How to Make Jam and Jelly from Frozen Fruit
When you’re busy in the garden it’s great to have time-saving tricks and tips up your sleeve! One of my favorite shortcuts is to freeze the harvest and make jelly and jam from frozen fruit when I have more time. Believe me, this has saved me a lot of headaches during harvest season!
There’s never enough time to do everything in summer. Plus, hot days make the thought of stirring a boiling pot of jam and canning it almost unbearable.
You can make freezer jams with your fruit fresh, or you can peel, chop, and freeze it for later. This is a great time-saver. I do have some freezer jam recipes I like, but I also like having non-perishable jam and jelly for gift-giving.
Check out How to Make Peach Freezer Jam from Fresh or Frozen Peaches & Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam for some delicious freezer jam recipes!
So why not make jam during the fall or winter, when the weather has cooled down? Those frozen berries, peaches, and plums will make delicious jams and jellies and you don’t have to overheat the house in the process!
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Freezing Fruit for Later
When you are ready to freeze your summer fruits, follow these instructions to make your fall and winter jam sessions go more smoothly.
- Look at the recipe you plan to use for jam and check all of the ingredients and directions.
- Peel, pit, and chop the fruits as though you were getting ready to make jam right away.
- Peaches can be peeled quickly and easily by dipping in scalding water then ice water. The peels will slip right off.
- Strawberries should be crushed and larger fruits chopped before freezing.
- For jelly, you can crush the fruit then strain and measure the juice before you freeze it, or you can freeze the fruit whole and strain the juice after thawing.
- When your fruits are prepared, measure the proper amounts and freeze enough in one container to make a single batch of jam or jelly.
- Fruit that oxidizes, or turns brown, should be treated with lemon juice or citric acid to keep it looking fresh in the freezer.
- You may also add any juice called for in the recipe at this point too.
- Do not add sugar and pectin until you are ready to make jam.
- Label the containers with all of the ingredients and their measurements. Make a note about what recipe you intend to use.
- Use a vacuum sealer to prevent freezer burn if you will not be able to make the jam pretty quickly.
- You can also use freezer containers that are BPA free and pack the fruit in tightly, then add a bit of juice over the top of the fruit.
What If I have a Frozen Block of Fruit?
We don’t always have it together enough to freeze our fruit in perfect sized containers for making a batch of jam, do we?
I’m guilty of freezing solid chunks of unmeasured fruit, then wondering what to do with it.
Good news! You can thaw the entire block of frozen fruit in your pan, then measure out the amount needed for a batch. Just refrigerate the rest until you can make the next batch…but be sure to use it up quickly so it doesn’t turn brown and lose nutritional quality.
How to Make Jam or Jelly
When you’re ready to make jam or jelly, pull the fruit out of your freezer and thaw just enough to loosen the mixture from the container.
Place the fruit into your non-reactive pan and heat on medium-low until thawed. At this point, you will continue with the recipe instructions as usual.
Step by Step Instructions for Making Jam
- Fill your water bath canner with water deep enough to cover jars
- Bring to a boil and sterilize pint, half-pint, or 1/4 pint canning jars and screw bands and place on a clean dishtowel on your counter
- Place your measured fruit and/or juice into a non-reactive sauce pan
- Measure sugar and pectin according to the recipe and set aside
- Prepare canning lids according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Begin heating fruit on medium-high burner and stir constantly to prevent scorching
- When fruit comes to a full rolling boil, add pectin mixed with a small amount of the sugar and stir in
- Continue stirring fruit and bring it to a full rolling boil
- Boil for one minute, stirring constantly, then turn off heat
- Ladle jam into sterile jars, leaving the proper headspace according to the recipe (usually 1/4 inch)
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean, damp cloth
- Place canning lid on jar and tighten screw band finger tight
- Use a jar lifter to place filled jars in water bath canner, being careful not to tilt jar and get jam under the screw band
- Begin processing time after water returns to a full rolling boil
- Process jam in water bath canner for the proper time listed in your recipe
- Remove jars from boiling water with a jar lifter and place on a clean towel on your counter, leaving an inch or two between each jar
- Do not tighten screw bands or press down on lids
- Allow jam to cool completely before testing seal
- When jars of jam are cool, test to make sure that they sealed properly
- Remove screw bands and wash the bands and the jars thoroughly with soapy water to prevent mold from growing on any dripped jam
- Refrigerate and use any jam that did not seal properly
Use updated recipes for canning jams and jellies and follow the recipe if it is not in agreement with my instructions above!
Notes for Making Jam from Frozen Fruit
- Freezing fruit may reduce the jelling effect of the natural pectin. You may need to increase the amount of pectin added to the jam or jelly.
- You may experiment with different fruits and see if you need to add extra pectin, or you may add extra just to be sure your recipe jells properly.
- Test the jam or jelly to see if it will jell up properly by putting several metal spoons in your freezer before you begin a jam making session. After cooking jam and before canning it, put a small amount of the jam on one of the frozen spoons and wait a moment. If the jam or jelly ‘sheets’ and sticks to the spoon, it should jell up once cool.
- I recommend using the bulk pectin and adding 1 Tbsp extra pectin per 3 to 4 pints of jam.
- One 1.75 oz package of pectin contains 3 or 4 tablespoons, depending on the variety.
- Low or No-sugar needed pectins usually have 3 tablespoons of pectin in a 1.75 oz package.
- Regular pectin usually contains 4 tablespoons of pectin.
- Check the package for instructions. I use Ball Flex batch, no-sugar needed pectin, and have very good results.
- Here is a great resource for making jam.
Canning Tips for Making Jam
Be sure to have your water bath canner filled and boiling before you begin. Since jam and jelly needs a short processing time, it is recommended that you sterilize your jelly jars for 20 minutes before filling them with jam.
Most jam and jelly requires a processing time of 5 to 15 minutes for half-pint or pint containers, depending on your elevation.
For complete instructions for making jam and jelly, refer to the instructions included with your pectin, or visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website.
Jam from Frozen Fruit – Purchased Fruit
Not everyone has their own berry patch or orchard. It’s wonderful if you have a fruit stand nearby or your store carries locally raised fruit in season. You may preserve these wholesome foods by freezing, canning, or creating jam from it right away.
But if you don’t have a great deal of fresh fruit available in your area it doesn’t mean that you can’t put up some of your own jams and jellies!
Check the frozen section for strawberries, pie cherries, rhubarb, peaches, and other goodies. Buy them when there is a good sale and make some jam for gifts around the holidays. Remember to follow the same instructions listed above for thawing, measuring, and determining the amount of pectin needed.
You’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor, spread on your toast, as a topping for ice cream or pancakes, or in a batch of jam thumbprint cookies all year round!
Do you make jam and jelly from frozen fruits? What is your favorite homemade jam or jelly recipe?
Want More Jam & Jelly Recipes?
I’ve got you covered! You see, I have made countless batches of jam and jelly in my day and I like to share the recipes and instructions with my readers. I hope you get a chance to try a few of these delicious preserves!
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For more information on home canning, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation.