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Tuesday, June 16

The #1 Freezer Jam Tip You Need If You Plan to Use Sure-Jell Pectin

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I make freezer jam every year. It’s my favorite kind of jam. We never buy jam at the store. We’re completely spoiled and addicted to freezer jam and I blame my mom.

instructions for making raspberry and strawberry freezer jam from @janemaynard

ANYWAY…most years when I make my many batches of jam, I share a new tip or two on the blog. Far and away the most awesome freezer jam tip I gave was how many berries to buy for making strawberry or raspberry freezer jam. I don’t know what I would do without that post – I use it every year! If you want to read through the rest of the tips, click here – there is a lot of handy info in all those posts.

This year’s tip, however, is CRITICAL to success if you’ve ever tried to replicate what I do. Every year I say the following: “Just buy Sure-Jell pectin and follow the instructions for freezer jam. Works like a charm!” Well, DO NOT DO THAT. This year I cracked open my box of pectin and immediately noticed the directions were different. I did a lot of google searching and discovered that last year Kraft inexplicably changed the directions. They have since fixed the problem, but apparently there are still boxes out there with the wrong directions inside. If you follow the wrong directions (which tell you to mix the sugar with the pectin and water and then boil the three together), your jam will absolutely not turn out. So, I’m going to put the CORRECT directions here on the blog, mostly for my peace of mind. I really don’t want you buying bucket loads of berries only to have your jam bomb on account of me telling you to use the directions in the box. Argh!

Also, lest you think I am a domestic goddess (because I am not), my raspberry jam didn’t come out this year. It’s more like raspberry sauce than jam, but it still tastes like heaven, so whatever.

With that vote of confidence (I swear this recipe works 99.99999% of the time!), here are the instructions for raspberry and strawberry freezer jam!

Raspberry or Strawberry Freezer Jam
 
Instruction for using Sure-Jell pectin to make raspberry or strawberry freezer jam. If you want to make another kind of jam, the instructions on the inside of the box have a chart indicating the amount of berries and sugar needed. Be sure that you follow the directions below for making the jam, however, as Kraft misprinted the jam technique in 2014.
Author:
Ingredients
  • FOR STRAWBERRY JAM: 2 cups crushed strawberries + 4 cups sugar
  • FOR RASPBERRY JAM: 3 cups crushed raspberries + 5¼ cups sugar
  • FOR BOTH KINDS OF JAM: 1 box Sure-Jell Pectin
  • FOR BOTH KINDS OF JAM: ¾ cup cold water
Instructions
  1. Freezer jam can be stored in any airtight container. Make sure containers are clean and dry.
  2. Crush berries and, using a dry measuring cup, measure the exact amount of prepared fruit into a large bowl.
  3. Measure exact amount of sugar then add to the berries, stirring well. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once berries have been sitting for at least 5 minutes (to time everything properly), mix the pectin and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly. Once mixture is boiling, boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  5. Add to fruit-sugar mixture and stir constantly for 3 minutes, until sugar is dissolved (a few crystals may remain).
  6. Add to containers, leaving ½" space at the top for expansion when freezing. Cover with lids and let stand for 24 hours. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw frozen jam in refrigerator.

 

 


42 Comments »

  1. 1
    Patinnh

    Tell me what you use for containers and is that a re-used former store jam jar in your photo ? Do people have preferences for glass- plastic? I tried Ball green twist top freezer containers and did not like them.

    • so, my favorite (even though it’s plastic and I’m phasing plastic out everywhere else in our life!) is the 2-cup ziploc reusable containers. when they’re frozen you need to be careful not to drop it because it can crack the plastic, but for the most part they are less scary than having glass in the freezer and they stack better. I do keep my bonne maman jars and use those, too, because they stack better than mason jars and they’re SO CUTE. but I actually prefer plastic, even though I hate saying that! 🙂

  2. 2
    Christie

    I’m so glad you posted this! I have always followed the instructions for the freezer jam in the Sure Jell pectin box… Last year, I noticed that the instructions were different (why did they change them?!!), but I trusted the new instructions. I ended up throwing away all of my apricot jam because none of it turned out! Glad to know it has been fixed.. and that the recipe is here. Thanks 🙂

    • my mom and I were talking about how AWFUL it is that they messed up those instructions – all the people who spent so much money on jam and pectin having to just throw it all away. it makes me a little queasy, honestly! I’m sooooo happy I could help in a small way! 🙂

  3. 3
    Nikki CB

    Your freezer jam is so so good. All this talk is making we want to try making it! I have never tried any sorting of jam-making before. Sounds like I should be glad that I didn’t try for the first time last year! Thanks for all this great info.

