Step-by-step easy freezer jam instructions and recipes
If peak season for peaches, strawberries, and raspberries calls for lots of homemade jam in order to enjoy summer’s bounty far into the cold days of winter, those happy thoughts can turn sour when you consider the time, work, and know-how required to do that by canning. If that’s you, freezer jam might be just the thing for you. Here’s what you need to know to turn out a batch of freezer jam in 30-minutes or fewer.
Pros and Cons of Freezer Jam
Freezer jam has an even brighter and fresher taste than canned jam. You’ll be able to choose the fruits you use, including fruits you grow yourself. You can make freezer jams in plastic containers as well in jars, and with some recipes there’s no cooking involved.
You need to use it up quickly if you plan to keep the jam in the refrigerator. You can store it longer in the freezer, thus the term here, “Freezer Jam!” But then you are taking up freezer space. If you are planning to give your homemade jam as gifts, keep in mind that it must be kept refrigerated or frozen, which mostly eliminates sending it through the mail.
Two Types of Freezer Jam
As you peruse recipes for freezer jam, you will soon discover some recipes include a step to cook the sugar and pectin on the stovetop before proceeding to the freezer. Others are called no-cook freezer jams and I’ll bet you are way ahead of me with how that works. No-cook is even easier and faster, but requires a specific ingredient to make sure it turns out perfectly.
Freezer Jam Supplies
✅ Ripe fruit. You want to catch the fruit when its at peak for the best results.
✅ Freezer pectin. This is the ingredient that will thicken the no-cook jam (it goes by different names—no-cook, instant, or freezer pectin). For no-cook freezer jam you must use freezer pectin as regular pectin won’t work. For freezer jam recipes that require a step where you cook the sugar, pectin, and water on the stovetop as part of the process, you can use regular fruit pectin. Both regular and freezer pectins are available in liquid or powder form. Check your supermarket or you can find regular and freezer pectin online.
✅ Sugar. Sugar sweetens the jam, helps it to set up and prevents bacteria growth. If you prefer low-sugar or no-sugar-added jam, you must use special pectin that clearly states it is for a no-sugar freezer jam option.
✅ Jars. Use jars or other containers with lids—glass or plastic—that are rated to be used in the freezer.
How to Make No-Cook Freezer Jam
Some recipes for freezer jam require cooking while others do not. Here is a look at what is typically involved in preparing no-cook freezer jam:
- Find a recipe for no-cook freezer jam.
- Wash, hull, and stem the fruit.
- Place the fruit in a large mixing bowl, and crush it with a potato masher or pastry blender. Or you can do this in a food processor by pulsing lightly to still have a nice amount of chunkiness, with small bits of fruit. Do not puree.
- Combine the sugar and freezer pectin in another bowl, and stir until well blended.
- Add the sugar-pectin mixture to the fruit, and stir for three minutes.
- Pour the resulting mixture into jars, leaving a half-inch of headspace at the top of each jar.
- Make sure to clean up any drips then screw apply the lids.
- Let stand for 30 minutes, or until thickened.
- Freeze or refrigerate immediately.
Easy No-Cook Berry Freezer Jam
- 4 cups strawberries or other berries, fresh or frozen
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 ½ tbsp freezer pectin Mrs Wages No Cook Fruit Pectin for example
- Place prepared fruit in a bowl and crush to desired consistency. If using frozen fruit all to thaw in the refrigerator before crushing.
- Combine sugar and freezer pectin in a small bowl. Blend well. Stir sugar mixture into crushed fruit.
- Stir for 3 minutes
- Ladle jam into clean, free-safe containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Secure lids and allow to stand 30 minutes to thicken. Note: Freezer jam set is softer than cooked jam
- Store in freezer for up to 1 year.
Peach Freezer Jam
- 3 cups fresh, fully ripe peaches about 2 lbs
- 1 ¼ cups granulated white sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 (1.75 oz) box Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin
- Peel, pit and coarsely chop the peaches
- Place the peaches in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you reach a chunky puree. (Don't have a food processor? Use a potato masher to mash them up in a large bowl.) You need exactly 3 cups of puree.
- Pour the puree into in a large bowl. Add the sugar, gradually, stirring until dissolved.
- Stir in the lemon juice. Allow sitting until the sugar is no longer grainy, fully dissolved, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, add the pectin and water to a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute, while stirring. Remove from heat.
- Add pectin mixture to peaches. Stir for about 3 mins. The mixture will thicken slightly.
- Spoon the jam into clean jars or other containers,with tight-fitting lids, making sure you leave about 1/2-inch of space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion in the freezer.
- Allow the jars to sit at room temperature for 1 hour or longer to set. Store the jam in the refrigerator or the freezer. The jam will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks and in the freezer for up to a year.
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