How to Make Jam from Frozen Fruit

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How to make jam from frozen fruit

For more home preservation instructions, check out my posts Cranberry Orange Marmalade and How to Store Your Home Canned Foods.

 

Making Jam and Jelly from Frozen Fruit

During the dog days of summer it can be difficult to preserve all of our fruits and vegetables. Hot days make the thought of stirring a boiling pot of jam and canning it almost unbearable. You can make freezer jams, use the fruit fresh, or you can peel, chop, and freeze it for winter use.

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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!

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 will be using 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 to keep it looking fresh and lovely while it waits in the freezer. In fact, you can 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. 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.

frozen raspberries

But What If I have a Frozen Block of Fruit?

We don’t always have it together enough to freeze our fruit in perfect size 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 loose nutritional quality.


rhubarb jam

Making the Jam

When you’re ready to process, 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.

Note: 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. 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 tablespoons).

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 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. You can find the link under my Resources page.


Do you make jam and jelly from frozen fruits? What is your favorite home made jam or jelly recipe?


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36 comments on “How to Make Jam from Frozen Fruit

  1. Elizabeth

    I have access to a ton of rhubarb. Does that work from frozen? What’s the best way to freeze it? Does it have a lot of natural pectin or should I add? As you can see, I’ve never made jam/preserves from frozen and I’ve also never used rhubarb at all. I was thinking I’d use brown sugar (because it sounds good and I have half a 5 gallon bucket of it) plus ginger and wondered what you and your readers thought of that combo?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn

      Hi Elizabeth

      You can freeze rhubarb quite easily. I just clean and chop it up, put it in a freezer bag and freeze. Use up in 3 or 4 months.

      You can blanch it quickly to keep it in the freezer longer, up to a year…
      Prepare rhubarb
      Bring water to boil
      Carefully spoon rhubarb into boiling water
      Blanch for 3 minutes
      Scoop out with a sieve
      Place in shallow pan and chill
      Bag and freeze

      Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the rhubarb 🙂

      Reply
  2. Lisa

    We have wild thimbleberries growing all over our property. It takes time to pick them, I typically pick 1-4 cups at a time and throw them into the freezer. I keep adding to my stash of frozen berries until the end of the season. Then I thaw, measure, and make the jam all at once. It turns out great each time. It’s so much easier than canning tiny batches every few days.

    This year I’m going to make strawberry rhubarb jam from frozen fruit, too. I had frozen it with the intention of making pies but I’m thinking the jam will be wonderful on chilly winter mornings.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn

      That’s wonderful, Lisa! Your strawberry rhubarb jam will taste great in winter 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      1. Maureen Cosentino

        I have frozen rhubarb and strawberries. The jelly recipe doesn’t call for liquid as the strawberries (chopped) and strawberries just go in a pan. Recipe says to crush one layer at a time. Then squeeze out juice in jelly bag before adding sugar and butter. Then it gets boiled, etc. It is delicious (United States Department of Agriculture Extension Service) but takes forever to jell. Often wonder if it is because the fruits are frozen. I do defrost them before the above.

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn

          Hi Maureen,
          You might want to try cooking the rhubarb and strawberries first to extract more juice…I haven’t tried this, but it may help. Also, I have started increasing the pectin amount in my batches of jam and jelly made with frozen fruit…freezing can decrease the pectin, I have read. I hope that this is helpful. Best wishes!

    1. Lisa Lynn

      Hi Julie,
      I haven’t made jam with frozen damson plums, so I am not 100% sure. However, what I have found is that I can use the frozen fruit and use the same recipe as fresh. The frozen fruit doesn’t contain any more liquid than it did when it was frozen, so the recipe should come out the same.

      I would try one batch and see how it sets before proceeding with future batches. Let me know how it comes out.
      Lisa Lynn

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn

        PS: The following comment is from someone who used frozen plums and found that they didn’t set as well. So you might want to reduce or eliminate the water.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          Thank you Lisa Lyn I will try this, did think of not adding any further liquid on the first batch,

      2. Anonymous

        Thank you Lyn
        I’ve made a batch yesterday, doesn’t look like it’s set very well,
        I did have visitors and over boiled it, can this have effect of the setting?
        Having another go today as have 6kg of frozen damsons to get rid of before this years crop!

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn

          Usually over cooking jam will cause it to get gooey or have a scorched flavor. Undercooking is more likely to cause a thin or syrupy jam. If your pectin is old, it may not set as well. Also, some fruit doesn’t have as much natural pectin and may need extra pectin to set well.
          I hope this helps!