  4. 4
    Nidheeshp

    The apricots look deilicous! I love making jam and rarely use pectin. I tried making jelly for the first time yesterday (red and black currant), using pectin and it has not set as thickly as I would like. I guess I have the opposite problem. Keep trying it will still taste better than store bought, even if it isn’t as thick as you would like!

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  6. 6
    Donna

    I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to see your post on freezer jam. About 13 years ago my mom and I made a large batch of strawberry freezer jam using the “no fail” directions in the box of sure-jell. Needless to say it didn’t set up. My mom tried again a few years later with the same results. After seeing all the pins on Pinterest and how easy everyone claimed it was I decided to try one more time. I had some sure-jell hiding in my cabinet that had not expired so off to the store to buy the berries and containers. I bought the ziploc containers (before I read your post lol) and started my research… I found your recipe and so far so good!!! Can’t wait to make a pan of biscuits to try my jam!

    • great minds think alike – those ziploc containers are so good for this project! 🙂

      I am SO happy that this helped and your jam came out. yippee!

    • Daleanna

      3 pints. Not 3cups raspberries to 5 1/2 cup sugar. Please make a note of this.
      The recipe up top says 3cups!

    • Hello Deleanna!

      The recipe is written correctly – it is 3 cups CRUSHED berries, which is correct with 5 1/4 cup jam (I just made it yesterday in fact!). the key word is crushed!

      also the article I link to early in the post for the amount of berries is helpful for figuring out how many raspberries you need to get the 3 cups crushed. http://thisweekfordinner.com/tag/freezer-jam/

      thank you! 🙂

  7. 7
    Mrsj

    Soooo mad about sure jell. They posted a so called fix. It didn’t work!

    • I STILL can’t believe they messed up the instructions – it is infuriating! I keep thinking about all that wasted fruit out there from people following the botched directions. CRAZYTOWN. be sure to follow the directions I list above!

  8. 8
    Teresa

    So I just picked 20 cups of fresh whole raspberries how do I know how much that will be crushed? Can u please help me? Thank you this is first time I have ever made freezer jam

  9. 9
    Ginny

    I can’t eat seeds, so am looking for a recipe for blackberry jelly made for the freezer? Anyone know the proportions of juice to sugar?
    Ginny

    • Hi Ginny – when you buy the pectin, there will be charts inside for the amount of fruit/juice you need for jam or jelly. just follow those amounts in the package! (they have jelly and jam instructions)

  10. 10
    KIF

    How depressing… I just made freezer jam for the first time tonight using all the berries I picked from our wild vines this year. No money was wasted, but thinking of all of the time and sweat I poured into this, the poison ivy and mosquito bites I acquired, and the pride I felt having picked each and every berry that went into it is making me very sad. I guess I have to wait an entire year to do it again! Is there anything I can do to fix what I made tonight? If not, can I still eat it…er…I mean DRINK it? Haha!

    • Kris

      If it’s too thin for jam, use it on ice cream or pancakes.

    • KIF – I’m depressed for you and my stomach feels sick thinking about your beautiful berries!

      There are instructions in the pectin box for “fixing” the batch, but I tried that once with a failed batch and it didn’t do anything.

      BUT…Kris is on to something! I’ve only had two batches over these many years not set, and both of them I was like, “what are we going to do with this?!” and then we ended up eating all of it! we used it on toast and on pancakes/waffles/french toast. Also yummy on yogurt and maybe even ice cream! 🙂

  11. 11
    a10

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  13. 13
    roblox

    hanks for sharing. I have really liked your writeup.

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  18. 19
    Robin

    I have always just followed the box directions. So glad I didn’t this year. My question to you is. I am trying to make the low sugar freezer jam. Is it correct on the box? If not how do I adjust from the sugar amount you have listed. Many thanks!

