Strawberry Freezer Jam

So there was a time many moons ago when every spring, I’d go to Costco and buy the big containers of those big, fat strawberries and make enough strawberry freezer jam to last me an entire year, not to mention enough jam to give as gifts to friends, co-workers, and the little Mexican boys who would knock on my door and sell me homemade tamales.

And then life got complicated.

I got pregnant with my first kiddo in the spring, which automatically nixes most food-related endeavors. The next year, I had a newborn, the year after I was in the midst of a job-hating crisis and was stressed out beyond belief, and it just goes on and on. Excuses, excuses, right?

Well, I was at Sam’s Club the other day and saw one of those 2 lb. clamshell boxes of fat, juicy strawberries, and I thought, “Has it really been 6 years since I last stockpiled massive amounts of strawberry jam in my freezer??” Immediately wishing to try and make some restitution for the fact that my son, the little bean whose presence stopped my jam-making obsession, had never had jam that didn’t come from a grocery store, I bought all the fixins for strawberry freezer jam.


Now…I know I’m not reinventing the wheel here–I’m just using the recipe that’s inside the Sure Jell package. Heck, a good number of you have probably beaten me to the punch and have already made freezer jam this year. And there are probably some of you who don’t believe in freezer jam and only make canned jam (which I’ve never done…shhhhh…) and are judging me right now. But I want to show those of you who have never made freezer jam and also those of you who may have forgotten how fun and easy it is to make. Not to mention tasty. No wonder I hardly ever eat PB&J anymore–jarred jam is gross.

One thing I love about freezer jam is that you don’t cook the mixture, so it tastes really fresh, almost like fresh, sweet strawberries on your sandwich instead of goopy, sticky stuff. The only thing that’s even remotely tricky is that you have to be exact; no heaping or scant cups of sugar or strawberries here. Level it out to the top, pay attention to what you’re doing, and you, too, can have homemade jam in about an hour. Awesome, right? Right.

So all you do is find some luscious-looking berries–ripe, but not overly ripe. And seriously, if you don’t have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership and are not interested in getting one, at the very least, have someone you know who does have a membership pick you up some strawberries because the ones there are huge, delicious, and CHEAP–like I paid about $3.50 for 2 lb. of the biggest, juiciest strawberries I’ve ever seen. Can’t beat that. Unless you’re a strawberry farmer.

Okay, to get started, you’ll need to wash and dry 8- or 16-oz. freezer-safe containers. You can use glass jam or jelly jars, but it makes me nervous to have large amounts of glass in my freezer for extended periods of time, so I just use the 8-oz. disposable food storage containers (like the Ziploc ones in the picture or Gladware). Ball jars makes plastic jam containers that are a little bit cuter, but I don’t think the little bit of cute makes up for the increased cost. Plus, because of their shape, it’s easier to re-use the food storage containers for something more practical like snacks or fingerpaint.

Wash and cut the stems off 1 quart (about 1 lb.) of strawberries. Working with about 1 c. of berries at a time, mash with a potato masher or pulse in your food processor until they’re mushed but still have some chunks of fruit in there–you don’t want it to be completely smooth.

Place mashed berries in a large bowl with 4 c. sugar. My friend Jeni was telling me today about how she likes to make her freezer jam with pectin that calls for less sugar (it’s called the “Less-Sugar” variety, believe it or not) and how she really likes it because it tastes more strawberry-y and less sugary. I’ve never tried it, but I really want to make my next batch of freezer jam with that to see how I like it. HOWEVER. This time around, I’m using the pectin where you use a lot of sugar, so the directions are for that. Don’t try and cut down on the sugar at ALL or your jam won’t set up right.

Anyway, stir the sugar into the strawberries and allow to stand for 10 minutes. While the strawberries are standing, whisk together the entire packet of pectin and 3/4 c. water. It might be a little lumpy. Stirring constantly, heat to boiling and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir into strawberry mixture for 3 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved (a few granules may remain).

