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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Pomona’s Pectin Freezer Jam, My New Favorite

I have been writing about freezer jam for years. My mom always made it and I have continued the tradition as an adult. I love freezer jam – you don’t have to cook the jam, you can store it in any container you have handy and just pop it in the freezer, and it’s the best tasting jam around (in my humble opinion, at least!). I have a major update to share regarding my annual freezer jam process. I’ve always used Sure-Jell pectin because that’s what my mom always used and it’s what I could find in any standard grocery store. This year, however, I ended up trying Pomona’s Universal Pectin and I am in love!

Boxes of Pomona's Universal Pectin in front of a jar of jam

Since I have been limiting myself to just one grocery store per week (thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown), Pomona’s was my only option because that was what was available. I was a little nervous about switching it up, but I will for sure use Pomona’s Pectin over Sure-Jell going forward, pandemic lockdown or not!


While I love the freezer jam I have always made with Sure-Jell, there have been a few drawbacks over the years.

  1. Potential of jam not jelling: Sometimes the jam simply doesn’t jell. You’ll follow all the directions precisely and for whatever reason the jam just never jells. So, every batch was stressful. And when it didn’t jell, it was just such a waste of time and fruit. I know for a fact I’m not the only one this happens to, based on years of comments here on the blog.
  2. Recipe misprint: One year Sure-Jell misprinted the freezer jam recipe in the pectin boxes. It is amazing how many years those bad recipes keep turning up for people, ruining batch after batch of jam.
  3. Sugar Content. The classic Sure-Jell freezer jam recipe uses SO MUCH SUGAR. I know, I know, Sure-Jell has a low-sugar pectin option and I’ll admit I never tried it. I’m sure it’s great. But I love the original so much, but it is a heck of a lot of sugar.
  4. Different Recipes for Different Fruits: The recipes for different types of fruit are all different, so you have to be super careful when reading the recipe to prepare your jam or it won’t jell.
  5. Finicky Recipe: The directions are very finicky in general – you have to follow them precisely or else, well, see #1 and #4 for why this is frustrating!  

Spoonful of raspberry freezer jam made with Pomona's Universal Pectin


Enter Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The texture of the jam is a little different from Sure-Jell’s, but it is equally as delicious. I will now address each of the issues listed above as applied to Pomona’s:

  1. Happy Jelling! This pectin is super reliable. I have made many batches now and every time the jam starts jelling instantly. It’s magic. And completely un-stressful.
  2. No misprinted recipe legacy. Pomona’s, however, does not include the freezer jam recipe in the box. You can find it on their website, but it’s kind of buried. So, I will share the recipe below (and re-write it with my notes). 
  3. Sugar Content: Pomona’s freezer jam recipe uses WAY LESS SUGAR and is still delicious. And the jam jells no problem and isn’t so dependent on sugar content. Also, the recipe gives you a range of the amount of sugar to use, so you can adjust to your taste.
  4. The recipe for different types of fruit are all the same. Four cups of prepared fruit per 4 teaspoons of pectin! (Note, there are approximately 9 teaspoons of pectin in 1 box, so don’t dump the whole thing for one batch…make sure you measure.)
  5. Simple Recipe: The directions are simper and seem no fail to me. I would be stunned if this recipe didn’t jell. It’s worked like a charm every time for me!

So, there you have it. I’m a Pomona’s convert! 

Looking down into a jar of raspberry freezer jam made with Pomona's Universal Pectin


  • Click here for my Freezer Jam Fruit Buying Guide. This guide will tell you how many ounces of fruit to buy for different amounts of pectin and sugar. I included measurements for both Sure-Jell and Pomona’s Universal pectins. This guide is a lifesaver for me year after year and I updated it with a nice graphic this year! Note: the guide is only for strawberries and raspberries.
  • Click here for the Sure-Jell raspberry and strawberry freezer jam recipe. Sure-Jell is delicious and some of you may still want to go that route. 
  • Lastly, the Pomona’s Universal Pectin freezer jam recipe! This recipe can be used for many types of fruits, listed below! 

