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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Anne's Cookbook: Freezer Jam

 Anne's Cookbook: Freezer Jam
Every year, at this time, I make freezer jam with fresh berries. My mother always made freezer jam when we were growing up and now my siblings and I, including my brother, all continue that tradition. My daughters grew up helping me make jam and now that they are not living here, I have a great jam-making partner in my husband. When I serve this homemade and delicious jam to guests, I usually get praised for making my own jam, like it is difficult to do. It is not. It is very easy to make freezer jam. Today I am hoping to demystify the jam-making process for you.

Step #1
Compile all the ingredients and implements

Berries, sugar, pectin (I use Sure Jell brand. the low-sugar variety), jars

Step #2
Open up the Pectin box for the recipe and directions. Even though I have made jam for at least 30 years, I still do this every time.
Note the directions are double-sided.
Select the directions for the Quick and Easy FREEZER Jam directions

The general directions are the same for all types of berries/fruit. They are listed here in 5 easy steps.
The chart shows the amount of crushed fruit to sugar. I usually make raspberry or strawberry jam. The amount of sugar is different for the two berries. I check this carefully every year.
Step #3
Wash and prepare the jars
I've been using the same jars for years, occasionally I will purchase new lids, but not often. I have a real hodge-podge collection of jars. The recipe says to expect 6 cups of jam, so plan accordingly. The jars need to be ready the minute the jam is done, so this is an important step at this point in the process.

Step #4
Clean, crush, measure the berries

I clean one basket of berries at a time so that I cull through them to make sure there are no leaves or rot. Then I drain them and place them in a measuring cup and smash them with a potato masher. DO NOT BLEND or PUREE, just smash them by hand. It usually takes about four to five of the baskets of fruit to reach the desired amount of crushed berries. This is the step where my husband comes in handy. He is good at smashing and measuring.
Watch your measurements carefully. Don't add extra fruit or the jam will not set properly. Put the berries aside to use later.

Step #5
Measure sugar into pot and stir in the pectin dry.
Make sure the sugar and pectin are well mixed before adding 1 cup of water.

Step #6
Add water and heat while stirring. Boil for one minute.

Stir in the water, before turning on the heat. Once the sugar/pectin/water mixture is smooth, turn on the heat under the pot on medium. Stir constantly so the sugar will not burn or stick to the bottom. Once the mixture starts to boil, put on a timer for one minute. Continue stirring constantly. Remove from heat at the end of the minute.

 Step #7
Stir in crushed fruit

Stir quickly. The pectin will immediately start thickening the mixture.

Step #8
Fill the jars. Leave at least 1/2 inch at the top for room when the jam expands in the freezer.
Note: the low-sugar jam doesn't set as firm as full-sugar jam and often the berries will separate a bit in the jar. We are used to it at our house and we just stir our jam to mix it up after it thaws.
Add labels, if you want (Not necessary for deliciousness.)
Leave jam on counter for 24-hours, then put the jars in the freezer.
I made two batches. DO NOT DOUBLE recipe, just make two separate recipes.

Easy peazy lemon-squeezy!

Fresh berries per basket: $1.90, we used 4 1/2 baskets per batch=$8.55
Sugar is about $.45 per cup, we used 3 1/2 cups per batch=$1.57
Pectin per box=$2.35
Jars (Mine were free since I've had them so long. But this is a good time to buy them at stores that carry canning supplies. Target had 12 packs on sale for $8.00 this week.)
Total: $12.47
I made six jars per batch. Each jar cost me about $2.08.
This is roughly half the cost of store-bought jam which isn't nearly as delicious.

Once you try freezer jam it will be hard to go back to store bought jam.
The color is so vivid and the jam tastes like the real fruit that was used to make it.
Low-sugar jam has almost half the amount of sugar as regular jam, which also allows the berries to be the star, not the sugar.


  1. Hi Anne, I'm a publicist for author Jenna Zark, and was wondering if you'd be interested in reviewing her book, The Beat on Ruby's Street? If interested you can reach me at Pam.Labbe@aurorapublicity.com

    Thanks! Pam

    1. I am flattered that you asked for me to review Ms. Zark's book. At this time I am so overwhelmed with books I own or need to read that I don't want to add a book onto my reading list.

  2. I love freezer jam! It is so delicious!

  3. I had enough wild blackberries last year that I probably could have done this... :)


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