Do you love making freezer jam, but hate all the sugar that has to be added to make it jell? Then once your fresh fruit is made into jam you almost feel guilty eating it because it’s loaded with sugar?

Freezer Jam

This was my predicament for many summers. I think it kind of defeats the purpose of making jam if it ends up being pure sugar and you have to treat it like a dessert you can only consume on special occasions.


The problem with most freezer jam

I always choose to make freezer jam because it saves time in the kitchen. You just mash your fruit, add sweetener and pectin, and you’ve got jam to store in your freezer and enjoy all year long. The issue with most fruit pectins is they require SO MUCH sugar to create a firm jam. It always seemed so silly because the berries I use to make jam are already sweet. I noticed the high sugar content would sometimes overpower the flavor of the delicious fruit I had so carefully selected for my jam. And I’m just not down with that.

Furthermore, I would prefer to use a natural sweetener, like raw local honey, to sweeten my homemade jam. If only there was a way to make freezer jam with a natural sweetener. Oh, but there is!

The solution

Last year I felt like I hit the jackpot when I discovered this natural pectin that is extracted from citrus peels. This pectin depends on calcium instead of ridiculous amounts of added sugar to get a firmly set jam.

Freezer Jam 1

This pectin allows you to use low amounts of the sweetener of your choice. Honey, maple syrup, sugar, sucanat, stevia, or any other sweetener…YOU choose.

A packet of calcium powder is included in each box, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing any extra ingredients. The powder is mixed with water to make a calcium water that can be stored in the refrigerator for several months and used for future batches of your delicious jams or jellies!

If freezer jam isn’t your thing, you can also use this pectin to make cooked jams and jellies.

(Buy this versatile pectin here.)

Now I can finally slather my favorite freezer jam on my toast, knowing it’s sweetened with just a bit of honey, and not fear that I’ll collapse into a sugar coma after breakfast. Check out the recipe I use:


Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Freezer Jam

(recipe adapted from Pomona’s Pectin insert – makes about 6 cups)

You will need:

Directions:

  1. Prepare your calcium water using instructions on pectin insert. Set aside.
  2. Prepare several small glass jars and lids by washing and/or sterilizing and set aside.
  3. Combine mashed berries and lime juice in large bowl and mix well.
  4. Add honey to bowl with berries and lime juice and stir thoroughly to mix.
  5. Bring water to a boil, then pour into a blender or food processor. Add pectin powder and blend for 1-2 minutes, venting lid so steam can escape.
  6. Add hot liquid pectin to the bowl of fruit, mixing well.
  7. Add 5 teaspoons calcium water and mix well. Your jam should start jelling at this point. If it isn’t jelling, you can continue adding 1 teaspoon of calcium water, stirring well after each addition, until desired consistency is reached. (Keep in mind it will be thinner than cooked jam.)
  8. Fill jars with jam, leaving about ½” of head space. Screw on lids, and freeze immediately. You can start eating your first batch right away!

*Once thawed, jam will keep in the refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks. You can make your jam in small 4 oz. canning jars if you’re afraid larger amounts will go to waste in the fridge.

More ideas

Looking for other ways to enjoy your fresh strawberries? See all our favorite ways to use and preserve in-season strawberries here!


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Comments

  1. Olinda Paul says

    I have used this brand and it’s my go to brand of pectin for everything…gluten free too. It’s wonderful. I make the best stuff with Pomona’s.

  2. Julie says

    I love this option but have a couple questions. Is this an online product or do stores carry it? I’ve never seen it before. Also, I have this weird aversion to jam bc if the pieces of fruit. I love fresh fruit but hate mushy chunks of it in anything. That said, do you think this would work if I puréed it first, or would it be too thin?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Some stores carry this pectin. I have found it in my local health food store. I think pureeing would work…you might just have to add more calcium water.

  3. Riversana says

    I’m assuming that the jars of finished jam should remain in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them? How many pints do you make for a year’s supply?! Thanks for the great recipe, I’m a huge fan of simple!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, your frozen jam should remain in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it. We don’t eat a ton of jam, so I usually only make 5-10 8oz. jars of it. But you could figure out how many jars you would go through in a month and calculate it that way. Hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

  4. says

    Hi,

    I love getting your emails! Just a question about the pectin – Is the calcium included in the packet of pectin vegan?

    Thanks,
    Taibi

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I found this information about the calcium on the Pomona’s website:

      “The monocalcium phosphate powder that comes in its own packet when you purchase Pomona’s is a food-grade rock mineral source of calcium made up of two minerals, calcium and phosphorous. The food industry uses it as a yeast nutrient in baking, an acidulant in baking powder, and a mineral supplement.”

      Glad you’re enjoying our emails Taibi!

