Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry season has finally arrived here in southern Maine. I say 'finally,' but I think it's actually a few weeks early this year. I just have been jonesing for strawberries- especially after reading about other bloggers' delicious strawberry treats. Well, we're finally getting our turn.

I got so excited to hear that Maxwell's Pick Your Own strawberry fields in Cape Elizabeth were open that I drove down the next day. I went a little crazy and picked 12 pounds of strawberries! Rather than decide in that moment what to do with so many berries, I made freezer jam and froze the rest. Now I am ready to make strawberry shortcake, triple berry jam, and strawberry rhubarb pies at my leisure.

I really enjoy freezer jam because it's so darn easy. Freezer jam is cooked less, and so it results in a fresher taste and color. For this recipe, I used Ball no sugar needed pectin. This pectin contains recipes for cooked jams (to be heat processed) and freezer jams, but I didn't like the freezer jam recipe. It called for fruit juice, and that just seemed silly when I had so many strawberries sitting in front of me. So I made the cooked jam recipe and just froze it. Since freezing is always a safe alternative to canning, I knew I'd be alright- maybe even better off, since freezer jam is always more weepy. The cooked jam recipe set up nicely, however.

Low-sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam
Adapted from Ball

4 cups mashed fruit
0-3 cups sugar (your preference- I used 1-1/4 cups)
1 package Ball No Sugar Needed pectin

Wash berries and remove green tops. Place in a large bowl and mash up finely, using a potato masher or a food chopper (if you're fancy). Bring strawberry mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Use a fairly large pot, since the mixture will expand and foam.

When berries are boiling, add powdered pectin and stir until dissolved. Bring back to a boil and boil one minute to dissolve pectin. After one minute, add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and ladle into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch between the top of the fruit and the top of the container to allow for expansion. You can buy special freezer jam containers like I did (about $6 for 6), or use any freezer-grade plastic container. You may also use wide-mouth jelly or pint jars. Do not use jars with shoulders (narrow-mouth pint jars), as they can break when the jam expands during freezing. Nothing ruins a good breakfast like glass in your jam!

Keep in the freezer for up to one year. Thaw and store jam in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.


  1. looks lovely! I put all of my strawberries in jars this year and I'm looking forward to working through it over the next year.

  2. BEAUTEOUS!!! I'm sad I don't get to see you this weekend, but another one will come soon I bet.

  3. I just bought fresh picked strawberries yesterday and wanted to make some freezer jam. All I have is the Sure Jell brand- no sugar needed- pectin. Do you think this recipe would come out the same? Dumb question I'm sure, but I'm clueless! Thanks for the help (and for sharing the recipe!)

  4. Freezer Jam. Who knew? I'm learning so much about my food preservation option by reading blogs.

    Thanks for the suggestion about calling the Extension office. I had also seen that they'd done food preservation classes in the past. I called this morning and they said that while they weren't offering the classes anymore, they could direct me to a couple places that do offer classes. A step in the right direction!