Preserve the fresh taste of summer fruits by making easy freezer jam. No fancy equipment required!

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Freezer Jam Ingredients

Fruit. Use perfectly ripe fruit. Since you won't be cooking it, the flavor of the jam is going to be much like the flavor of the fruit. If it's over- or underripe, you'll be able to taste it. Jam made with underripe fruit, besides being sour, might jell too much, while jam made with overripe fruit might not jell enough.

Sugar. Sugar inhibits the growth of bacteria, keeping your jam fresh, fruity, and safe to eat. Jam recipes are formulated to call for a certain ratio of pectin to sugar, and they will not jell properly if you don't use the correct amount of sugar. If you'd like to make less-sweet jam, you'll need to buy a special kind of pectin that's formulated to work with less sugar.

Pectin. Most recipes call for additional pectin to thicken the jam, giving it that familiar jammy consistency. Commercially produced pectin is derived from fruit; usually apples or citrus. Store-bought pectin comes in two forms: powder and liquid. Most recipes call for powdered pectin, but these are not interchangeable — use whichever form your recipe calls for.

The basic ratios for each packet of powdered pectin are:

  • 3 cups mashed fruit
  • 4 - 5 cups sugar, and
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water in which to dissolve and boil the pectin.

This formula can vary a little depending on the brand of pectin, so follow the instructions on the package.

Freezer Jam Containers

Before you begin making freezer jam, have all your containers cleaned and ready. Use either sturdy plastic containers with tight-fitting lids, or short, wide-mouthed glass jars made especially for the freezer.

It's best to choose containers that are no bigger than pint-size; the jam will not set up as well in larger containers. Wash them thoroughly as you would any other dishes; there's no need to boil them.

Strawberry Freezer jam on toast
Credit: Meredith

Making Freezer Jam

The process itself is simple:

  1. Wash and stem the fruit (and peel it, if applicable).
  2. Place it in a wide-bottomed pan and crush with a potato masher to a smooth consistency, leaving some chunks of fruit if you like.
  3. Stir in the sugar and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, mix together the pectin and water in a small saucepan until the powder is dissolved; bring it to a boil over high heat, and let it boil for a full minute.
  5. Pour the prepared pectin into the fruit and stir for a couple of minutes.
  6. Pour the jam into your containers, leaving a half-inch of "headspace" at the top to allow for expansion. Cover the containers and let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Label with the date and store in the fridge for up to three weeks or in the freezer for up to one year.
Strawberry Freezer jam and pancakes
Credit: Meredith

Storing Freezer Jam

As the name implies, freezer jam is meant to be stored in the freezer. In fact, it will keep beautifully in the freezer for up to a year. You can also keep freezer jam in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Just remember never to keep freezer jam at room temperature, or it will spoil.

VIDEO: How to Make Strawberry Freezer Jam

See how to make super-simple strawberry freezer jam from scratch. All you need are fresh berries, sugar, dry pectin, and a little water. So easy!

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