No-cook Freezer Jam
Yield: 5 to 6 cups
Freezer jam is fun and easy to make! It’s also a delicious way to enjoy the lower prices of local, seasonal berries and fruit all year-round. Stir up a batch for the taste of summer in a jar.
- 4 cups mashed fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches or plums) Add to list
- 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice (optional) Add to list
- 1/2 to 1 cup honey or 3/4 to 2 cups sugar Add to list
- 3/4 cup water Add to list
- 3 teaspoons Pomona pectin powder (see note below) Add to list
- 4 to 12 teaspoons calcium water (calcium powder and directions are in the Pomona package) Add to list
Wash, rinse and let dry 8-ounce glass jars and lids.
Remove fruit stems and pits as required. Gently mash one cup of fruit at a time, using a pastry cutter for best results, until finely chopped but not puréed. Jam should have bits of fruit. Measure into a large bowl, adding lemon or lime juice if desired. Measure sugar or honey as desired and add to fruit; stir well.
Bring water to a boil. Put in a blender or food processor. Add proper amount of pectin powder. Vent lid and blend 1 to 2 minutes until all powder is dissolved. Add hot liquid pectin to fruit; stir until well mixed.
Add 4 teaspoons calcium water, made according to directions on the box; stir well. Jell should begin appearing. Using this minimum amount works well for a smooth, not-too-sweet fresh jam. If you like a firmer jam, add more calcium water, one teaspoon at a time, stirring well. Jam will firm up as it sets.
Fill jars, leaving a 1/2-inch space at top for expansion during freezing. Cover with lids and put in freezer, keeping frozen until ready to use. After opening, keep refrigerated. Consume preferably within a week.
Note: If you want to make freezer jam with brands of pectin other than Pomona, be sure to follow the instructions in the box!
Jams are made simply from fruit and their juice, sugar (or other sweetener), citric acid and pectin. The pectin is what makes them jell; it’s a water-soluble carbohydrate that occurs naturally to various degrees in different fruits.
Tart apples, cranberries, currants, gooseberries, Concord grapes and lemons contain enough pectin to yield firm jam, but many other fruits do not have enough of their own natural pectin to make jams and jellies with the consistency we’ve come to love. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries and peaches need a little help from commercial pectin products to make perfect, uncooked freezer jam.
PCC sells Pomona Universal Pectin, a natural pectin product extracted from the peel and pulp of lemons, limes and oranges after their juice and oil are pressed out. The common pectin brands found in other grocery stores are known as high-methoxyl pectin. They require a sugar concentration of more than 55 percent to jell.
Pomona’s low-methoxyl pectin enables us to make jam from low-pectin fruits with less sugar — firmly jelling fruit with any amount of sugar, honey, fruit juice concentrate, agave, brown rice or maple syrup, stevia or xylitol. It even works with unsweetened fruit or juice.
However, Pomona does require an extra step not needed with high-methoxyl pectins — blending in a bit of calcium water made from ingredients in the package. More information is available PomonaPectin.com and Washington State University Extension Service.
What is the difference between jam, jelly and other fruit spreads?
- Jams – made from crushed or mashed fruit, less firm than jelly
- Jellies – clear and firmly holds its shape, made from fruit juices
- Preserves – made from whole or chopped fruit in a clear, lightly jelled syrup
- Marmalades – made with diced or ground citrus fruit suspended in clear jelly
- Fruit butters – made from thickened fruit sauces, often with added spices
Source: Sound Consumer, July 2008
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