Ladle into prepared freezer-safe containers. Place the lids on the containers and allow them to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Place in the refrigerator or freezer; the jam will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks or the freezer for up to 1 year.That one with the ribbon on it is for the little Mexican boys who sold me tamales and put up with my horrible Spanish…although they’re probably not little anymore and they’re probably not going to find me in Louisiana. Adios, muchachos

 

 

 

 

69 comments

  1. It was all my kids had ever had until we moved to bush Alaska. Do you know how difficult it is to get fresh strawberries here? It's nearly impossible unless you are willing to pay big bucks ($8.99 a pound no extra charge for the mold). So I bought store jam. My kids balked, gnashed their teeth, staged a revolution and quit eating PB&J.

    Out of desperation I decided to take a risk and took the big Costco bag of frozen strawberries (because even though we have no costco, we are still able to buy some of their bulk items at an overly inflated price here at our grocery store) out of my freezer, thawed a bunch in a bowl, chopped them up and made freezer jam out of them. And IT WORKED! Very well. and now my kids are happy again, spoiled, but happy.

    all that to say, PEOPLE, STRAWBERRY FREEZER JAM IS THE BEST!!

    try it!

    1. Freezer jam is best when made with beautiful fresh strawberries, but did you know that you can make a quite satisfactory jam out of frozen strawberries? That might be an option for those who live where fresh strawberries may not be readily available.

  2. It is great to be reminder that it is that wonderful time of year when the strawberries are starting to come on. Nothing is better than fresh strawberry jam. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This sounds great! One question, though: When you want to use it, do you thaw it (in the fridge), or can you use it straight out of the freezer? I'm guessing you move it to the fridge when you want to use it, but I thought I'd make sure.

  4. Megan–Yeah, when you're ready to use it, just stick it in the fridge. It's soft enough that you can use it from the freezer for jam-related emergencies, it just won't spread as easily.

  5. just a note . . . I've been making this for years and I ALWAYS use the less sugar more fruit pectin, which comes int he pink boxes. Its the SAME recipe but uses more fruit and less sugar. Its even better than the yellow box kind, and more berry-ish (is that a word?) Try it next time! You are still using 2 c of sugar, so its PLENTY sweet.

  6. I ALWAYS use frozen strawberries, and the less sugar pectin. So delicious! In fact we tried the regular pectin once, and it was NOT as good as the less sugar. So definitely go that route!

  7. I've used the less sugar type as well, and it's great. Did you know that Kroger (the "Smith's" chain in Utah – other names in other states) has their own brand of the exact same thing as SureJell? It is only about $1.19 here in Utah – and works like the real deal. SureJell has always been pretty pricey here – but you don't have to add corn syrup, lemon juice, etc… like with the MCP brand. Great post! Love your site…

  8. I've always used Ball brand No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin. I like it, but now I want to try the less-sugar kind.

    Do you ever add lemon zest or something like that?

    Thanks for this post. : )

  9. Thanks for this recipe! The only Jam I would ever eat was my grandmother's Strawberry Freezer jam. But after she died – I just refused to eat jam anymore, and I make my kids eat store bought if they want some. (Grandma died before they ever got a chance to have the good stuff.) I alway's assumed it was difficult to make – thanks for letting me know how easy it is. I'll never buy it at the store again!! (By-the-way I absolutely love your website, just found it a month or so ago and have tried so many of your recipes already, all of which were wonderful. Thank you!!!)

    1. Oh, Heather Anni, PLEASE do your kids a favor and let them eat homemade strawberry freezer jam!! They will always remember it!

  10. I'm such a loser, because I've never made jam of ANY kind before! I can't wait to try this, thanks for the info Kate.

  11. I love strawberry jam. I love the Ball's Simple Creation No-cook Freezer Jam Pectin. It only uses 1 1/2 cups sugar fro 4 cups strawberries and it requires no cooking!

  12. Love Strawberry Jam! Probably making some this weekend. Last year my mom and I discovered some pectin that uses 1 cup of sugar with about 4 cups of strawberries???? I think. I know it is one cup of sugar. So, anyways…less sugar taste more like strawberries and is better for my kiddos. You should try it on your next jam making day.

  13. Thanks for this recipe!! I just bought 10 lbs of strawberries for $.98/lb, and was hoping to make some freezer jam (for the first time!). Looking forward to some jam!!

  14. I am shocked at how easy this is! We just finished off a Costco Strawberry container, but now I have to go get more!! Thanks!

