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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Freezer Jam Fruit Buying Guide

This post was updated on 4/26/20 to include a visual freezer jam fruit buying guide, including information for Pomona’s Universal Pectin as well as Sure-Jell pectin. Original post was written 6/16/11.

My jam is all made and stored in the freezer, ready and waiting to make our year a happy jam year indeed! We ended up with 28 cups (14 containers) of raspberry freezer jam and 48 cups (24 containers) of strawberry freezer jam. I bought WAY more berries than I realized, but I must admit that I’m happy to have such a large supply!

Every year when I go to buy my berries and pectin, I end up standing in the store feeling frustrated. I can never figure out how many boxes of pectin I should buy for the amount of berries I have. Generally the containers the berries come in are measured in ounces, but the pectin recipe tells you how many pints of berries to buy. And it’s surprisingly annoying to figure out how those match up. AND…I’ve found that the amount of pints that the pectin box recipe suggests doesn’t necessarily yield the amount of crushed berries that they tell you it will.

SOOOOOOOO…this year I kept track! And I crushed so many berries that I feel like this is pretty fool proof. This post will be helpful if you plan to make strawberry or raspberry freezer jam. And it will be very helpful for me next year when I go to make more jam. I’ll actually have all the amounts written down. No more frustrating google searches on my iPhone and hasty calculations on the back of a receipt while my girls tear the store apart, only to end up being wrong! This post will forever keep me on track. Yippee!

Freezer Jam Fruit Buying Guide: Chart showing how much pectin, raspberries or strawberries and sugar to buy for making freezer jam with either Sure-Jell or Pomona's Universal pectins

Here is the above chart broken down into text form:

Sure-Jell Pectin Freezer Jam Buying Guide

  • 3 boxes Sure-Jell pectin for 64 ounces strawberries and 12 cups of sugar. Yield: 15 cups jam (64 ounces also labeld as 4 pounds crushes to 6 cups with a few berries left over)
  • 1 box Sure-Jell pectin for 24 ounces raspberries and 5 1/4 cups sugar. Yield: 7 cups jam

Pomona’s Universal Pectin Freezer Jam Buying Guide

There are approximately 9 teaspoons of pectin in one box, so you should be able to do two batches of jam with one box of Pomona’s pectin, based on the measurements below:

  • 4 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin for 44 ounces strawberries and 3/4 โ€“ 2 cups of sugar. Yield: 4-6 cups jam
  • 4 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin pectin for 32 ounces raspberries and 3/4 โ€“ 2 cups sugar. Yield: 7 cups jam

This year I used sixteen 6-ounce containers of raspberries (4 boxes of pectin and 21 cups of sugar) and three 64-ounce containers of strawberries (9 boxes of pectin and 36 cups of sugar) to end up with the amounts of jam I outlined in the first paragraph of this post.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are using SURE-JELL pectin, a couple years ago some of the boxes got bad directions. Click here to make sure that your directions in the box are the correct ones!

Someone asked in the last freezer jam post about the Ziploc containers I use. Growing up my grandma and mom used all kinds of containers – jars, random tupperware, even Ziploc bags! For freezer jam, as long as it’s clean and can close, you’re good to go! I personally use the small (2-cup) round Ziploc containers that have a screw-top lid. We always eat our jam within a year and we’ve never had ice crystals or freezer burn. Then I save the containers for next year – they stack nicely so they don’t take up too much space while waiting for the next batch of jam. (One quick tip – often there is a $1 coupon inside the Ziploc containers for the pectin I use. I never discover the coupons until the jam is already made and am kicking myself for not saving $13! Just keep that in mind if you buy these containers for jam.)

I hope all of this is helpful for at least some of you. Even if it isn’t, I have to admit it will be for me. I know, so selfish.


  1. 1

    Thank you for that. I made 11 12 oz. jars of strawberry preserves a couple of weeks ago and I bought DOUBLE the strawberries I needed! I don’t know what I was thinking. Fortunately there is no such thing as too many strawberries so I froze half of the leftover whole to do something with later, and I sliced the rest, tossed them with sugar and froze it after achieving syrup. Yum!

    • Jane Maynard

      I did the same thing…I thought I bought the right amount of pectin, but I had bought about half of what I needed…sounds like we were using the same conversion chart ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just bought more pectin and also did what you did – froze a few of the extra strawberries for smoothies!

  2. 2
    Alexis R

    Made strawberry and blueberry/ strawberry jam last week. I bought a big quart basket at the farmer’s market and now have 15 (8 oz) jars of jam. When I go blueberry picking, I will make some blueberry jam. I might even make some more strawberry jam, if the
    Farmer’s market has them.

    • Jane Maynard

      yea, more measurements! when you make blueberries, come comment again and let us know how many blueberries made how much jam! and I’ll cross my fingers your farmer’s market has more strawberries so you can make even more jam! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thank you for all that information! I’m just waiting for berry season to start out here in the NW – half the fun will be picking berries with the kiddos. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jane Maynard

      I will always remember my mom taking us to pick strawberries in New Jersey to make jam. Very fun!

