Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam With Less Sugar
When it’s hot and you’re too busy to can, quick and easy freezer jam is a great way to preserve some of the harvest. Strawberry rhubarb is one of my favorites and ’tis the season for this delicious combo. However, I wanted a reduced sugar recipe and had trouble finding one. So, of course, I decided to experiment.
So far we’ve polished off 4 batches of experimental strawberry rhubarb freezer jams. They all tasted good, but they either didn’t jell up nicely or have as much flavor as I wanted. Never fear, batches #5 and #6 are keepers! Keep reading for the recipes and a few notes.
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‘Strawberry’ Rhubarb Freezer Jam
So what do you do if you want strawberry rhubarb freezer jam, but you don’t have strawberries? I found myself in that exact situation, so I used strawberry flavored gelatin. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of artificial color and flavor, but I’m certainly not a purist. And the gelatin helps create a nice thick freezer jam. Here’s the recipe for batch #5…
- 5 cups cooked, unsweetened rhubarb sauce
- 3 small (3oz) boxes strawberry flavored gelatin
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 Tbs no sugar needed freezer pectin
Wash and chop rhubarb, cook in a saucepan with enough water to cover bottom of pan. Measure 5 cups of prepared sauce into a bowl while it is still hot (be careful!).
Add strawberry gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin. Slowly add to rhubarb sauce while stirring. Stir for 3 minutes.
Spoon into freezer containers and chill. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.
Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam – No Artificial Ingredients
Maybe you want to make some yummy jam without the artificial ingredients in the flavored gelatin. I understand completely! Although everyone in our family liked the recipe above, I did hear a comment that it tasted kind of like strawberry flavored koolaid.
So I set out on a mission to make a nice, thick, all natural version using real strawberries. The resulting jam is super delicious and easy to make. This version is hands down the favorite with the taste testers in our family! Here is the recipe for batch #6…
- 2 1/2 cups cooked, unsweetened rhubarb sauce
- 2 1/2 cups crushed strawberries
- 3 packets Knox unflavored gelatin
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 Tbs no sugar needed freezer pectin
Wash and chop rhubarb, cook in a saucepan with enough water to cover bottom of pan. Measure 2 1/2 cups of prepared sauce into a bowl while it is still hot (be careful!).
Sprinkle small amounts of unflavored gelatin on the sauce and stir in, then add more and stir until all of the gelatin has been dissolved into the rhubarb sauce.
Add crushed strawberries and combine.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin. Add to fruit mixture and stir for 3 minutes.
Spoon jam into freezer containers and chill. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in freezer for up to 1 year.
Both Recipes Are Super Easy & Delicious
I really like both recipes, for somewhat different reasons. The all natural recipe is my favorite for flavor, but the recipe made with strawberry flavored gelatin is great for those times when we don’t have strawberries to make jam.
Of course, plenty of people make ‘strawberry’ rhubarb jam with strawberry flavored gelatin…that’s not a new idea. I’ll be honest, I’ve never tried anyone else’s recipe, so I can’t compare them to mine. I thought that using 3 packages of gelatin seemed like a bit of overkill, but I also tried it with just one, and with two. The batch with one box of gelatin didn’t jell up very well and the batch with 2 boxes jelled ok, but didn’t have as much flavor as I wanted. Three packages made a nice thick jam with great flavor…even if it reminded someone of koolaid.
Now, you might be wondering why I used unflavored gelatin in the all natural recipe. One of my biggest beefs with freezer jam is that it is kind of soupy. It’s fine for flavoring my yogurt, spooning over pancakes, or eating from the container with a spoon. (Ummm, no, I would never do that!) But if I make a pbj or top my toast with soupy freezer jam, I’m not a happy camper. I don’t like soggy bread.
So when I made batch #5 with the strawberry gelatin and it came out really thick and not at all soupy, I was pretty excited. I wanted to recreate that with the all natural recipe, so I used unflavored gelatin in place of the strawberry gelatin. It came out really thick and set up so well that I plan to use this method with my freezer jam from now on!
Do you make freezer jam? Have you ever tried using gelatin to thicken it?
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Check out Walmart’s selection of jam and jelly making products…
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In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.