Raw Naturally Sweetened Berry Freezer Jam

The summer season is here and the produce is beginning to come off the vines. I am not a big canning person as it requires so much time and energy (which is challenging to do with two little ones running around), but I have chosen my priorities to focus on in the past two years. Jam, tomatoes, and pickles. These are my three big projects for the summer, otherwise I like to freeze lots of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and peaches for smoothies and desserts throughout the year.

I prefer to make my own jam because every standard jam/jelly on the market contains high amounts of high fructose corn syrup in addition to being highly processed through the heating and canning methods. Organic jellies are super expensive and use organic sugar to sweeten which still has been highly processed and refined. I prefer the natural sucanat/rapadura sweetener that is unrefined, high in iron, naturally evaporated, preserving all the vitamins and minerals.

I love making raw freezer jam because it is so simple, and protects the large majority of nutrients in the berries over the standard canning procedures. The only disadvantage with raw freezer jam is that it will not get as thick as the canned/cooked alternative, but it works well for us.

My random collection of jars

Yesterday, my daughter and I prepared 10 jars of raspberry/strawberry freezer jam (or 3 batches of the recipe below) in a few simple steps, with the help of Pomona’s Pectin. I use this brand because it is all natural made from citrus peel, free of sugar and preservatives, and allows me to use honey, low sugar, fruit juice concentrate, or any other sweetener.

The recipe is included in every box of Pomona’s Pectin, but here are our tips and tricks:

Raw Freezer Jam

Karis displaying the pureed berries

4 cups mashed fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries), room temperature
1/8 cup lemon juice (optional)
1 cup honey or 2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tsp pectin powder (included in box)
4-12 tsp calcium water (included in box – combine calcium powder with 1/2 cup cold water)

Note: You have the option to use as little as 1/4 cup honey or 3/4 cup sugar per batch, but I personally recommend you use the full amount of sweetener. It’s just not worth it in my experience as it turns out too bland.We prefer a rich, flavorful jam that is naturally sweetened with honey or sucanat/rapadura. I mix two batches at a time to save time.

Directions:

1. Wash and rinse air tight jars. Another reason I love freezer jam is because I can use any containers I desire – no need for replacing all the canning lids each year. You can use any miscellaneous plastic or glass jars in varying sizes.

2. Prepare fruit by rinsing and removing stems. Place in a blender and pulse several times until smooth. Pour pureed berries into a large bowl and rinse blender.
3. Measure sugar or honey and add to fruit; stir well.
4. Bring water to boil. Put in blender/food processor. Add pectin powder, vent lid and blend 1-2 minutes until all powder is dissolved.
5. Add hot liquid pectin to fruit; stir until well mixed.

6. Add 4 tsp calcium water (which you prepare via the instructions in the box); stir well. Jell should appear. If not, continue adding 1 tsp of calcium water and stirring well until jell appears.

7. Pour jam into containers, leaving 1/2” at top for expansion in the freezer. Store in the freezer immediately. Once removed from freezer, store in refrigerator. Lasts 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.

Karis mixes the fruit after adding pectin

Note: The original instructions say that it will only last a week, but my experience is that it will definitely go 3-4 weeks before going bad. I did notice that it will get thinner the longer it is in the fridge, so it is preferred to use it within 2 weeks.

Makes 5-6 cups, or approximately 6 (8 0z jars).

YUM!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

48 Responses to Raw Naturally Sweetened Berry Freezer Jam

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  2. Jamie September 3, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    Lindsay, can u do it with grapes? We just picked three gallons of them. I dont want them to go to waste…

  3. c e kind August 10, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    can I use stevia as the sweetener instead ? i need the no cal, no blood sugar spike sweetener…

    • Lindsay August 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      I believe so. You would have to check out the instructions in the packet. I use xylitol this last time and that worked really well and does not have the blood spiking ability either.

  4. Mike July 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    This recipe is not raw…

    • Lindsay July 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Why do you say that?

  5. Valerie July 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    What is calcium water? Where do you find it?

    Thanks

    • Lindsay July 13, 2011 at 6:46 am #

      It’s in a small packet in the Pomona’s Pectin box.

  6. Autumn July 10, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Wow. That was easy! This is th way I am making jam from here on out. Thanks sis!

    • Lindsay July 11, 2011 at 6:12 am #

      Ha ha! Yah…there is no doubt this is the way to go…glad it worked for you sister!

  7. Shannon May 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Have any of you tried using the low-sugar/no sugar pectin with sucanat or honey? they have a lot on sale at my Kroger right now and I would love to try it but am not sure how it will work!

  8. Kristina August 26, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    We are hooked on blueberry nectarine and strawberry banana freezer jam…we use freezer jam pectin and it only calls for 1 1/2 c sugar/sweetener. check my blog for recipes!

