By Jessica Ellingsworth, Contributing Writer
Summer is arguably the best time for savoring seasonal foods, especially perfectly ripened fresh berries. As a child, the berries our family didn’t eat right away either got frozen for the long winter or made into freezer jam. If you’ve made freezer jam, you probably know what I mean when I say it is the gift that keeps on giving. Nothing on any grocery store shelf will even compare to homemade freezer jam.
I skipped making freezer jam on our move from Missouri to Texas about a year ago, and my children acted like I deprived them of an essential nutrient when our freezer was jam-less all winter. Well, I am back in the saddle this summer and I am sharing jam tips after getting my hands on these gorgeous raspberries this week.
F.A.Q.s About Freezer Jam
Let’s begin with some basic questions you may have before moving onto the method of making it.
What is freezer jam?
Freezer jam is not cooked, so the flavor is like ripe fruit and the texture is chunky. Plus, no standing over a hot stove in the summer! Expect a softer set than canned jam with a fresh fruit taste.
Do I need canning supplies or to sterilize anything?
Making freezer jam requires no sterilizing or sealing of jars. Just clean your jars with hot, soapy water or run through the dishwasher.
How long does freezer jam last in the freezer and refrigerator?
Jam keeps well in the freezer up to a year or more. Once it’s thawed in the fridge, it will last 4-6 weeks.
What kind of pectin do you recommend?
Any tips on what kinds of berries to use?
I know this seems obvious, but I’ll say it: perfectly ripe fruits make the best jams. Don’t be afraid of combining two of your favorite fruits into one jam. Peach-Raspberry, anyone?!
How long does it take to make freezer jam?
Perhaps my favorite part of homemade freezer jam is you can have a batch of freezer jam done in 30 minutes.
Any other freezer jam bonuses?
Why yes! It is a lovely, heart-felt gift for a teacher, neighbor, or friend. Kids also love helping with the basic measuring, stirring and simplicity of freezer jam. My two-year-old son and I had a wonderful time making this together.
How to Make Freezer Jam
Here are the steps, complete with photographs, for the best jam every time:
1. Wash and measure out the fruit. The pectin comes with a guideline; follow it exactly so the jam will set well. I used 3 pints of raspberries for 7 cups of jam.
2. Get out a good ole potato masher and crush the berries. Sieve out 1/2 cup pulp to remove some seeds, if you prefer. I skip this and go for full pulp.
4. Add sugar (again, according to the recipe on the pectin) and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Sugar helps set the pectin and preserves the fruit.
5. Now’s the time to add the pectin according to package directions. If using Sure-Jell, bring the package and 3/4 c. water to a boil for 1 minute. Pour into the fruit and stir for 3 minutes, making sure everything is incorporated. The two year-old stepped in and stirred for me.
6. Fill jars. Using a basic funnel makes it really easy.
Now your homemade freezer jam is ready for the freezer or the first piece of warm sourdough toast!
About the Author
Jessica Ellingsworth is the editor and curator of Mayvn.com. Mayvn serves as a lifestyle spot for stylish, yet simple homemaking. Jessica is the wife of a musician/composer, mother to two beautiful daughters and one dashing son. When she isn’t running around with the children, she can be found honing her photography skills in her city of Austin, Texas, experimenting with makeup artistry, and romancing her handsome husband with culinary treats.