  15. Alisha, I am so jealous! 98 cents a pound?!

    Thanks for posting this. I always hear people talk about it, but I have never tried it because I didn't realize how easy it is!

    I always have trouble with things when it says, "bring to a boil and let boil for one minute." What does that mean? Like, when you see the first few bubbles is that boiling? Do you wait until it is really a rolling boil before you start timing?

  16. What a fabulous post – This is something my mom and I do every year – make freezer jam. Our first time we did peach and it was the best jam I've ever had!! Last year we branched out, made peach, peach-raspberry and strawberry. Can you say YUMMO?! Our friends and family HAPPILY return the cute little glass jars we put the jelly in, empty & washed hoping for another full jar of jam. :o) Guess they like it too. Last fall we made 80 jars of jam – this year we may top that, but none of it goes to waste!!
    Hugs & Happy Days!
    Min

  17. The recipe that comes with my pectin always has you add lemon juice! I've never seen one without lemon! Also, we double the pectin, and put half the sugar. Works great, and is still plenty sweet.

  18. I re-moved (meaning I've lived her before) to the midwest where they have huge U-pick strawberry farms. Last time I lived here, I picked over 60 pounds and had strawberries coming out of my ears. I canned a lot of strawberry jam, but I also put up a huge batch of freezer jam. Nothing beats the fresh, delicious taste!

  19. I've always wanted to make freezer jam, but have been hesitant to try it… Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. Trimble.. Yes.. we don't like chunks either.. so I puree mine.
    I also use the "ball" brand. Super yummy and NO cooking!!

  21. mmmmm! I love strawberry freezer jam. I've also made it with peaches. That is pretty tasty too! The only problem is that if I make about 5 or 6 lbs or strawberries it's so delicious it only lasts about a month at our house!!

  22. I have been making this freezer jam for years. It is wonderful. Ball has a fairly new pectin product out that uses quite a bit less sugar than the regular Sure-Jell and I liked that, but my boys like the regular better so I just made more of that today! It's the bomb! ( :

  23. Last year I experimented with both kinds of pectin–the less-sugar and the regular–and my whole family preferred the less-sugar batch. (I just didn't tell them which was which!) You should give it a try sometime.

  24. What funny timing…I just bought several clam shells of strawberries that are sitting in my fridge waiting to be make into freezer jam. We pulled the last container out f the freezer on Monday much to my kids dismay. It's the only kind I've ever made and my kids love it. I also use the freezer pectin – only 1 1/2 cups of sugar for a full batch. It's so good!

  25. Approx how many 8 oz containers should I purchase for one recipe? Gonna try this as soon as the Louisiana strawberries hit the stores down here!

    When we lived a little farther North, our family made wild plum jelly (the cooked kind) from the wild plums that grew everywhere. That stuff was devine.

  26. I just saw our little produce market has strawberries for $.89 a pound! Going to fill me a cart tomorrow and make some of this deliciousness!

  27. My mom makes this recipe every year. It really is delicious. I never had store-bought jelly as a kid because we always had this homemade jam. Then, as an adult, I tried store-bought jelly. Gross.

  28. My grandma makes freezer jam every year and my dad used to make it once in a while but I have never tried it. You have inspired me though!! I just wish we had some extra freezer space, though, because it will have to be a small batch.

  29. Lisa–That's a great question and I actually just added it to the post because of you! 🙂 You'll need 5 8-oz. containers.

  30. Hi! I love your website–everything I've tried has been so delicious! I have to tell you that you've got to try the Ball simple creations freezer jam. It comes in a purple pouch. It uses only 1 1/2 c. sugar, it is soooo delicious, AND it is super fast (10 minutes!) Trust me on this one!

  31. ps. The Ball Simple Creations brand–NO COOKING involved! And don't bother measuring the berries because I can just tell you 2 pounds=4 cups mashed strawberries.

  32. I have made freezer jam the last 3 years. My grandmother made it for years and years and it is a family favorite. My Mother's Day present every year is a trip to the strawberry patch where we pick 16 or 17 pounds of strawberries. The bulk of them get made into jam, which by the way, if you heat it for about 10 seconds in the microwave, it is an excellent ice cream topping.
    There is also a specific freezer jam pectin packet. It is purple and by Ball, I think. It is super easy and is no-fail. I ended up liking it better. You can also substitute Splenda for sugar with that particular kind which is a convenient since I make it for some diabetic friends.

  33. I love freezer jam too! I made a ton of apricot jam a couple years ago from a friends tree. Last year I stopped buying store jam in an attempt to use up the apricot jam. (It can last more than a year–no one has died here…yet!)We are fortunate enough to have strawberry farms all over the place and I can't wait to fill all my empty jars with strawberry this year! I'm tempted to try the cooked variety to store in my pantry, but freezer is so fast and easy, I'm not sure I'll venture any further:)

  34. Has anyone ever tried it using a sugar substitute instead of real sugar? Something like Splenda or Truvia?

  35. Has anyone ever tried it using a sugar substitute instead of real sugar? Something like Splenda or Truvia?

  36. I love freezer jam, but I have never made it myself. This post definitely has encouraged me to try it. Thanks!

  37. Kate!! I have such fond memories of you holding my hand and showing me how to make freezer jam. We've been doing it ever since you showed us and I'm almost positive we haven't bought a jar of strawberry jam since you showed me. We LOVE it!

    Also, I just wanted to tell you that I still use your strawberries divine recipe for showers/parties. Everyone loves how they taste and how pretty they are. I only bring it up because I don't think I've seen it on here. I think your fans would really like it too!

    Thanks for sharing all your awesome food knowledge. I love it!

  38. This recipe came just in time as my local grocery store has 1 lb. of strawberries for $1.28! I didn't have computer access when I wanted to make mine during Conference so I used the recipe in the pectin box but it was different than yours! Weird? Anyhow, I'll have to compare and see if there's a difference.

  39. This little tutorial came at the perfect time since the Walmart down the street had strawberries for only $.88/lb!! Couldn't beat that! Thanks so much!

  40. One lick of this (after mixing it with a spoon) sent me back down memory lane making freezer jam with my mom at home as a kid. And I couldn't beat the price! Stater Brothers (a market by me) had strawberries for $0.69 a pound! THANK YOU for reminding me how easy it is! 🙂

  41. Louisiana strawberries are IN! Just made my first batch of this and I can't wait to try it.

    75c per pound at the Walmart near me. $10 a flat at the produce market.

    Now off to take care of the remaining 10 pounds! 😮

  42. I haven't had freezer jam in years. Funny thing, I just bought 2 pounds of strawberries today, and then finally got to read my RSS feed. Okay – I'm putting off several other things to make some freezer jam tomorrow. 🙂

    A question though – does anyone have other fruit freezer jam recipes? Someone mentioned apricot. Can it be any fruit? I'd love to see if I could do it with white flesh peaches (I LOVE THOSE!).

  43. I followed a link to your website several weeks ago. I have always been considered a "good cook" by my friends and family. However, I just like to add a lot of stuff into a pot and call it dinner.

    In recent months, I have been trying to change my life habits. I used to be super-skinny when I was young, but then a bout of gestational diabetes (undetected until it was too late) and the associated problems with PCOS caused HUGE amount of weight gain over the years. Last year, I decided I'd had enough. I started exercising and changing my diet (mainly just cutting out the unhealthy snacking & constant sweet tea), and lost 20 pounds. I got sick (hacking coughs, followed by depression) & was derailed.

    About 2 weeks before I found your website, I started eating a little healthier – trying to buy some fresh veggies & frozen veggies instead of canned; trying to make whole foods instead of boxed foods; cutting back even more on baked goods and sweet tea.

    When I found your website, I was inspired GREATLY by your delicious recipes and guidelines. Your food is simple, but fun.

    A couple of weeks back, I made this strawberry freezer jam. I was able to gift a lot of it, and still save plenty for myself and my daughter. We had fun in the process, and I realized – again – that this is the way I want to influence her food habits.

    Thank you for the inspiration.
    http://devylgyrl.com/2010/04/22/strawberries-fun/

  44. I am picking strawberries down the road today. And.. this is my plan to do this today. I am so excited!
    Thank you for recipe and your great blog! I love it!

  45. Can you use jam sugar instead of pectin? I was just wondering because I’m living in Ireland and I just havent seen pectin around, but I see jam sugar every where.

  46. Kate, what is Strawberries Divine Shelby was talking about?? Just curious?
    Love a good recipe ya know?? …….I bought 16 quarts of Strawberries last night at a Farmers Stand. How much will one quart make??