  9. Kathy July 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    I would like to try this recipe…but I am thinking of trying Agur Agur instead of the pectin and calcium water…any thoughts or experience with it???

  10. Cindy Wilson July 9, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Sucanat question. Do you use Sucanat in the recipe, and if so, does it come out too strong? I want to make some Strawberry Jam.

  11. Kierlee Shaver July 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    I would like to use the sucanat, but I was wondering how well it dissolves since you mix it in with the fruit. It seems like I have needed to mix it with something warm or a liquid to have it dissolve well. Do you use the sucanat or the honey more frequently? Thanks!

  12. loyda July 3, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    I personally can my jam and don’t use pectin or calcium water. Its doable believe me! I too was fearful of canning. I think so many of us think of Mom or Grandma in the kitchen canning all day and putting away 10 cases of jam! LOL! Whatever I pick (fruit wise) on any specific day is what I will can. sometimes its just 8 jars and it doesn’t take long at all!!!!

    • April @ Team Tottle Wellness August 1, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

      Loyda,
      I’ve love to hear how you can without pectin or calcium water. What sweetener do you use? I really want to try my hand at canning but all the recipes call for so much sugar.

      Thanks, April

  13. Suzy Q July 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Lindsay, I’ve also been looking for some alternatives to traditional jam recipes (to much sugar). One for me was apple butter. I put 8-10 old wrinkly apples (peeled, cored, and pared) in a crockpot with 2 tsp cinnamon, 4 cups frozen rhubarb and 1/2 cup sugar (you could use something else or even go without the sugar because the apples being a little past their prime were sweeter. ALSO, I have found a couple of recipes that use Knox Gelatin (plain) as the gelling agent for freezer/fridge jams and over at Mary Janes Farm she sells a product called chill-over powder that looks like it would also be an acceptable alternative as a gelling agent. Happy Jam Making!
    P.S. The Knox recipe still called for sugar but depending on the mix of fruits you use…I think you could get by without.

  14. Jenn July 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    I know this is going to sound like a stupid question, but can I use blueberries for this recipe? I know that a lot of times I see blueberry jam listed with lemon juice when others aren’t…just wondering!

  15. Rachelle July 1, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    Wow! Thank you so much for this post – it’s very timely for me. I’ve just recently been thinking about trying to make my own jam after realizing how bad the sweetners are in most of the jams and jellies that are out there AND I was wondering if I could freeze it instead of canning because I didn’t want to go throug all the hassle of canning. I’m so excited to try this! Yeah!

  16. Amy July 1, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    You can freeze glass!? Really?! I just went out and purchased a set of plastic containers to freeze my jam! Not that they’ll go to waste – I already have plans to use them for chicken stock when they are emptied…I always thought it was not a good idea to freeze glass. Have you ever had problems with it breaking or bursting? Do glass containers have special handling instructions? Man…that’s going to revolutionize my whole freezer!

    • Lindsay July 1, 2010 at 5:17 am #

      I have not had any problems freezing glass as long as the product was fully cooled and you give the 1/2in room for expanding. The only thing I don’t freeze in glass is stock, because for some reason it expands to much and was susceptible to breakage. Everything else works beautifully!

  17. E.E. July 1, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    Thanks Lindsay! We periodically enjoy having jam or jelly for sandwiches, but I couldn’t come up with a way to make my own using maple syrup as a sweetener. Thanks for saving me the legwork and trial and error to find a good recipe. Polaner All Fruit used to make fruit juice sweetened jams and jellies (available at most grocery stores), but they’ve now started adding maltodextrin to their recipe. Homemade will likely we be the way we go from now on…

  18. sarah June 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    Thank you for the recipe! I am wondering if I need to buy special jars, or if any regular jars will work? I dont want to break any jars in the freezer!

  19. Katy from Albuquerque June 30, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Can’t wait to try this! We have loads of raspberries coming this summer and we’ll need a place to store all the “goods!” Thanks for the recipe and your daughter is adorable!! :-) I can see this jam making is fun memory making!

  20. Jill June 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    This is a great idea but I have no idea what kind of jars to buy. Last time I froze broth and jam in jars all 11 of them shattered, some in the freezer and the others as I thawed them.
    So with my poor luck, I have to use ziplocks whether I like plastic or not.
    We just got our first 25 lb bag of sucanat from Azure Standard and so far it seems great, even in a cup of coffee.

    • Lindsay July 1, 2010 at 5:23 am #

      Broth is definitely susceptible to breakage. I haven’t had luck with that one, but everything else has worked perfectly well in glass. If you had problems before, make sure you use official canning jars, give plenty of room for expansion, make sure the finished product is fully cooled, and leave the lid half screwed on till fully frozen…that way if it expands to much it will only pop the lid off and not break the glass. Hope that helps!