  4. I love jam making but find that to make strawberry or raspberry jam you need to spend quite alot on fruit so I prefer to use fruits from the garden (or the wild) that grow in gluts such as apples, plums or bilberries (perhaps strawberries and raspberries are cheaper where you are?). They make for interesting jam although I have to admit that raspberry is still my favourite and a must for a Victoria sponge!

    • Jane Maynard

      I think I spent about $20 on all the strawberries and probably $30 on the raspberries…strawberries are DEFINITELY easy to come by in california, I think it definitely depends on where you live! I am all for finding what grows where you live and using that…

      although, I think no matter where I live, I’ll always have to splurge on a few raspberries for a bit of raspberry jam. it’s my favorite! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It helps to have a friend with a black raspberry bush. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Kerri

      See if you can find a “u pick” berry farm…they are usually significantly less expensive. I also wait for a sale at the store…this week they were 97 cents for six ounces…yes, I had to toss some but spent $12 for about 60 oz total ๐Ÿ™‚

    • great tip, kerri!

      I need to do a little searching where we live. there is a big strawberry upick field, but it’s a tourist trap (i.e. NOT cheap)….but I think if I get away from the beach I should be able to find some good spots. you’ve inspired me!

  5. But Jane, you don’t actually need to use pectin if you’re making strawberry and raspberry jam unless you’re cutting way way back on your sugar.

    • Jane Maynard

      but you know I’m addicted to freezer jam… is there pectin-less recipes for freezer jam? you are definitely the jam expert here, not me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 6

    You are using more than 1:1 ratio for the sugar to fruit so you really don’t need pectin. Pectin is only required if you were using 0.5:1 or even less sugar

    • Jane Maynard

      kristen is saying the same thing to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m just following the directions on the box and LOVE the way the jam tastes, but I think Kristen is actually going to come and make some jam with me sometime without the pectin, which will be fun to learn!

  7. 7

    you know i love this post.

  8. 8

    Hi Jane, I don’t know if you remember me but I was in your San Diego ward. I have read your blog for quite awhile now and love all the great ideas. We live in Long Beach, CA now and have a plum tree going crazy in our backyard. Any advice on plum jam/jelly?? Does any fruit work for freezer jam?

    • Jane Maynard

      hi kady! nice to “see” you! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think plum jam should work great! I can’t remember if it was listed in the fruits on the instructions for the pectin I bought, but I know you can do it. maybe try googling it if you don’t see instructions for it in the pectin box. but you should go to town making jam with all those plums…I’m sure it will be delicious!

  9. 9

    Your freezer jam posts were so informative and got me so excited to make freezer jam! My first attempt was a success. Thanks for the motivation and guidance! Now…can freezer jam be shipped as gifts like traditional homemade jam? Thanks!

    • Jane Maynard

      wonderful – so glad your first attempt was a success! ๐Ÿ™‚

      and, sadly, no shipping of freezer jam. it needs to be cold – either in the freezer or the fridge. if you can ship it on ice packs or something, then probably…but probably too hard to figure that out!

      my sister once rode the train from utah to san francisco to visit me – the train ride was someย ridiculousย length of time – my grandma sent her with a big thing of raspberry freezer jam just in a bag, and that survived…but it anne had it in her possession the whole time, so no unexpected temperature changes or anything like that.


  10. 10

    So Jane, we make (and consume) a lot of freezer jam around here. Love to go to the pick-your-own farms during strawberry, blueberry and raspberry seasons. I LOVE the jam we make, but it is the ball no-cook freezer jam pectin that I swear by. I promise, the jam is every bit as wonderful, but uses WAY less sugar. It’s always nice to cut back on sugar when you can. The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of sugar to 4 cups of fruit. I know you may be skeptical, but give it a try next time, seriously, it’s delicious! Plus, no stove necessary. You just crush the fruit and stir in the pectin + sugar.

  11. Made my first batch this week. And it was SOOOO good! (Didn’t make it to the u-pick, though, got my berries at the farmer’s market). Thanks for all the tips!!

  12. 12
    Lisa T

    I had great success with my freezer jam! I bought the reduced/no sugar pectin and so I only used 1 cup of sugar for every 3-4 cups of fruit. I thought it was perfect, but I’m used to buying low sugar Smuckers. Also, my fruit was perfect and sweet (strawberries).

    I made strawberry freezer jam with a little lemon juice and zest. AND I made Raspberry Nectarine. OMG.

    • Jane Maynard

      I’m so glad it was a success! thanks for reporting back on the reduced sugar pectin!

      and raspberry nectarine sounds like heaven to me…

  13. 13

    Thanks so much! We have a sweet strawberry sale going on in Boise, but I couldn’t figure out how much to buy to make a decent supply of freezer jam. What a great post!

    • Jane Maynard

      Glad this came in handy for you!

      I am in the same boat right now…I am sooooo glad I put this post up last year, buying berries will be so much easier this year!

  14. 14

    Just came home from pick your own with 8lbs. of strawberries here in Easton,Pa. I am off to the grocery store for my pectin. Thanks to you I know how much to get. Thank you!Will be freezing low sugar jam before supper.

