Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to Make a Lower-Sugar Freezer Jam

Strawberries. Blueberries. Raspberries. They are little drops of sunshine in the mouth. Freezer jam is one way to extend this taste of summer into the rest of the year. It's also a great way to take advantage of grocery sales and seasonal pricing.

Freezer jam is much simpler and quicker to make than the traditional kind. There's no need to cook down the fruit or sterilize jars. In fact, you won't need your stove at all. Because there's no cooking involved, this jam has a much fresher taste than any kind you can buy in a store. And, best of all, it can be made with much less sugar.

So have I convinced anyone out there to jump upon the freezer jam train? Well, let's get started then!

Freezer jam isn't so much a recipe as it is a formula. And that formula is completely decided by the brand of pectin you use. I'm using Ball's RealFruit Instant Pectin, because it requires a fraction of the sugar other brands do.

So, while this tutorial will work for other fruits (sans peaches*), it will not work for other brands of pectin. If you'd like to use a different pectin, keep in mind that you'll have to adjust the formula.

Now for the fun part. Let's mash up some berries! Here, I'm crushing some strawberries. In general, I prefer to work manually whenever possible. I'm not a big fan of setting up and then cleaning kitchen gadgets. I will admit, though, I resorted to my food processor when I made a batch of blueberry. The potato masher worked great with the strawberries, but those rolly polly little blueberries kept dancing around it.

You'll need 1-2/3 cups worth of mashed fruit.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons pectin in a large mixing bowl. Add in the fruit and stir for 3 minutes. You've just made jam! That's all there is to it. Pretty nifty, right?

Time to put our jam into some jars. Freezer jam can remain in the freezer for up to a year but lasts only three weeks in the refrigerator. So it's important to think about how much jam your family can eat in three weeks. Since I'm the sole jam eater in my household, I used tiny 4oz jars (each batch should make about a pint). Whatever jars you select, make sure they are freezer safe.

When spooning your jam into the jars, remember to leave 1/2 inch of space at the top to allow for expansion in the freezer. Put the lids on the jars and leave out at for half an hour. Then put in the freezer to preserve for later use or in the refrigerator to enjoy now.

After pouring into jars, there was always some jam left behind in the bowl, which I shamelessly ate straight-up with a spoon. And it was goooood.

So why not make some freezer jam today?

*note: you can make peach jam with this pectin, but it requires extra steps I've not included here


  1. My Mum always made jam every summer. I really should continue on with the tradition especially since I live in California where the fruit, it is everywhere!

  2. I like the lower sugar and I like your photos. I would be more inclined to make this recipe since it does have less sugar, but I also wonder have you ever tried to make jam with stevia (the plant sweeter) is that even possible?

  3. Looks good! I love making jam but I prefer the hot water bath because I need my freezer space for the ridiculous amount of otter pops we like to have on hand. :)

  4. Great blog! I can't wait to try some of these recipes!


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