  21. Joy Y. June 30, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    This is such a timely post for us! We are heading north to MN, and will be 12 hours from home. There are some chemical free strawberry patches there we will be picking at, and this is what we”ll do with the berries…….You saved me some online searching. Thanks so much Lindsay!

    • Corinne July 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

      Joy, where do you find chemical free strawberry patches in MN? I live in N. IA and would love to pick chem-free strawberries!
      We are going blueberry picking in two weeks; across the Mississippi River and a bit south of Redwing MN, a few miles north of Maiden Rock, WI.
      http://www.rushriverproduce.com/
      This will be our third year and we love it! Picking blueberies is so easy, and you can eat all you want while you pick. Maiden Rock is also a charming little river town with unique shops. The entire area is beautiful, and makes for a great family get-away.

      • Joy Y. July 2, 2010 at 11:50 am #

        Corinne,

        We will be in northern MN, so its kind of a drive from IA I am afraid! A place called Sphink’s (I think thats the spelling of it). Up 2 1/2 hours or so north of the twin cities. It is kinda nice to find a chem free strawberry patch…in IN the closest one was over an hours drive and we never made it before the season was over. The season has just begun in MN!

  22. Cindy Wilson June 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    This sounds great! I use Sucanat for everything. But I was wondering if you find it to be too strong for the fruit. I know Sucanat can be strong in some things. What do you think?

    Is the Pamona’s cheaper at Amazon or Whole Foods? Thank you! I love your website!

  23. Suzanne June 30, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    Yum! This looks great! I will definately have to give this a try! My kids love PB&J and this would be a great alternative to high sugar jelly!

  24. Mimi June 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    This looks like a wonderful recipe and I’m so excited to try it. Where do you get calcium water?

    • Lindsay June 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

      It’s made from the calcium powder included in the Pomona pectin box.

  25. Erin H June 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Your little girl is so cute!!! She looks so much like you (except the hair color :)

  26. YoungMom/Wife June 30, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I’ve been wanting to make my own jelly, but most recipes seem so ridiculously difficult. I am definitely going to try this one.

  27. jenna June 30, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    YUM! Thanks so much for the recipe. My girls and I just went berry picking yesterday and I was planning on just freezing the berries because I did not want to make jam with tons of sugar. I can’t wait to try this out.

    AWESOME!

  28. Shari June 30, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    Thanks for this recipe! CAn’t wait to try it out.

  29. Kara June 30, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    Im glad to read about your success with Pomona’s doing freezer jam. I’ve used it for a couple cooked jam recipes and was really happy with the turnout. Its great to have some flexability with the amounts/type of sweetener. Both of our local food co-ops carry it. If you can find somewhere online to purchase it would probably be worth it…according to the box it keeps indefinitely!

  30. Courtney June 30, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    I’m also wondering where you find Pomona’s. We’ve got lots of berries and I’d love to give this a try!

  31. Miranda Taylor June 30, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    I must comment your daughter looks ridiculously cute in this picture, with that perfect little smile! She sold me I will have to try this jam now! ;)

    • Lindsay June 30, 2010 at 8:14 am #

      You are so sweet, Miranda. My Karis loves helping out and posing for pictures!

  32. Sarah June 30, 2010 at 4:38 am #

    We just made some using another pectin, I’d love to get my hands on pomona’s. where do you buy it here in the portland area? We also use xylitol for our sweetner. :) LOVE Freezer jam. How many jars do you make for the year? when we have freezer jam it seems to go so much faster than store bought…

    • Lindsay June 30, 2010 at 8:16 am #

      You can find Pomona’s Pectin at Whole Foods or New Seasons in the Portland area. I just bought a box at New Seasons and it made about 10 jars (combination of pints and 1/2 pint jars). I usually go through about 20 half pints or so, roughly 1 1/2 per month. We don’t go through it as quick as you it sounds, mainly just for pbj’s and toast.

  33. Ann June 30, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    I discovered Pomona’s Pectin for the first time last month and have been THRILLED to finally have a way to make my jams/jellies without tons of sugar! It has worked great for me so far. I like using xylitol for my sweetener.

  34. Sherry June 30, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    Oh, yum! You can’t beat homemade jam! So happy to see a natural jam, too!

  35. Amy June 30, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    Yum! I’ve been wanting to make a freezer jam but I can’t find Pomona’s Pectin anywhere around here and Amazon is out of stock. I will be surely making this when I can. Fresh raspberry jam sounds divine.

    • Lindsay June 30, 2010 at 8:18 am #

      You can buy it from most health food stores, including Whole Foods. You can also buy it online from Pomona’s. Amazon sells it in a bundle (6 boxes) as well, which will keep indefinitely even if you don’t use it all at once.