Boxes of Pomona's Universal Pectin in front of a jar of raspberry freezer jam

Freezer Jam with Pomona's Universal Pectin
This recipe is for raw freezer jam using Pomona's Universal Pectin. "Raw" simply means you do not cook the jam. The jam can be stored in any air-tight container, in the fridge for 1 week and up to 1 year in the freezer. (Note: I'm certain we've kept it in the fridge longer than 1 week without it going bad, but do what you feel safe with!) Recipe suitable for the following fruits: Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Sour Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Pear, Kiwi, Blackberry, Plum, Peach, Apricot, Nectarine This recipe is from Pomona's Pectin website, but I have re-written it for ease and specifically for raw freezer jam, and have added notes as well.
Serves: 4-6 cups
  • 4 cups mashed fruit (see step 3 below for preparation details)
  • ½ cup to 1 cup honey OR ¾ to 2 cups sugar (I use sugar)
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 3 teaspoons pectin (or 4 teaspoons pectin if using peaches, apricots or nectarines)
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water (plus more if needed, see step 1 below for how to prepare)
  1. Prepare calcium water: Combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (included in the box) with ½ cup water in a small clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Set aside. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use if needed.
  2. Wash and rinse freezer containers. Set aside.
  3. If using Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Sour Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Pear, Kiwi, Blackberry, Plum: Remove hulls/stems/pits/skins as applicable, mash or grind, then measure to 4 cups. Make sure fruit is at room temperature when making the jam. If using Peach, Apricot or Nectarine: Pit/Chop/Mash OR peel/pit/mash fruit - bring to boil in a pan, boil for 2 minutes while stirring then let cool in a bowl, then measure to four cups.
  4. Measure fruit into large bowl. Add chosen sweetener (honey or sugar) to fruit and mix well.
  5. Bring ¾ cup water to a boil. Carefully pour into a food processor or blender. Add 3 teaspoons pectin (note: for peach, apricot, nectarine add 4 teaspoons pectin). Vent lid and blend 1-2 minutes, until all powder is dissolved. (Jane note: I brought the water to a boil, then removed the pan from the heat, added the pectin, and whisked vigorously for 2 minutes and this worked, too.)
  6. Add hot liquid pectin to fruit mixture and stir to mix well.
  7. Add 4 teaspoons calcium water from jar, mix well into fruit mixture. Jell should appear at this point. If not, stir in 1 teaspoon calcium water at a time until jam is jelled.
  8. Fill containers, leaving ½" space at top of container. Store in freezer immediately for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after thawing.



  1. 1
    Greg H.

    Lots of things we still need to cook from the CSA box of produce
    Sun: eggplant parm, gnocchi with pesto cream sauce
    Mon: ground beef kaftah kabobs in pita and tzatziki sauce
    Tues: acorn squash stuffed with brown rice, spinach and ricotta; Jacques Pepin’s broiled ham
    Wed: Ratatouille
    Thurs: leftovers
    Fri: eat out
    Sat: leftovers

    I haven’t made jelly in years — with so much time and berries, maybe it’s time!

  2. 2

    I will try the Pomona’s pectin for sure- I was burned by the sure gel misprint years ago.. and currently have a freezer full of really runny peach jam from last season..thanks for the tip!

    • that darn sure-jell misprint! can you imagine how much wasted fruit there was as a result of that. goodness!!!

    • Pamela

      In the past when my freezer jam doesn’t set, I called it syrup. Now we prefer blackberry syrup to blackberry freezer jam. Over homemade crepes and with whipped cream, of course!

  3. 3
    Lindsay R

    I recently started using this too, after many years of sure-jell. I, too, am converted. One thing I’ve had to adjust is the size of jars I use. Since I use less sugar now, it goes bad more quickly in the fridge. I can’t put my jam in 2 cup jars anymore. I have to use only small jars, which is fine. PS—Hi Jane! It’s been a while 🙂

    • I wish my kids would go through jam more slowly…the 2 cup containers still work fine, they use so much jam! ugh. but good point, I am SO glad you commented, this is so good to kno!

      also, so happy to know you switched, too. that validates pomona even more! 🙂

  4. 4

    I have just been through this process today, albeit, mine was completely different. I was using a Monkfruit/Erythritol sweetener I buy at Costco instead of sugar as I’m on Keto. The only place I could find this pectin was at Whole Foods. I was extremely disappointed that with all those confusing, so-called instructions, there was NOTHING about freezer jam, as it mentions on the box. So I went to the website, and it said in the FAQ’s to move down for freezer jam recipe and there was nothing but wording saying to look at the recipe that came in the box. I had my daughter read over it because with all that writing, I thought I could be missing something. UGH! I was used to the regular pectin, so I just put the calcium water and the correct amount of pectin in and stirred it up and jarred it. Stuck it in the frig and it didn’t set. I tested a bit by heating it on the stove and it thickened. So I dumped all the jars into a pot and heated it a bit. And it has thickened. But overall, I feel so dissatisfied that I did not end up with the freezer jam I love. Lightly cooked freezer jam….oh well. I’ve learned. And it’s better than no jam at all. Thanks for this recipe. I’ll use it when blueberries are in! God bless.