  5. ellen says

    freezer jam???

    do you have to keep it in the freezer all the time? i mean, is it FROZEN when you try to spread it? or, do you freeze it, and take out one jar and use that one jar in the fridge until it’s gone??

    sounds GREAT!!!!! i can’t wait to try this!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great question Ellen! Lol…I realize now this must sound funny if you’re not familiar with freezer jam. It just means you make it, freeze all of your jars, then pull a jar out of the freezer and thaw when you’re ready for a new jar. Use that one jar in the fridge until it’s gone. Make sense?

      Hope you love it!

      • Beth says

        One more question about freezer jam vs. regular jam…if you were making regular jam, it’d be shelf stable for a long time, right? Admittedly I’ve never actually made my own jam before but I would really like to try, so perhaps this is all misconception on my part. Are you skipping a step with the canning or the preparation that you wouldn’t be doing if you were to make “regular” jam?

        • Betsy Jabs says

          If you make “regular jam” it is cooked, then canned. So it will last as long as canned foods, and once opened, it is good for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator. However, I prefer freezer jam since you don’t have to cook the jam or go through the trouble of canning it (using the hot water bath method). If you don’t have lots of extra freezer space, and don’t mind the trouble of canning, making regular canned jam is probably a better option.

  6. syndie says

    This looks fantastic, thanks. I was wondering if you had the recipe for using stevia instead of honey?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I don’t know exactly how much stevia you would use, but when you get to step #4 in the recipe, all you have to do is start adding your stevia little by little, stirring and tasting after each addition until you reach the desired sweetness. Hope that helps!

  7. Margie Ceoss says

    I made strawberry freezer jam one year ,used equal part of artificial sweetener, and first time had a problem with it not being set well when I pulled out to use.( very runny) Am anxious to try this recipe, question is,with the honey does it cut the strawberry flavor? I’ve not used honey very often. Thank you

    • Betsy Jabs says

      No, honey doesn’t cut the strawberry flavor. Actually, since I use lime in this recipe, I feel like I taste a little lime, but not so much honey.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      This is the information about the calcium powder from the Pomona’s website:

      “The monocalcium phosphate powder that comes in its own packet when you purchase Pomona’s is a food-grade rock mineral source of calcium made up of two minerals, calcium and phosphorous. The food industry uses it as a yeast nutrient in baking, an acidulant in baking powder, and a mineral supplement.”

      It’s from a rock mineral source, so it’s not dairy-based.

  8. Jen says

    How much of a 1oz pkg do you actually use when you use 3 teaspoons. Just wondering how many packs of pectin I would need.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great question Cathy! For the freezer jam you can use fruits like blueberries, raspberries, cherries (sweet or sour), pears, kiwis, blackberries, or plums. If you want cooked jam, you have even more choices like peaches, mulberry, pineapple, currant, gooseberry, apricots, mangos, figs, and more. The reason you have more choices with cooked jam is that some fruits will not jell very well as a raw jam.

  9. Michelle Nicholson says

    I just made a double batch with my 6 year old daughter. We made 1 strawberry batch and 1 blueberry/strawberry. (I ran out of blueberries and had some extra strawberries. Both upon tasting were fantastic. And what a fun project to do with my daughter!! THANKS!!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oooooh…the blueberry/strawberry mixture sounds tasty! I’m so glad you were able to include your daughter in this fun project. :)

  10. Lan says

    Hi! I’m new to freezer jam (the first time I’ve heard the term!) and store-bought pectin (I’ve heard of it but have never bought or used it). What are the ingredients of this pectin? I’m in Canada and amazon.ca doesn’t carry it. Bernadin pectin, which they do carry, ingredients are dextrose, fruit pectin, citric acid, and calcium ascorbate, so I’m just curious what the ingredient list of Pomona looks like. Thank you!!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      You’re in for a treat with freezer jam…so simple! In regards to the pectin ingredients, I pulled this excerpt straight from the Pomona’s Pectin website

      “Pomona’s Universal Pectin contains only 100% pure citrus pectin. There are no additives, preservatives, sugar, or dextrose.”

  11. Cynthia says

    Enjoyed the article on how to use up all those strawberries. Would like to make a suggestion under the “Smoothies” option to remove adding soy to your smoothies. Soy/soy powder is not a health food nor good for us! Thanks for your great info!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      We have not tried using gelatin as a replacement for the pectin, so I really don’t know. Be sure to return and let us know if it works if you try this method!

  12. Lan says

    Thanks so much Betsy!! (For some reason I can’t “reply” directly to your post.)

  13. Lan says

    I made the jam yesterday and it turned out great. Even though I had known it wouldn’t be as sweet as store-bought jams (even the healthier kinds), I was still surprised how pleasantly mild the sweetness was. Thanks so much!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yay! So glad you liked the finished product! Yes, it’s less sweet, but allows the berry taste to shine instead of being overpowered by sugar. :)