Raspberry freezer jam–Ball pectin method

The raspberries in the Damsel’s garden are going gangbusters, and she’s in heaven. Her arms are scratched but it’s oh so worth it. Raspberries—yum.

Freezer jam is nice because it preserves more of the natural, fresh flavor of the fruit you’re using. Plus, it’s great that you don’t have to cook it, and when it’s 100 degrees outside, the less heat the better. We’ll do other types later.

The Damsel has made a lot of freezer jam in her life, and sometimes it has not “set up”. . . in other words, it doesn’t get as thick as she’d like. Runny jam can be used on pancakes and such, but it’s annoying to have it not turn out. She’s tried several brands of pectin, which is the thickening agent used in most jams. She’s discovered that the recipes must be followed scrupulously, but sometimes the jam’s runny no matter how perfectly it’s done. Maybe the full moon affects it.

She also cringes at the amount of sugar most recipes call for. . .many even call for more sugar than fruit. Yuck!  Her experiments with low sugar recipes have been hit and miss, and then will sometimes spoil in the refrigerator, since the high sugar content is a preservative.

So, when she saw a new Ball brand pectin at the store, she decided to try it, so she can say she’s tried it all. It caught her eye because it uses a lower percentage of sugar, and also doesn’t call for corn syrup like many recipes do. The Damsel doesn’t have anything personal against corn syrup, but white sugar is cheaper and easier to measure, so, yeah.

Pick a mess of raspberries. Or buy them if you must. You’ll need around 6 cups. Wash them gently in a colander. The Damsel apologizes for the freakish look of this stream of water running into her berries, but there you have it.

Pour the pectin into a mixing bowl. Just so you know, these directions are strictly for the Ball type pectin, and won’t work with any other pectins.

Add one and a half cups of plain white wicked sugar. Stir these together until well mixed.

Put the drained berries into another mixing bowl and lightly mash. Raspberries are fragile—you don’t need to heave-ho. In the Damsel’s humble opinion, jam should have chunks of fruit and not be totally smooth. This is her wish.

Measure out four cups (one quart) and add to the bowl of sugar/pectin. Admire the jewel-tone red goodness, and dream of the jam that is to come.

Stir for three minutes. The mixture will become more runny as you stir, and you will think three minutes is a very long time. Persevere, dear students, until the bitter end. Now just let it sit for 30 minutes to thicken.

Sit back in amazement that you have just made freezer jam. Yes. That is all there is to it, except for putting it into something, including your mouth.

You can use freezer containers, or pretty much anything that can be frozen. The Damsel uses pint jars because she has many, many of them. You could use store-bought jam jars, pickle jars, salsa jars, whatever. People say you should be careful about doing that because jars can break in the freezer. The Damsel admits this is possible, but it has never happened to her. Other bad things have happened in her freezer, but not broken jam jars. She’d rather not talk about it any further.

You’ll end up with about 5 cups of jam. (Review lesson: 1 pint=2 cups) The black spot in the half-full jar is not a housefly, so don’t worry. A blackberry jumped in and made itself at home, and the Damsel said well, okay. By the way, you store this in the FREEZER. Except for the currently-being-used jar, which is in the refrigerator. But not for long.


Yeah, baby.

22 thoughts on “Raspberry freezer jam–Ball pectin method

  1. I’ve never made freezer jam. I have, however, been utterly obsessed with making regular jam this year. I’ve made 9 or 10 batches in the last few months. Lots of strawberry, raspberry, triple berry, and apricot. Mmmm. Sometimes in moments of clarity I ask myself just how many jars of fruit preserves does one household really need? Apparently in our case, it’s an entire cupboard full.

  2. No cooking? No boiling water and sterile vacuum seals?
    NOW you are talking my language. Now, if I could only grow raspberries………………but, I can buy them.

    We get wild dewberries (type of blackberry) in this area.

    • I know, ain’t it great?
      What do dewberries taste like? If they taste like blackberries, you could use this recipe.

  3. I found an even better way. Use Clear Jel..or I found an off brand at the Ace by my house (it has a kitchen store in it…though Greggory’s might have it too) called Ultra Jel. It was AMAZING with my strawberries. I actually over-did it a little and it’s super thick, but I like it that way! I just finished off a container or I’d take a picture and show you.

    It was so easy too! 4 cups of fruit, 2 cups of sugar, 2 T of lemon juice. Stir until mixed. Add 1/2 c. (though I did more like 3/4) of the Ultra Jel and let sit 5 min to thicken. Stir until clear (well, the sugar is all the way dissolved…ya know.)

    No more soaking into my toast!!!!

    • Cool! Thanks for posting that. I was planning to do a clear jel version later, but wanted to do a pectin one first since clear jel is hard to find outside of Utah. Yum!

  4. I hear pectic has gotten freakin’ expensive?? My friend in NJ made 6 pints of strawberry jam–she had to buy the berries, et al, total cost was about $80

  5. Pectin has always been expensive in my opinion, but it’s about the same as last year, I think. Seems like the little MCP boxes are around $3. This pouch of Ball was $1.50 so I was happy when it turned out.

    I’m checking into a source of bulk pectin which has got to be cheaper than all that packaging. Plus, I’m going to do a post on using clear jel which ought to be cheaper yet. $80! Yikes!

  6. I like the low sugar aspect of the freezer jam! One reason jam/jelly is runny is because the fruit is a ‘low-pectin’ fruit – apples, raspberries, blackberries have pectin in them, but peaches, apricots are more likely to be runny because they don’t have enough pectin in the fruit itself. Sometimes w/ regular jam, I boil it a minute longer or add a bit of apple juice to peaches/apricots so it will ‘set up’ better.

    • I never knew which fruits had more natural pectin. It all makes so much more sense now! 😀 So adding apple juice is enough to bump up the pectin a bit? Great hack.

  7. I made this freezer jam as instructed, I love the low sugar, but I felt like the jam was not very sweet. It must be my berries. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Joyce!
      You may have some super tart raspberries. You can certainly add more sugar until it suits you. To do so, sprinkle it, a tablespoon at a time, and stir well after each addition, until it is to your taste. Alternately, you could add corn syrup, which is very sweet and thick. Also, I’ve been hearing great things about agave syrup. I haven’t tried it, but I hear it tastes wonderful and is much less carbohydratey than sugar. Is that a word?

  8. Did you have any luck with your bulk pectin search? I love the instant pectin, even though it sets up a bit softer. But skipping the boiling step keeps it raw, and simplifies my life. What I’d love to find is a cheaper way to get instant pectin.

  9. I do the freeze jam, was going to do about 10 batches one day and thought my arm would proabably fall off, so i go out my trusty mixer and used the bread mixers, turned on low and set the timer for 8 minutes and it was perfect, while it was doing its thing I was able to get more strawberries cleaned and ready for another batch, I use the clear jel A for canned pie filling, its the most wonderful tasting apple or what ever filling, the do the clear jel in instand also, and you can find in health food stores,

  10. Pingback: Summer Fun; Cooking and Crafting | knitcircus

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