    1. Reda….I had 4 quarts and had no idea how many it was going to take either. I just chopped up the berries and fortunately, what I had left was exactly 4 cups. It was about 2/3 – 3/4 of a 4 quart container. By now, though, I’m guessing you figured it out :).

      Mary

      1. Reda, I lied. I had 2 quarts (4 lbs), not 4 quarts and it was about 3/4 of the 2 quart container for 4 cups of chopped strawberries.

  47. So I found some Pomona’s Universal Pectin at my local health food store and decided to get it and try it with the 4 quarts of organic strawberries I got at Costco last week. mmmmmmmm, lots of yummy noises! Interestingly, the recipe called for 3/4-2 cups of sugar, depending on your preference. I opted for 1½, but think I could cut it back to 1 next time. It goes great in the little half-pint jars I bought when I thought I was gonna make 32 pies in a jar and ended up only making 4! 😀

  48. I love freezer jam. I use Clear Jel in mine. You can use less sugar and if using instant Clear Jel, you don’t have to cook the strawberries down. It save so much time.

    Fresh Strawberry Jam
    5 cups fresh strawberries – smashed
    Sugar to taste (about 1 1/2 cups- 2 cups) granulated sugar
    5 tablespoons Clear Jel

    After taking the greens of my strawberries, I put them in the food processor or blender to smash to desired consistency.
    Place smashed strawberries in a large bowl.

    In a smaller bowl, mix together sugar and clear jel. Add the sugar mixture to the strawberries, stir until well mixed and sugar looks dissolved. Stir well, otherwise the starch will thicken in clumps.
    Let sit for 10 minutes to thicken completely. Once thickened, fill clean jars, seal with a lid and place in freezer.

  49. I always make the yellow box of Sure-Jell and love it. One time I tried a low sugar kind (can’t remember the brand) and didn’t like it at all. Next time I’ll try the Ball brand and hope it is as good as they say.

  50. So I made the freezer jelly, and the little containers have been sitting on my counter for about 12 hours now. The chunks seem to be settling at the top. Should I give it a good stir before I freeze???? Is this normal?

    Thank you jam lovers!
    Courtney

  51. This is the only freezer jam I’ve made and it is so fresh tasting. It is made with honey instead of sugar. The only thing, mine came out a little watery, but it was still wonderful. Don’t know if I did something wrong or if that’s how it was supposed to be. Used as a sauce and as jam.

    4 c mild flavored honey
    • 2 ¼ cups mashed strawberries (about 5 cups fresh berries)
    • ¼ c fresh lemon juice
    • 1 (2 oz) pkg. Powdered jam and jelly pectin

    • This delicious jam captures all the flavor of June’s freshly harvested strawberries because there is on cooking at all
    • Carefully select each red ripe berry, removing stems and placing in large strainer or colander.
    • Rinse in cold running water, shaking off all excess water.
    • Place in bowl and mash with potato masher, leaving some of the berries in larger pieces if desired.
    • Stir in lemon juice.
    • Slowly sift in pectin, stirring vigorously.
    • Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add honey and mix well.
    • Pour into freezer containers.
    • Chill at least 24 hours in below zero freezer.

  52. I too love freezer jam – and my mom introduced me to the best thing that ever happened to freezer jam. It’s called Ultra Gel. A company out of Salem, Utah makes it and you use HALF the sugar as compared to other brands. I don’t know if you can get this in stores, I just order off their website http://www.carnetfoods.com. You get a pound of it for about $6.00 – and it lasts forever. Great stuff!
    Thanks for all your great recipes!

  53. I made a ton of this( 8-9 qts!) and realized it only sat on the counter for 2 hrs before placed in the freezer! Will this make a huge difference?!

  54. My mom has made this recipe for years! So good! But what I wonder is why do you have to let it sit for 24 hours if the fruit mixture is not being cooked? The pectin is hot, but once you put it in the freezer containers, it doesn’t seem hot.

  55. You really do need to let it set on the counter for 24 hours so that it will fully jel. In fact, the only problem that I ever have is sometimes my jelly does not fully jel. It tastes just as good, but is a little juicy….even when I follow the instructions exactly.

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