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  23. 24
    Sandy

    I have made freezer jelly for years and last year I followed the directions and my jelly did not set. I just made some the other day and when trying to find the directions on the paper I couldn’t seem to find the one my Mom and I always used. It was very simple but I never remember the exact amount of sugar and berries. We always just used crushed berries and sugar and then let that come to full rolling boil then put the Certo in and wait for it to come to full rolling boil and time for 1min then pour in the jars. It doesn’t work. I used 5 cups of crushed strawberries and 7 cups of sugar. Help!!

    • Hi Sandy!

      A few questions for you:
      – Just to confirm, you used the correct directions for making the jam, not the mis-printed directions that show up in some boxes, right?
      – For freezer jam, I do not cook the berries or sugar – the only thing that is cooked is the pectin in the water. (See the directions above.) Was your process different than that? It sounds like it was…
      – As per the instructions above, for strawberry jam you need 2:1 sugar:berries, so for 5 cups of strawberries you need 10 cups of sugar, with the original sugar recipe pectin. I made raspberry this weekend and had accidentally doubled the amount of berries – the jam would not set, even after adding more pectin. When we finally figured out what was wrong, I knew I had the correct amount of pectin (because I had doubled the pectin when doing the “save” and adding more), so I added the missing sugar and the jam started to gel almost immediately. If you don’t have enough sugar then the pectin will not activate. Based on you saying 5 cups of crushed strawberries and 7 cups of sugar, I think for sure you don’t have enough sugar in there. I think the first thing you should try would be to simply add 3 more cups of sugar and stir and stir and stir – you want most or all of the sugar crystals to be dissolved. If lack of sugar is the problem, the jam should start to set once that additional sugar is added.

      The directions and proportions that I have listed in this blog post work – since you can’t find your old recipe, I would follow that in the future! 🙂 Make sure you are using original pectin that uses sugar in the recipe, that’s what theses directions are for. One box of sure-jell pectin is equal to 6 tablespoons of powdered pectin in a container (in case you buy it that way instead).

      Hope this is helpful and feel free to reply with answers to my questions above or send more questions 🙂

    • Sandy

      Well the directions in the past was always to put the berries and sugar in and a tbs of butter. Wait for it to come to a complete boil and then add the certo. Wait until it comes to rolling boil and time 1 min. Pour in jars and wait for it to cool down then freeze it.
      I talked to my aunt and that is what she said too. Those directions are not think the box anymore.

    • Hi Sandy!

      So, I am definitely unfamiliar with that particular recipe and the pectin that I use (and that my mom always used) always has the directions I have in this blog post for freezer jam. Such a bummer those directions have disappeared on you! What a drag!

      If you are looking for a new way to do freezer jam, this recipe in this blog post makes delicious, fresh-tasting jam and it’s probably easier than the older recipe you and your aunt have always used. I know it’s a bummer to leave behind something you always loved, though!

      Hope this has been even a little bit helpful! 🙂

  24. 25
    Patti

    My jam this year did not turn out clear but has a milky look to it do you know why???

  25. 26
    Helen Gengler

    I just made the strawberry freezer jam today and followed the directions. My jam is way to sweet; it is gritty with sugar. I did double the recipe; maybe that is my problem. Can I unjar it, heat it to melt the sugar and add more berries to unsweeten it a bit?

    • Hi Helen!

      First off, I just want to confirm that you are making freezer jam. If it’s cooked jam, I don’t know anything about that as I’ve only ever done freezer! 🙂

      Generally the sugar should be all or mostly dissolved by the end of the stirring phase, but sometimes there will still be crystals – which should work themselves out in that 24 hour rest period before you put the jam in the fridge or freezer. If, at the end of that rest period it is still gritty, I don’t know what to say! The problem is that the ratio of sugar to berries is very important to the pectin and the gelling process. I think adding more berries quite frankly will mess up the gel. So, basically I don’t have a fix! So sorry!

      Sure-Jell also makes a pectin for a lower-sugar recipe, so maybe next time try using that pectin.

      I feel like I’m not being super helpful! ugh!

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