Easy No-Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam
If you’ve ever wondered how to make jam, this easy recipe is for you! A super simple Strawberry Jam recipe that requires no cooking and sets in the freezer.
Simple Strawberry Freezer Jam
Growing up on a farm, food preservation was a way of life. My parents always had a large garden and under the stairs in our basement was proof of the many hours Mom spent canning in the kitchen.
Mom’s bounty included jars of beans, peaches, pears, cherries, apple sauce, spiced apple rings, pie apples, pickled beets, cucumber pickles of many different kinds, watermelon pickles, tomatoes, tomato sauce, sweet relish, a variety of salsas, sauerkraut, various fruit jams and jellies, plus my great grandmother’s recipe for rhubarb jam with orange slices. (Whew!) Ohhh, I can taste that pretty jam just thinking about it!
As if that weren’t enough, in the big chest freezer, we had bags of frozen sweet corn kernels and raspberries, still sweet from the past summer’s sun.
Preserving that much produce each summer took quite a lot of time. But come winter, it was such a treat to be able to run down to the basement for a jar and pop open the lid. That produce wasn’t plucked fresh from the garden, but it was 100 times better than anything we could have bought in a can or jar at the store.
While I wish I had the time and energy to preserve all the same goodness that I remember from the farm, I simply don’t. Instead, I focus on one or two canning projects each summer, and I make a few batches of freezer jam. I can’t resist preserving some of that beautiful summer fruit.
The beauty of making freezer jam? It’s quick, it’s easy and you still reap the rewards of homemade jam that’s full of summer flavor!
I was so proud of our garden this year. Our strawberry plants finally produced enough berries that we didn’t even visit a local u-pick. How awesome is that?!
What is Freezer Jam?
There are a few big differences between regular jam and freezer jam:
- The fruit is not cooked as much or at all. When you make a traditional jam, the fruit is generally cooked on the stovetop with sugar and sometimes lemon juice or pectin. The cooking time is usually several minutes, until the fruit breaks down and thickens a bit. By contrast, freezer jams are either not cooked or have a very short cooking time.
- You don’t need to sterilize jars or use a water bath to can the jam. With traditional jam recipes, you sterilize your jars before adding the cooked fruit, then you seal the jars in a boiling water bath. This is necessary because most jams are stored on shelves, so you have to kill any bacteria that might cause issues. While you still need to use clean jars for the freezer method, since you aren’t going to be storing your jam on a shelf it doesn’t need to be shelf stable. Therefore you can skip this more complex part of the traditional canning process.
- Freezer jam needs time to set. Most freezer jams require about 24 hours of rest time on the counter before going into the freezer. This gives the pectin time to set before you freeze the jam.
- Freezer jam generally has a looser consistency than jam made the traditional way. With freezer jam, the fruit is not cooked, giving it a brighter, fresh-from-summer color and flavor. Traditional jams are made by cooking the fruit, placing the jam in hot jars, and then boiling the jars in a big pot of hot water—a much lengthier process that heats up the kitchen real fast.
- Stored in the freezer. And of course, as the name implies, freezer jam is stored in your freezer instead of on the shelf!
What You’ll Need
See that metal canning funnel in our daughter’s hand in the photo above? That once belonged to my grandma, one of my favorite kitchen tools. Making freezer jam is such an easy process that I can basically walk away from the kitchen, leaving our young daughters in charge. Have I convinced you yet to make some freezer jam?!
- Canning jars – Mason jars or other freezer-safe containers with freezer-safe lids. I know that some people don’t like to store their freezer jam in traditional glass canning jars, afraid of the glass breaking in the freezer. But I’ve never had any issues with that, and I really do prefer glass over plastic. If you’d rather use plastic, there are some great options out there, like the one shown above with the raspberry freezer jam. Just look for these freezer-safe plastic containers in the canning supplies section at your own store.
- A funnel – Like the one shown above or a plastic funnel works too. This just makes it easier to spoon the jam into your jars without any spilling!
For the Strawberry Jam:
Here’s what you’ll need to make strawberry freezer jam. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts. Measure ingredients exactly. Altering recipes or ingredients could cause the jam to fail to set properly.
- Strawberries – Use firm perfectly ripe fruit for best flavor and set. Inferior fruit will produce inferior jam.
- Sugar – Regular granulated white sugar.
- Fruit Pectin – This is what will help your strawberries thicken and what will give you that “jam” consistency.
How to Make Strawberry Freezer Jam
Ok are you ready to make this simple strawberry jam? Here’s how to do it:
Smash the berries: Measure your berries into a bowl, then crush them with a potato masher. You can also use a food processor but be sure not to over process the berries. You want them to still have a nice amount of chunkiness, with small bits of fruit. Do not puree.
Mix in the sugar: Add the sugar to the crushed berries and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine water and pectin: Stir pectin and water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat.
Add the pectin mixture to the berries: Pour the pectin mixture over berry mixture and stir for 3 minutes, or until sugar has completely dissolved. If a few sugar crystals remain, that’s alright.
Fill your jars: Using a ladle, immediately fill containers, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Clean any jam from jar rims with a wet paper towel. Cover jars with lids.
Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
Store the jam: To use immediately, store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Otherwise store in the freezer for up to one year. Then simply thaw in refrigerator before using.
Tips for Success
This jam recipe is pretty simple, but there are still a few things to keep in mind:
- Wash and dry your jars. Always thoroughly wash jars in hot, soapy water before use. Then dry them.
- Don’t skip the 24 hour rest. It is tempting to simply pop the jam into the fridge or freezer, but this 24 hour rest period gives the pectin time to set, creating that jam like consistency. Also, it’s not a good idea to put hot jam into your freezer as it can lower the ambient temperature for foods next to the jars.
- Don’t over fill the jars. When your jam freezes it will expand, so leave at least one inch of empty space at the top of your jar. This way your jam has somewhere to go when it expands!
How Long Does Freezer Jam Last?
Freezer jam will last for up to one year in the freezer. When you are ready to use it, just thaw it in the fridge overnight. If you prefer to use your jam right away, you can skip the freezer and store it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- 2 c. crushed strawberries
- 4 c. sugar
- 1 box (1 3/4-ounce) SURE-JELL Premium Fruit Pectin
- 3/4 c. water
- Measure exact amount of crushed strawberries into a large bowl. To crush the berries, I prefer to use a potato masher or rigid pastry blender. If using a food processor, pulse lightly to still have a nice amount of chunkiness, with small bits of fruit. Do not puree.
- Add exact amount of sugar to the crushed berries and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir pectin and water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat.
- Pour pectin mixture over berry/sugar mixture and stir for 3 minutes, or until sugar has completely dissolved. If a few sugar crystals remain, that's alright.
- Using a ladle, immediately fill containers, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Clean any jam from jar rims with a wet paper towel.
- Cover jars with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
- To use immediately, store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Otherwise store in the freezer for up to one year. Then simply thaw in refrigerator before using.
Recipe adapted from SURE-JELL box instructions.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.