  15. 15

    Thanks a bunch. Very helpful!

  16. I am doing this by weight using your calculations. if 4-6oz containers makes 3 cups crushed, then that means each container is 6 oz by volume crushed (the starting volume) (180mL=170g), which means 1 2/3 c/400mL (the amount called for on the on the pectin label) is 400g. I weighed my berries (they came in at over 170g, which is what the label said) and it means I’m using about 4.5 containers of raspberries for a double batch, or just over 2 containers for a single batch. That would be about 14 oz by volume whole berries. so, according to my scale, it takes slightly more than what you calculated but still pretty close.

    The gist of this if you have a scale:

    use 400g of berries per batch

    • Jane Maynard

      I love your comment and I love that you have a scale and I love that you shared the weight – SO helpful! thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. 17
    Cindy C

    Thank you! This was very helpful.

    I was standing in the grocery store just staring at berries yesterday for maybe 10 minutes trying to do calculations in my head. The employees probably thought I was crazy!

  18. 18

    Hi, this post is super helpful – I will be putting up jam for the first time this year and I was wondering: How long did your supply last an what size is your family. My goal is to have enough to last the year.

    Thank you for your helpfulness!!!

    • hi sonya!

      my supply last year didn’t last long enough – we ran out about 2 months ago, so this year I’m making even more!

      I feel like we go through a 2-cup container about every 1-2 weeks, and I feel like we are probably considered heavy jam users. ๐Ÿ˜‰ this year I’m going to make about 50 containers of jam (so 100 cups or so), planning for about 1 a week to last a year. I’d rather have too much than not enough – we were all heartbroken when the freezer jam was gone! ๐Ÿ™‚

      hope this is helpful!!!

  19. 19

    Enjoying reading all of the comments, just heard about freezer jam recently so looking thru the web for recipes, I found your blog with all your great tips and input from fellow jammers! My grandson and I will be making some this week!

  20. 20
    Bridget Core

    Making 100 4oz. Strawberry Jam for my Son’s Wedding Reception. I’m so excited and scared to death at the same time. Question, once I place jam in jars and tighten lids will they seal or pop like my Mom says they will? Wedding is May 21, so is it okay to leave in Freezer until then? Thank you!!

    • oh my goodness, bridget! somehow this comment got lost in the shuffle – I hope that the jam went well for the wedding, what a wonderful gift!

      To answer your question (now that it’s too late!)…for freezer jam the lids do not seal or pop. Which is why freezer jam needs to be refrigerated or frozen for storage.

      Again, my apologies for not responding – I most definitely would have and normally do – I don’t know how the comment got lost!

    • Ruth

      How many strawberries did it take to make 100 4oz jars of strawberry jam. Did you get berries by the quart. I need to make 100 jars and don’t know how many quarts of strawberries to purchase
      Thank You

    • Ruth, please see my response to you below! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. 21

    I have a friend that let me pick his raspberries because he can not eat the seeds. I would love to make him freezer jelly. Do you think if I use 6 oz of juice it would be the same as 6 oz crushed berries. Or should I use a little less. I am going to give it a try with the 6 oz of raspberry juice. I
    At worst I will have good syrup for homemade pancakes

    • hi sandie! I would definitely get the pectin sure jell – they have instructions for jellies inside, so you’ll totally be able to make it for him! it gives you all the right proportions, etc. sorry my response is late, somehow your comment got lost in my email! let me know if I didn’t answer the question. and if you tried it lmk how it went!

  22. 22

    Can I use Stevia to make diabetic-friendly freezer jam? If so how much should I use? Any tips for diabetics would be appreciated. Thank you.

  23. 23

    So this is a recipe for freezer jam. I have always done my raspberry preserves by the cooked method. Are these measurements the same for cooked? That seems like a whole lot of sugar and pectin. I have 16 6oz containers too and I want to have the exact measurement of sugar.

    • hi lisa! definitely don’t use the above measurements for cooked jam – freezer and cooked are different! I would recommend getting a box of pectin and checking the instructions in the box. good luck with your jam!

  24. 24

    Bridget Core said she made 100 4oz jars of strawberry jam – my question if how many quarts of strawberries did it take to make 100 4 oz jars.

    • Bridget made 50 cups of jam. In my post above I indicate that I made 48 cups of jam, so it’s about the same amount. It took three 64-ounce containers of strawberries, which is 12 pounds of strawberries, to make 48 cups of strawberry jam. I have no clue what that is in quarts, but you could probably google it to figure that out. Quite frankly if you’re making that much jam you’ll be buying such large quantities of berries you’ll be beyond measuring in quarts.

      hope that is helpful!

  25. 25

    I make this jam every year and find the weather plays a role in its success. If itโ€™s rainy and cloudy, the jam doesnโ€™t set and is more a sauce. I have tried to remedy it by going thru the process as directed on the package, but that is a waste of time. Anyone else have this issue?

  26. 26
    Julie Lang

    My batch of Cherry Freezer Jam sugared! It was not dissolved after Iโ€™d stirred it 3 minutes. Evidently, I should have kept stirring? Otherwise I followed last yearโ€™s directions exactly.

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