  3. Helen Bookman

    I’ve found that making jam from frozen plums, it doesn’t gel as much as jam from fresh plums. Is there anything to do about this? Somebody said something about adding apples but I can’t find anything about it.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn

      Hi Helen,
      I haven’t tried adding apples to increase the pectin levels. The pectin is concentrated in the skin and around the core of the apple…so you could cook those parts in a small amount of water and try using that in place of some of the plum juice. You could also add an extra teaspoon or two of powdered pectin to each batch of jam. I usually buy pectin in a larger container instead of the boxes now and it makes it easier to add a bit extra.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  4. Heidi

    Please help me! I did freeze my organic fresh amazing peaches from my tree. Some just under ripe and some just ripe. Well do you think I measured them in the right amounts for jam batches? Nope. They are random weights of zip lock bags. So if my recipe calls for a certain amount of cups of chiles peaches, how can I measure that if they are frozen. You can’t squish them down into the measuring cup when they are hard. So that’s question one on how I can get a good measurement. Question two is, once you tell me the answer to number one, will the amount of fluid left in the pan from thawing need to stay in the pot as part of the recipe or do you have to drain it off?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Heidi,
      Just thaw your peaches to measure them. Use the juice too. You might want to shake the peaches up with some lemon juice to help maintain the color. Best wishes!

      Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Bev,
      I can’t find the amount of sugar that you are refering to. Could you tell me where you read that so I can answer? Thanks!

      PS: I use a no sugar needed pectic so that I can use the amount of sugar I want. I do add sugar because it brings out the natural flavor in the fruit. But I use less than half the amount of a regular jam. But you don’t have to use any if you don’t want to.

      Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Oh, ok…now I understand…thanks for clarifying, Bev. Yes, 4 1/2 cups does sound like a lot of sugar for one batch of jam, until you read the directions for regular blueberry jam calling for 7 cups! I would have to go back and check the directions to see if I was using a low sugar or a no sugar pectin.If it was low sugar, then I followed the directions on the package because you still need a certain amount of sugar to make the jam jell properly. If I used no sugar pectin then I was making it according to personal taste. I’m in the middle of canning spaghetti sauce right not or I would go check that out. 🙂

  5. Janann seiler

    Just purchased 1/2 bushel peaches with the idea of freezing them to make raspberry and peach jam later this winter. Sure-Jel raspberry freeze I have made for years..but tried their raspberry and peach freezer jam recipe last month. Very good. Now I want to freeze peaches to make more this winter. I think it calls for 2 cups chopped peaches added to raspberries in the recipe…so do I freeze the peaches whole, peeling ,dice and measure later or do I peel,dice,measure the exact amount to freeze for later..Sure-Jel is kind of picky to work with and I don’t want a brown runny mess on my hands.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Janann,
      I think the best way to do this would be to peel, chop, toss with a little lemon juice, measure and freeze the peaches with a lable that reminds you they are for the freezer jam. I hope this works for you!

      Reply
  6. D.Fawcett

    When making gooseberry jam from frozen berries do you use less sugar than for the recipe for fresh gooseberries?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi D.Fawcett,
      If your recipe calls for crushing the gooseberries before measuring, then the amount of sugar should stay the same. If you use a ‘no sugar needed’ pectin, you may reduce the sugar and it should still set up. But if you are using a regular pectin, it is better to keep the sugar the same.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Margo,
      Yes, you can use the whole nectarines to make jam. Let them thaw enough to cut up and remove the pits, then proceed from there. Best wishes!

      Reply
  7. D. Lynn

    Thanks for your great information first of all, I was just wondering if I purchase peaches picked then sliced and frozen immediately with skins on do I use same method to peel or just peel after I take them out and they thaw just enough to take skins of and then follow your instructions from there?
    Thanks again.
    D. Lynn

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi D. Lynn,
      It might be easiest to thaw and remove the skins and go from there. I have also made peach jam with the skins left on and it was good. But some people may prefer to remove them.

      Best wishes!

      Reply
  8. Marny Douglas

    Does this also apply to black bing cherries? I have 6 qu. to do that are now frozen. Thankyou in advance. Marny

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Marny,
      Although I haven’t tried making jam with frozen cherries, I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. If you try it, please let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  9. Lynn

    Awe your post is beautiful. There really isn’t much that is as pretty as home jellies in a jar. A great post! Thanks so much for sharing it on the Good Neighbor Hop.

    Reply
  10. Joy @ Yesterfood

    What a great idea- I would never have thought of freezing the fruit first, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks for one of the best ideas I’ve read lately!

    Visiting from the Good Neighbor Blog Hop,

    Love, Joy

    Reply

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