The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry freezer jam.I'm starting to realize that jam has a definite place in farm life.  Last year, I froze our few excess berries as-is, and while they were tasty once thawed, they weren't phenomenal.

Then Mark's mom gave us some homemade strawberry freezer jam.  Wow-whee!  We thinned that jam down and mixed it into salad as dressing, ate it in gobs on pancakes, and even spread it on cakes as frosting.

So this year, I hunted down the remarkably easy Strawberry Freezer Jam recipe and used it on my excess strawberries from the less tasty beds.  The recipe is on the inside of the package of Sure-Jell pectin (less or no sugar type), but I'll reproduce it below because it's surprisingly hard to find on the internet:

Remove the stems on approximately four pints of strawberries.  Crush them with a potato masher, a cup at a time.  Measure out 4 cups of the crushed strawberries (which should be all of them.)

Put 3 cups of sugar and 1 package of pectin (low sugar type) in a pot and stir to mix.  Add 1 cup of water and mix again.  Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir for one minute.  Remove from heat.

Stir mashed berries into the hot mixture quickly, then pour into containers.  (We used one cup versions of our typical freezer containers, but the stores do sell jelly jars in plastic if you want that look.)

Let the jam stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  Then refrigerate for up to three weeks or freeze for up to one year.  Thaw in the refrigerator.

I'm a jam connoisseur --- unless a jam is basically fruit in a jar, I won't eat it.  This one passes the test.  I'd like to try to cut back on the sugar some, but am not sure if it would jell....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hi, I just found your blog and can't wait to get into reading it. I know I'll enjoy it a lot just from this first post that I've read. I've never made freezer jam before, we always can ours because of limited freezer space. I just did a bunch of stuff with strawberries this past week, including jam with honey instead of sugar. If you're curious, the post is called Strawberry Fields Forever and it's just a couple posts down the page now. You can't miss it, there's pictures of piles of strawberries all over it. Thanks for posting the recipe for the jam, it's interesting to read a freezer recipe as opposed to a canning recipe. They're slightly different. It all looks super yummy!! -Beth

Comment by Bethany James Thu Jun 4 08:43:20 2009
Good to meet you, Bethany! I'll definitely have to try your strawberry and honey spread if I have enough berries left. Did you add any thickener, or just mash the berries and honey together?
Comment by anna Thu Jun 4 13:31:51 2009
Oops, read your post more carefully and answered my own question. So, four cups of strawberries, 1 cup of honey, and 1 package pectin?
Comment by anna Thu Jun 4 13:32:40 2009

Actually, I used Pomona Pectin, which is a special sugar free pectin that is made of citrus and jells with a bit of calcium. I've found it at the natural foods store and at the Amish bulk foods place by us. A box is more expensive than surejell, but one box makes a few batches. There are instructions in the box, and on the website. If you google pomona pectin, their site is easy to find.

I'm wondering though, if you actually do need the pectin, depending on how tolerant of runny jam you are. I've become fairly tolerant of it myself, because I'm alway reducing the sugar in my recipes. There's something about 70% sugar jam that I just feel guilty about eating. Maybe the strawberries could be cooked down a bit, and then the honey added and it frozen? That may be runnier than regular surejell jam, but cheaper and healthier too.

Comment by Bethany James Thu Jun 4 14:01:36 2009
I tried this recipe in 2011, but halved the sugar to 1.5 cups, and it seems to have jelled up great! On the other hand, using normal pectin with such low sugar means no jelling at all....
Comment by anna Sun May 29 11:04:36 2011
We just made this last night and it is great. While we were making it, we googled "Homemade pectin" and found it to be surprisingly easy to make. It does sound a little tricky to use, though. Have you ever considered making your own pectin?
Comment by Robert Wed Jun 8 13:49:12 2011
I haven't tried making my own pectin --- to be honest, we barely eat jam, so this is the only recipe I've ever made. :-) (We actually eat it as a salad dressing on our early spring lettuce.) If you try making your own pectin, you'll have to report back!
Comment by anna Thu Jun 9 06:42:00 2011
I love to freeze my produce! Ready to try jams this year. So, just to update, I can use 1.5 cups sugar with the low sugar pectin and it will still jell? How do you plan to strain the seeds from the blackberries?
Comment by Laura Sun Apr 27 10:19:48 2014

Laura --- The amount of sugar will differ a bit with different kinds of berries, but I've had no problem getting freezer jam to gel using the recipe above (and the ones for other berries inside the pectin package).

If I opt to strain out seeds this year, I'll use a foley mill (aka food mill) the way I remove skins from applesauce. I'd probably send the berries through the food processor first, though, so I don't lose as much pulp.

Comment by anna Sun Apr 27 16:59:58 2014

Anna, I wanted to let you know that I successfully made 1 batch of strawberry freezer jam this morning. I used organic strawberries from the farm at the school I work at and made my own organic apple juice. I used Ball no sugar added pectin and no additional sugar. It made four 16 oz. Containers to freeze and extra for experimenting with strawberry balsamic vinegrette for my salad this week. I also froze 4 lbs do whole berries to enjoy during the winter in my smoothies. I know this won't be enough but it is a start and I am looking forward to doing the same thing for blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I'm going to keep track of my freezer produce like you suggested in your book, Weekend Homesteader. I'll adjust for next year and dream about the time I will have my own strawberry patch.
You are an inspiration and I truly am grateful that I found you and we made a connection.

Comment by Laura Thu Jul 3 16:17:48 2014

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