! Also, they sell those plastic Ball jars right next to the Sure Jell. And, they now sell them in sets of 5, and the batch recipe here exactly fits into the 5. I think Ball and Sure Jell are conspiring.
Oh, and for reference, a one-pound container of strawberries, chopped in the food processor, is exactly 2 cups. I got the strawberries for a dollar! This jam is cost-effective, as well.
Thanks for the tutorial! I can’t wait to eat mah jayum.
agreed, strawberry is the BEST! my family has never bought strawberry jam at the store. we always make it with strawberries from our garden. delicious!!
I believe those containers are made by Ball. I have them. The lids screw on and there is even a spot for labeling. They are with all the canning supplies. I found mine at Walmart. But I would think any place that carries their jars, Ball, would have them.
Okay where did you get the containers with the purple lids?
Alright so its been a long time since I bought the thickener I called ultrasperse and its not called that anymore. I dug back into the cooking shop in Logan where I took the original canning class and they still sell it online. Its called Ultra Set and its the greatest stuff for stir frys, gravies, jams and all. You can find it at http://www.kitchenkneads.com and its under food category. It is called ultra set. You can buy a small 14 oz jar for as little as $5 or a huge 40 oz jar that will last you forever for $11. I wonder where else we can find this….
Again this is the best stuff b/c you decide how to flavor your jam whether to use alot of sugar or for those Splenda lovers out there this totally works with Splenda jam. You can also decide how thick to make your jam. The jam I made yesterday was too thin.
My mom just made this kind of jam for the first time with
plums from her yard. It’s soo good it makes me want to
put up jars and jars of different kinds! We are behind the
times I guess — I never canned cuz I didn’t want to deal with
water baths and all — NOW I CAN!
Can’t wait to make more of this. We tried our hand at freezer jam for the first time last year after we had picked gobs of berries, but we used the no-cook kind of sure-jell. It came out great, but I really wish there was a way to make it without all that sugar. Thanks for the photo tutorial though – can’t wait to make some more.
I just made real strawberry jam in sealed jars and everything. The best part of it is that we picked strawberries from our own yard too make the jam.
I am headed to our farmer’s market next weekend and getting strawberries! A group of friends and I are making loads so thanks for the great tutorial.
Question. Where did you get your jam jar Tupperware that you have pictured? (The ones with the purple lids?) I am moving three times in the next two years and would love to get those for jam jars instead of glass. Plus they look easier to store.
Thanks for such a great blog!!!
I always looked forward to going to my in laws up in Tennessee because she had the best strawberry jam! I finally asked her last year for the recipe. She laughed and told me it was freezer jam. She told me it was easy to make so I tried it. It was easy and you are right…we don’t have any other kind of jam. It’s so good!!
I just made some of this myself…good stuff! Great idea to post a tutorial.
Kathy – I will have to try that Ultrasperse. It would make jam even quicker to make. Thanks.
When I lived in Logan I took a canning class at the greatest little cooking store. They introduced me to ultrasperse (spelling) it is better than pectin b/c you don’t have boil or anything just add it to your sugar and berries. I keep it in my closet if I ever want to make jam. Just throw everything in the blender. It’s great for stirfrys as well just to thicken anything. This way people who want to use less sugar or even make jams with splenda it would work.
Just a heads up that everyone should first reference Marie’s “What is Portion Control?” post before making this freezer jam. ;)
I only made this jam the other day and we are already down 3 containers. Thanks to my hubby who piles a huge mountain of jam on his toast! It does taste like candy!
we were thinking about picking strawberries soon; we’ll have to do this with some of them. thanks!
My mom and I make this every year — we use the low sugar recipe for my dad’s diet and it tastes great.
Just in case anyone was wondering if there was a low cal alternative.
Sounds delicious (and easy). My kids would love this. Thanks!
I LOVE strawberry freezer jam. But I haven’t made it in years. Thanks for the reminder. I am definately going to have to go pick some strawberries! (And I have tried other fruits, but strawberry is THE BEST.)