What is Freezer Jam?


What is Freezer Jam?

What is freezer jam, and exactly how is freezer jam made?

What Is Freezer Jam

There's nothing like the feeling of having fresh jam in the household, ready to be slathered onto sandwiches or hot toast. If you like jam as much as we do, you may have heard the term "freezer jam" thrown around in cooking and canning circles. If you've never thought much about it, you might assume that the answer to "What is freezer jam?" is perhaps, "a jam or jelly that is put on frozen desserts," or "jam that is made in the freezer." The latter is close, but not completely true.

So exactly what is freezer jam, and how is freezer jam made? This is our comprehensive run-down on everything you need to know about freezer jam, including what containers to use for freezer jam, whether you can use frozen fruit to make freezer jam, how long can freezer jam be left out, and what pectin is and why it is important. Who knew it could be so easy to cook with your freezer?

What is freezer jam?

To put it simply, freezer jam is a no-cook jam that is stored in the freezer. Making jam is usually a long, arduous endeavor. The fruit must be boiled and then constantly skimmed and put through a mesh strainer. You also need a lot of equipment and time. Fortunately, making freezer jam requires none of that--all you need is fruit and one or two other ingredients, a jar, and a freezer.

Does freezer jam taste different? The answer is yes--a little. Quick freezer jam doesn't have the thick, gelatinous flavor and feel of regular jam. Freezer jam essentially tastes like ripe fruit. That's right--freezer jam fruit retains its best qualities so that you can open a jar of summer even in the dead of winter.

What Is Freezer Jam?

How do you make freezer jam?

Here are the steps for how to make freezer jam:

  1. Select your fruit.  Make sure to pick the ripest fruit you can find, because that ripeness really shines through in freezer jam! Crush the fruit to your texture preference for a more traditional jam texture, or, if you're feeling bold, leave the fruit in large chunks to preserve. If you're mashing fruit, here's a good tip: 1 pound of pitless fruit (or 1.5 pounds of pitted fruit) yields 2 cups of mashed fruit.
  2. Add a sweetener. This could be sugar, honey, brown sugar, or any artificial sweetener.
  3. Optional: Add fresh herbs!  Herbs don't work in normal jam because the heat in the cooking process is bad for them; they will wilt and lose flavor. However, with freezer jam, those bright pops of mint or basil will shine through months later.
  4. Optional: Add lemon juice to fruits with low acid content. You can squeeze it right from the lemon or use store-bought juice. This will add a citrusy flavor dimension, and the acid will help these fruits to set. Below, we've added a handy cheat-sheet for acidic vs. sweet fruits. (You can click on the image to make it larger!)
  5. Add pectin, and you're done!

What Is Freezer Jam?

What is pectin?

Pectin is a starch that is naturally found in the cell walls of fruit. It's what gives fruit its shape and firmness! Hard fruits such as apples have quite a bit of natural pectin, whereas squishy fruits, such as strawberries, have very little pectin. That is why pectin is important in jams--it helps them set, so that you don't end up with a watery mess. Otherwise, getting the same effect would take massive amounts of added sugar.

There is a difference between freezer jam pectin vs. regular pectin, however, so keep an eye out when you're shopping! Classic pectin is built to break down in heat, whereas freezer jam pectin needs no heat, which is why it is sometimes called "instant pectin." Make sure you have the proper pectin for your freezer jam recipe.

What Is Freezer Jam?

What containers to use for freezer jam?

There's nothing more tragic than working hard on the perfect jam or jelly, only for the jar to shatter in the freezer. Don't let that happen to you! One important thing to know regarding how to make freezer jam is which container to pick.

As a rule, any plastic jar is safe for the freezer. Plastics won't crack or shatter from the cold. Of course, glass is a little more classic, but also more risky. If you want to use glass, make sure that the container has straight sides to avoid cracking when the no-cook jam freezes.

You may also be wondering, "How long can freezer jam be left out?" In the refrigerator, it has a shelf life of one week; in the freezer, it can last for up to one year.  Wow!

What Is Freezer Jam?

Can you use frozen fruit to make freezer jam?

Although using fresh, ripe fruit is the best way to make freezer jam, there are times when that just isn't possible. So, you can use frozen fruit to make freezer jam--but it may be slightly tricker! Here's our tips.

First of all,  prepare your fruit completely before you freeze it.  That means chopping, peeling, and pitting. This won't change the flavor or texture of the jam, but believe us, this step is far harder when you're working with frozen fruit!

If you are using lemon juice, you can add it in before freezing the fruit. It will keep the fruit from browning. Nifty trick!

When you're ready to make freezer jam, thaw the fruit until it has a looser texture, then mix it with whatever liquid your recipe calls for (usually water.) From there, proceed as normal.

It's important to note that freezing fruit reduces its natural pectin. That means that using frozen fruit might leave you with a more watery freezer jam than you were looking for. The solution to this is to increase the amount of instant pectin that you added before freezing, but this might take some experimentation.

What Is Freezer Jam?

Easy freezer jam recipes

Now that you're dying to try this easy preserving method, take a look at some of RecipeLion's best freezer jam recipes:
Berry Freezer Jam: You just really can't go wrong with the classic combination of blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries. This recipe also has a citrusy twist!
Persimmon Freezer Jam: Persimmons are incredibly good for your body. Your digestive system and your taste buds will thank you for making this freezer jam recipe!
Freezer Peach Jam: This easy peach jam is especially good with slathered generously over baked goods.

What are your favorite fruits to make jam with? Has your family passed down any jam recipes? We'd love to know about them in the comments!

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