This is hands down the best recipe for no-cook strawberry freezer jam ever! Bonus: you can use a lot less sugar than conventional freezer jams…or even use honey! The taste is so fresh and delicious; it’s incredible!
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Me and my old-fashioned heart, well, we love canning, even if it is a dying trend (at least among many of my friends that I talk to).
And yes, even freezer jam, as simple as it is, falls along the canning spectrum somewhere!
Making strawberry freezer jam is one of the easiest things to make and put by.
Because it isn’t shelf stable, you’ll need freezer space for storage, but you can make small batches without any problem, so you ensure you have plenty of freezer space left for, you know, ice cream and other important things.
Or, if you’re me, you just go ahead and invest in a large, standing freezer for the garage and a separate generator so that if the power goes out, your large batches of freezer jam won’t suffer.
Now, I can’t promise your kids won’t ever leave the door of the freezer open a crack after snagging an otter pop, unintentionally letting every little bit of food in the freezer, including stores of precious strawberry freezer jam, thaw and drip and spoil over the course of a week.
That is a personal issue you’ll have to navigate on your own.
(And while it is unconfirmed whether or not I’m speaking from personal experience, let me just give you a hint that surviving an episode like this may require lots of tissues, chocolate, and therapy.)
I used to do the whole cook-the-strawberries-for-half-a-day and then steam or water bath the jam so I could put the pretty jars on my shelves without need of refrigeration or freezing.
And while this type of cooked strawberry jam is tasty, with strawberries, there’s nothing quite like the fresh, bright taste of strawberry freezer jam.
Because the strawberries aren’t cooked, every time you pull a container from the freezer and let it thaw, you get that luscious, just-picked berry taste.
And it is phenomenal.
Now let me take a second to talk to you about pectin.
If you’ve been around for a while, you know I’m not a fan of advocating specialty products or ingredients just for the sake of being trendy or different.
But in the case of freezer jam (or any jam or jelly for that matter), the only pectin I have used for the last several years, is Pomona’s Pectin (and yes, I have an updated jalapeño jelly post coming soon using this amazing stuff).
I am totally unaffiliated with this company; they have no idea who I am, but I honestly, genuinely love this product so much that I’ll gladly tell the world about it.
Without getting into the nitty gritty and boring you with all the reasons why I’m a fan, let me just say:
Basically, I got fed up with the extra junk added to most commercial pectins AND the fact that with most of them, you have to add as much, if not more, sugar as you do fruit (and most low-sugar pectins have a lot of added hidden sugars to compensate).
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider jam health food.
But if given the chance to have the most delicious strawberry freezer jam on the planet AND have it be lower sugar or even made with honey, I’m gonna be all over that.
Because, by doing so, the jam actually tastes like strawberries that are lightly sweetened with sugar. Instead of tasting like sugar lightly sweetened with strawberries.
Pomona’s Pectin is all-natural; it’s a citrus-based pectin that is activated with a calcium powder mixed with water.
There are no preservatives or added sugar to the pectin (additionally, it’s Kosher manufactured, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO, if you care about any of the above).
And even though the method for using it is a little different than other widely available pectins on the market, it is NOT difficult.
In fact, it’s super easy.
I even made a little video to show you how simple it is.
As far as availability, most healthier food stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc) carry Pomona’s.
I even have a cute, family-owned grocery store close to me (Clif’s Market in Caldwell, if you are local to the Boise area) that carries it.
But mostly, I stock up online. The reviews speak for themselves. This is good stuff.
One box of Pomona’s Pectin can make about 6-8 pints of jelly/jam.
If you’ve also used Pomona’s Pectin in the past, you’ll have to comment below and let me know what you think.
If you haven’t, and you can get over me totally fangirling over pectin, of all things, you should definitely try it.
Without tooting my own freezer jam horn too much (let’s give the credit to Ms. Pomona, whoever she might be), I have had many, many people tell me over the years that this strawberry freezer jam is the best they’ve ever had.
Honestly, I think it’s because that delicious, natural, strawberry flavor totally bowls you over with it’s fresh, yummy taste.
Just to give you a little comparison, for 4-5 cups of pureed strawberries, I use 1 1/2 cups of sugar (or sometimes half sugar and half honey) when using Pomona’s Pectin (and you can cut it down to as low as 3/4 cup per batch).
Sure-jell, a popular pectin, has a recipe for freezer jam calling for 2 cups crushed strawberries and 4 cups sugar.
And their low-sugar recipe uses 4 cups fruit to 3 cups sugar.
So just from a sweetener perspective, Pomona’s is winning big time, and I promise that there is no sacrifice in the texture or taste of the jam because of it.
In fact, quite the opposite: IT’S THE BEST FREEZER JAM EVER!
Last week I snagged 32 pounds of strawberries and made pints and pints of jam in just under three hours. Not too shabby.
What about containers, you ask?
Well, I’m a rebel, and often freeze jam in jars.
I know this is considered living dangerously on the edge in the jam world, since food expands in the freezer and jars can break, but as long as I’m careful to leave 1/2- to 3/4-inches of headspace in the jar, I’ve never had a jar crack.
I top them with every day canning metal lids and rings or these handy dandy plastic lids (which for some reason make me very happy, I love these lids).
I also use (and reuse year after year), plastic freezer containers like the ones pictured below.
There are a lot of options out there; it’s not rocket science deciding which to choose.
My freezer is stuffed with the ones you see below (picked those up at my local Winco) and also these Glad Freezeware containers.
So there you have it! More words dedicated to the best strawberry freezer jam than I’ve written in my personal journal all year.
Clearly, I love me some really good freezer jam, and there’s nothing that makes me happier than being able to share that goodness (or rather, the method to obtaining that goodness) with you!
I have some other canning recipes (savory and sweet) up my sleeve over the next few months, but if you have any specific requests, leave them below in the comments!
The Best Strawberry Freezer Jam
- 1 box of Pomona’s Pectin
- 4-5 cups pureed or crushed strawberries, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of strawberries (crush or puree to desired consistency, I like the mixture fairly smooth)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (or honey, see note above)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cups boiling water
- Take out the small white packet of calcium powder and measure 1/2 teaspoon into a jar or container with a lid. Pour in 1/2 cup water. Shake well; set aside.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice to the strawberries and stir well.
- In a blender, combine the boiling water and 1 tablespoon of pectin (in the large white packet). Process until smooth.
- Add the warm pectin mixture to the strawberries and mix to combine. The mixture will start to jell and thicken.
- Shake the calcium water to recombine and measure out 4 teaspoons; add to the jam. Stir well. (Extra calcium water can be stored in the refrigerator for months.)
- Portion the jam into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal with a lid. Store in the freezer (for up to a year) or in the refrigerator (for several weeks).
This recipe has only been tested and made using Pomona’s Pectin; other brands of pectin will not work the same in this recipe. I’ve never made the jam with all honey (although you can); but half sugar/half honey is delicious. And speaking of sweetener, you can cut the sugar down even more if you like, the minimum being 3/4 cup sugar or 1/2 cup honey.
Following the recipe below, you’ll have leftover pectin and calcium powder, simply fold down the tops of the packet or place in a small bag and store it in the Pomona’s box to use later. It won’t spoil. One box of Pomona’s Pectin will make three batches of the recipe below (so about 8-9 pints of jam, depending on amount of sweetener used). This recipe can be doubled. I use my food processor to puree the strawberries and it makes adding/mixing in the pectin and calcium water simple, too.
Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and the insert of the Pomona’s Pectin box