The best thing about freezer jam is there is no processing it in a water bath canner. You don’t have to cook the fruit, and as such it will have the best fresh taste of any jam you will ever eat! These strawberries came from CA and had the best flavor! Everyone loved snacking on them while we made the jam.
Freezer jam is really easy to make too, it’s literally just your chopped up fruit, some sugar & pectin (and lemon juice for peaches). Mix it all together and put it into jars then freeze the jars. SO EASY! At our house it is something that everyone helps with, we get all the kids around the table and each person has a job from hulling the strawberries, to cutting them, to bringing them to mom, to loading the food processor, and the little tasks between getting ready to put them into the jars.
When you purchase the pectin it will have the recipe included. We made this jam in batches and our numbers were something like: 10 c. crushed strawberries, 4 c. sugar, and 12 T of pectin. (that made about 3 1/2 quarts)
Now for the disclaimers….
Like all canning, it is not a money saver- UNLESS you get the produce free or extremely cheap. The jars are reusable, but you still have the cost of the pectin, sugar, and produce, and your time as well. In making this strawberry freezer jam here is the following breakdown of the cost:
- 3 flats of strawberries- $69
- 3 tubs of pectin- $8 (I was able to get 2 of them on clearance for $2, but normally they are $4-5 each, so this amount is on the low side)
- 8 lbs sugar (approx) $5
Total cost of supplies $83.00
(not counting jars since they are reusable, but if you are giving them away you most likely wont get your jars back and those cost about $0.75/jar)
Total amount of jam made: 16 quarts & 1 pint
We did have about a dozen sandwich size ziploc bags full of sliced strawberries we put in the freezer because we ran out of pectin (and we like to have some sliced ones for smoothies and other recipes too)
Total cost per quart jar: just over $5.00
The cost is close to what you would pay in the store, maybe more. So why make it homemade when you can buy it cheaper? The quality! The flavor of this jam is better than anything you can buy in the store, and you know what’s inside it.
That being said, canning/preserving is something that I’ve learned to be selective about over the years. Some things like strawberry freezer jam is worth canning because the flavor is so much better than anything you can buy. But other things like spaghetti sauce I learned are not worth the time and effort (unless you just have a TON of tomatoes and need to do something with them) Most store bought spaghetti sauce has ingredients that you can actually pronounce and are fairly healthy, (especially if you stay away from name brand) so when they go on sale for $0.88 each we stock up! Read the ingredients and decide for your family what is worth canning and what is worth buying.
- Fresh strawberries- cut then blended in a food processor to desired chunkiness
When it comes to making strawberry freezer jam, the type of pectin you use will determine how much fruit and sugar you use. The pectin will always have a recipe on it, I always just follow that. Pay attention though, if you use different brands of pectin they may have different amounts- which is why I never mix different pectin brands when making multiple batches.
For freezer jam you want to make sure you use a pectin that doesn't require cooking. The box or jar will say on it somewhere "freezer jam" if it doesn't, then it's a pectin that requires cooking and wont work for freezer jam.
Also note, the liquid pectin doesn't always set up as much as the powdered pectin for some reason.
Basically all you're going to do is cut up the strawberries, blend them in a food processor (or mash by hand) add them to sugar and pectin in a large bowl, stir for a few minutes, then spoon into your containers and freeze.
Freezer jam can be stored in plastic containers, jars, or even ziploc bags. Because it hasn't been processed with heat it must always be frozen or refrigerated. But not cooking it is also what makes it so delicious and fresh tasting.