Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Making Freezer Jam

Note: This method does not kill E Coli. Please make sure you wash your hands thoroughly when working with food. I am posting this due to an outbreak from a single farm in Oregon made the news. Cooking / canning methods kill these bacteria if they are present. 
The berries are here! We have been taking full advantage of berry season whether it is at the grocery store snatching up a 1/2 flat of Skagit Valley berries or at the Farmer's Market eating up Sweet Earth Farm's delicious Tri-star strawberries that we just can't seem to get enough of into the mouth of a certain 4 year old. 

In years past, I have grabbed blackberries from our "berry orchard" (read: wild berries) at the end of our driveway and frozen a few gallon bags for over the winter. We are such berry lovers that they are always gone by mid-December and I am always promising myself we will gather more "next year". 

Throughout the years, I have always been envious of the families that had fresh berry preserves the whole year through while I was buying jar after jar at the store. Growing up in Orange County didn't really include spending summer days making jam, so I never had it in my repertoire of skills and figured it was beyond me...same with vegetable gardening. Since I tackled the later, I figured I could dive into jam (doesn't that sound fabulous?). My one reservation was dealing with a huge boiling pot of water and hot jars while I have a curious 4 year old and a VERY squirmy 8 month old who, um, interact a lot these days.

Last summer, one of my dear friends was raving about freezer jam. "It is SOOOOO easy". She is sooooo right! Here is the recipe I used and Cole could help! No heat! I imagine this would be wonderful for those of you who live in places where the temps are soaring as well.

Just a note about the recipe. As I looked at various recipes online and in my 4 preserving books (yes, I have them and read them. I just haven't dove into the process yet, but I am getting there). I liked this recipe because it had considerably less sugar in it. This is the recipe on the  Ball Real Pectin container. It is a keeper.

Also, make sure your jars and lids are CLEAN. I like to throw mine in the dishwasher on the "sterilize" cycle right before I use them. 

BERRY FREEZER JAM - makes 6 - 8oz jars of jam

Potato masher or hand mixer (the hand mixer is GREAT for the blueberries)
Flat bottomed bowl for mashing / mixing fruit
6 - 8 oz clean straight-sided jam jars with lids
5 cups of crushed fruit (single berry variety or mix & match)
2 cups of granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of Ball Real Fruit Pectin Instant Pectin


1) Wash fruit and prep. This means remove stems, hull strawberries, if you want to get technical. Make those berries look pretty.

 2) Place berries into flat bottomed bowl, one layer at a time and mash, mix, practice a little anger management. Pulverize that fruit using your potato masher or hand mixer.

3) In a separate bowl, mix sugar and pectin.

4) Add fruit mash to pectin / sugar mixture and stir for 3 minutes.

5) Ladle into clean 8 oz jam jars and cover. When filling jars, leave 1/2 inch headspace to allow for food expansion during freezing. Let stand for 30 minutes and use immediately or freeze.

THAT IS IT!!! DONE! JAM!! It is good for 3 weeks in your refrigerator or up to a year in your freezer. Really, that is it. Can you believe it?

Now for the taste test....

EASY PEASY!!! Now it is your turn. Try it out. Seriously, you can do this!

Now you can do this with Strawberries, Peaches or Pears, Raspberries, Blackberries, or Blueberries and Cherries. If you use peaches, add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.

To be honest...I am giving mine a round in a pressure cooker. I will keep you posted on the results.


  1. yum! i was just about to start a series on this over the next week, val. one of my readers was requesting an in-depth tutorial. really, it's so easy and just so wonderful. love the smile on his face! and that red jam face.

  2. Val, I am so jealous of all your fresh berries! I will have to wait until next spring to taste them again. Congratulations on your jam making. I have never put up freezer jam since I have to worry about losing power in a hurricane and I only freeze what I can't can, but your jam looks lovely.xx

  3. Now that's easy! I, too, have avoided anything remotely related to canning, believing it to be really labor intensive, and fearful that if the seal is not exactly right, I might poison my family. This recipe, however, I can do! Thanks for sharing!


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