    • I am SO HAPPY that I found the freezer jam recipe and you found it here! I agree, it is so frustrating trying to find pomona’s freezer jam recipe, every time I had to do so much digging. but now we have it saved her forever! yay! 🙂

      So sorry your jam didn’t come out great, that is always such a drag…I had a large batch of syrupy jam one year and could not bear to dump it! 😉

  5. 5
    Rebecca H

    Any experience or knowledge on using frozen fruit to make freezer jam?
    I just made the regular sure jell recipe, which worked wonderfully like from when I was a kid, but I tried the low sugar sure jell, and after it sat for 24 hours like the directions said, it had bubbles all over and smelled fermented. I put it in my fridge, because I haven’t had the heart to compost it yet. It smells awful. We mashed a huge bowl of strawberries to make both batches, so I know it wasn’t the fruit because the regular kind turned out fine. We spent hours picking those tiny strawberries in the heat. What a waste! 🙁

    • I feel your pain, Rebecca!!!

      I have DEFINITELY frozen fruit in the past for freezer jam and it’s always worked – at least for strawberries it has! I just mash the fruit, measure it out for the recipe, put that in large ziploc bag and write how many cups of crushed fruit there is in the bag on the bag with a sharpee. once I’m ready to make the jam, I put the frozen mashed fruit in the fridge for a day to defrost. I’ve done this several times and always had success!

      I haven’t ever used the low sugar sure-jell, so sorry it didn’t work. that is SO SAD. this pomona’s worked great and definitely used less sugar.

      hope that helps!

  6. 6

    I have had good luck with Pomona’s. But in years past I ended up with very thin jam using other products. I didn’t waste a drop jam, though. It was great as a syrup over pancakes/waffles and ice cream. Also, it made a wonder glaze served over cheesecake.

  7. 7

    Thanks for the recipe. First time using Pomona and it worked great. Love that it is just pectin w/o sugar or preservatives.
    I used an immersion blender to mix the pectin and it worked well.
    I do have a question/observation – the ingredient list says to use 3 teaspoons of pectin, but the directions say to add 4. I am assuming it should be 3?

    • excellent catch! yes it should be 3 teaspoons pectin.

      but it IS 4 teaspoons of pectin if you are doing peach/apricot/nectarine jam. Otherwise, yes, 3 teaspoons as listed in the ingredients.

      thank you!!!

  8. 8

    Is it 3t pectin because you’re not cooking the fruit?

  9. 9

    I have made strawberry freezer jam with this recipe, and it’s wonderful! I was hoping to make peach, but see that the Pomona instructions include cooking the fruit for 2 minutes. Do you know why? I love the taste of fresh peaches, but cooked, not so much.

  10. 10
    Nancy Dickey

    I’ve made freezer jam for years with Sure-Jell. It’s always a crap shoot whether it jells. Thanks you very much for publishing this recipe. It’s easy to follow and not as complicated as some recipes. I’m starting raspberry jam now with Pomona’s and look forward to the result! I appreciate you!

  11. 11

    I wanted to make freezer jam using Pomonas because I can’t have that white refined sugar. I finally got brave this year and just finished my batch. But I made it just like the insert said and am letting it cook just a smidge before I put it in the freezer. I didn’t think to look on the website for a freezer jam recipe. Fingers crossed this turns out okay for the freezer. But it’s already jelled so . . . It should be fine?

  12. 12

    When using Pamona, why do I have to cook the peaches when making freezer jam?
    Thanks for your reply!

  13. 13
    Sara Talbot

    Thank you so much! The recipe Pomona’s has is cooked strawberry jam & I’m a sucker for freezer jam’s fresh strawberry taste! Saving this for future! The jam ALREADY is setting up so nicely!

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