Are you interested in making homemade jam, but turned off by all of the time, work, and know-how that goes into canning? Then, freezer jam could be just the thing for you. Here's what you need to know to make a batch of freezer jam in 30-minutes or less.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Freezer Jam
Freezer jam has a much brighter and fresher quality than canned jam. You'll be able to choose which fruit you use, including fruit you grow yourself. If you want to ensure your jam is made from local or organic fruit, you can choose that by making your own. You can make freezer jam in plastic containers as well as jars, and you don't even need to cook it when you use some recipes.
A disadvantage is that you need to use it up quickly if you keep it in the refrigerator. You can store it longer in the freezer, but then you are taking up freezer space. It is also less suitable to give as gifts as it must be kept refrigerated or frozen.
Freezer Jam Supplies
To make freezer jam you will need:
- Fruit - Your jam will only be as good as the fruit that you put into it, so be sure to choose ripe fruit. Overripe or under-ripened fruit won't taste as good and may cause problems with the jelling process.
- Freezer Pectin - This is used to thicken the jam. It is available in liquid and powder form. You must use freezer pectin as regular pectin won't work.
- Sugar - Sugar serves several purposes in freezer jam. It sweetens the jam, helps it to set up and prevents bacteria growth. If you would prefer to make low-sugar or no-sugar-added jam, a special pectin must be used.
- Jars - Use jars that are specifically designed for the freezer — both plastic and glass, wide-mouthed freezer jars are available.
Making Freezer Jam
Some recipes for freezer jam require cooking while others do not. Here is a look at what is typically involved in preparing no-cook freezer jam:
- Wash, hull and stem the fruit.
- Place the fruit in a large mixing bowl, and crush it with a potato masher.
- Combine the sugar and pectin in another bowl, and stir until well blended.
- Add the sugar-pectin mixture to the fruit, and stir for three minutes.
- Pour the resulting mixture into jars, leaving a half-inch of headspace at the top of each jar.
- Screw on the lids, and clean up any drips.
- Let stand for 30 minutes, or until thickened.
- Freeze or refrigerate immediately.
- Freezer jam can be stored in the freezer for up to a year or in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
- Unsweetened, frozen fruit can also be used.
- Do not double recipes, as it may interfere with the setting process.
- Freezer jars do not need to be sterilized, but they should be cleaned before use.
- For best results, freezer jam recipes should not be altered.