Strawberry Freezer Jam is one of the best (and tastiest!) ways to preserve the fresh taste of summer! Follow this easy step-by-step tutorial and you can have fresh strawberry jam ready to eat about an hour!
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Strawberry freezer jam is one of the best, easiest (and tastiest!) ways to preserve the fresh taste of summer.
Strawberry freezer jam is super-easy to make and takes only about an hour, including the time it takes to prep the strawberries. Make a batch or two, and you will have strawberry jam to last well into the cold, dark days of winter, when a spoonful of freezer jam on a fresh buttermilk biscuit is a bite of heaven.
The Problem With Pectin
(NOTE: It’s not the pectin: it’s the people.)
I’m pretty sure that all the pectin companies use the same guy to write their directions, and as far as I’m concerned, they are all messed up.
For example, one set of directions has you measure things out [sugar] really early without telling you that you need to wait until two or three steps ahead before adding it. Another has you measure the lemon juice, but never actually includes anything in the instructions about when to add it. You just have to figure it all out for yourself.
I’ve made a ton of strawberry freezer jam over the years, so by now you’d think I’d have the process memorized. Nevertheless, every year I still have to remind myself – “Put the sugar in last. Put the sugar in last. Put the sugar in last.”
Hopefully, this tutorial will clear things up!
How to Make Strawberry Freezer Jam • Step-by-Step
IMPORTANT: MCP Premium Fruit Pectin changed its formula in recent years, and this recipe has been updated to reflect that change. Specifically, the recipe for strawberry freezer jam no longer contains corn syrup as one of the ingredients.
This tutorial is written for use with MCP Premium Fruit Pectin. If you use any other kind of pectin, please consult the directions provided. The process is generally the same; however, ingredient amounts and/or times may differ slightly.
[Scroll down for a printable recipe]
To make Strawberry Freezer Jam, you will need:
- 4 pints fresh strawberries
- 4 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 box MCP Pectin
You will also need:
STEP 1 – Mashed the Strawberries
Clean and hull the berries.
Using a potato masher, squish the strawberries a cup or so at a time.
Measure out exactly 3 1/4 cups of mashed berries into a large bowl.
You can process the hulled strawberries in a blender or food processor if you prefer, but I like having actual strawberry pieces in my jam. Pulverizing the strawberries beyond recognition from the get-go makes for a too-smooth jam, in my opinion.
Step 2 – Measure the Sugar
Measure out exactly 4 1/2 cups of white sugar into a medium bowl, and then set it aside.
Do not put the sugar into the berry mix yet.
Step 3 – Mix the Lemon Juice into Strawberries
Measure out 1/4 cup lemon juice.
Stir the lemon juice into the mashed strawberries.
The box directions say to use fresh, but this is one time when I do use the bottled stuff. It works just fine.
Step 4 – Add Pectin
Sprinkle the pectin on top of the strawberry lemon juice mixture and stir it in. Do this a little at a time to avoid little pectin lumps in the jam mixture.
Step 6 – Stir the Strawberry Mixture
- Stir the strawberry and pectin every five minutes or so, for 30 minutes total.
- DO NOT Over-stir!
Some people are very precise about this stirring. They set timers and get all fidgety if they are 30 seconds late. My jam is lucky if I stir it every 10 minutes.
I usually use this time to clean up the kitchen: complete a task, stir the jam, complete another task, stir the strawberries again. Some chores take longer than others, so my timing is never every five minutes. Don’t sweat it – my jam always turns out fine.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT STIR CONSTANTLY! Doing so will break down the connective strands forming in the jam, and you will end up with a thick syrup, as opposed to a spreadable jam. It’s kind of like what happens to Jello if you just keep stirring it and never let it gel.
That one time Mr B helped me make freezer jam:
- Mr B: “I’ll help you stir. I always loved to make jam with my Aunt Ailene.”
- Me: “OK. Thank you! Just remember – this is freezer jam, not cooked jam. Don’t stir it all the time.”
- Mr B: “Aunt Ailene always said to keep stirring all the time.”
- Me: “I know – because that was cooked jam. Freezer jam is different.”
- Mr B: “Aunt Ailene said…”
- Me: [Rolls eyes.]
Next day …
- Mr B: “This jam is really thin.”
- Me: “Yep. We have a couple years’ worth of strawberry syrup now!” (Which is not entirely a bad thing!)
- Mr B: “Oh. Yeah. Well…”
Step 7 – Add Sugar to Strawberry Mixture
NOW. Now it is time to add the sugar. Pour it in slowly, stirring it in as you go, so that there are no sugar lumps in the mixture.
Stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. This will take about five minutes.
By the time the sugar has completely dissolved, the jam will have thickened a little. Don’t worry if it is still runny though – it takes about 24 hours to achieve optimum jamminess.
Step 8 – Prep Jam for Freezer
- Pour freezer jam into freezer-safe containers, leaving at least a quarter-inch headroom.
- Allow your strawberry freezer jam to to sit out for 24 hours to allow it to fully set up before putting it in the freezer.
P.S. You do not need to wait 24 hours to eat it – it’s ready right away!
That’s all there is to it. The whole process – start to finish – will take about 45 minutes. One batch makes about seven cups of Strawberry Freezer Jam.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
- Clean and hull the berries, and then squish them up, a cup or so at a time, with a potato masher.
- Measure out exactly 3 1/4 cups of mashed berries into a large bowl.
- Measure out exactly 4 1/2 cups of white sugar into a medium bowl, and set aside. Do not put the sugar into the berry mix yet.
- Stir 1/4 cup lemon juice into the mashed strawberries.
- Gradually sprinkle the pectin on top of the strawberry lemon juice mixture a little at a time, stirring to avoid any pectin lumps.
- Stir the strawberry and pectin mixture every five minutes or so, for 30 minutes total.
- After 30 minutes have passed, give the strawberry mixture one last stir.
- Slowly add sugar, stirring it in as you go, so that there are no sugar lumps in the mixture. Stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. (DO NOT stir constantly or you will have runny jam!)
- By the time the sugar has completely dissolved, the jam will have thickened a little. Jam will fully thickened after about 24 hours.
- Pour freezer jam into containers. Leave a quarter-inch or more of headroom in any sealed containers.
Do you love fresh strawberries?
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