No-Cook Freezer Jam: Naturally Sweetened

IMG_6155I love preserving my own foods for the upcoming year and jam is a favorite! It is practically impossible to find good jam/jellies on the market that are made without sugar or HFCS, so homemade varieties are the best alternative. Plus, it is superior in flavor and nutrition. In the past I have made canned jam sweetened with rapadura/sucanat with good success, but this year I wanted to go all out and avoid the cooking process. If you are going to put the effort forth, why not preserve as much of the nutrition in the berries as possible right? Surprisingly enough, the no-cook freezer jam method is incredibly easy. It took me about 1 hour to prepare 23 half-pint jars of yummy marionberry jam for our freezer (4 batches of the recipe below from 1.5 flats of berries). They do not take up much space either, especially if you select good stackable containers. I chose to use glass jars and it worked beautifully! You don’t even need any special new canning jars or lids. I had an assortment of lids from various jars I had recycled and they all worked just fine. I prefer sweetening with rapadura/sucanut, but I tried a batch sweetened with honey and enjoyed it. You can use whatever your heart desires!

Pomona’s Universal Pectin is a perfect natural pectin to use, free of sugar or preservatives. It is a low mexthoxyl type pectin derived from citric peels and pulp. It provides you with the freedom to experiment with your own desired choice and quantity of sweetener. You can use whatever sweetener you desire or abandon the sugar altogether! It is available online or at a local health food store (Whole Foods, New Seasons, Fred Meyer Nutrition, Azure Standard, etc). One box made approximately 20 (8 oz) jars for me, so I used just over 1 box. The rest can be saved for another time. Each box includes easy to follow directions. Last year I made the recipe with just 1 cup of rapadura/sucanat and it definitely was not sweet enough, in our opinion. This time around I bumped it up a bit and it was delicious! The recipe is included in the box of pectin, but you can also download it from their website here. There are other recipes included as well for cooked canned jam.

Here is my personal preference:

4 cups berries – I love to use marionberries or blackberries because they are so cheap (if not free)!
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice (optional)
1 cup honey or 2 cups rapadura/sucanat
3/4 cup water
3 tsp pectin
4-12 tsp calcium water (each box of pectin includes the calcium package to make this)

The easiest way I found was to start by boiling the water. While you wait, mash the berries in a blender or food processor. Combine with lemon juice and sweetener, mixing thoroughly. Put berries aside while you pour the boiling water into your blender along with the pectin and blend for 1-2 minutes until thoroughly dissolved. Add the pectin and water to your berries and combine thoroughly. Gradually add calicum water until it gels. I found that about 6 tsp was perfect for marionberries. Transfer to your clean 8 oz jars and cover securely. Make sure to allow 1/2 inch room at the top of the jar for expansion. Freeze immediately. The instructions say that once opened you need to use within a week. I think that it definitely last longer than this. If concerned, simply put it back in your freezer to preserve it longer.

The total cost for me was about about $1 per 8 oz of jam. Not bad at all!

What kind of jam do you like?

Check out Kimi’s post where she shares about using less honey in her jam!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

28 Responses to No-Cook Freezer Jam: Naturally Sweetened

  1. Alicia November 13, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Can I use frozen berries for this jam?

  2. Shirlee July 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    I made elderberry Jam with stevia . It was bitter had to throw out. :(

  3. Sandra August 3, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    Hi, When I tried this using peaches, I noticed that the pectin changed the taste of the jam slightly. It had a “wallpaper paste” undertaste to it. Have you ever noticed this? Otherwise, it works, but this slight taste really detracts from the peach flavor. Perhaps with more aggressive tastes such as blackberries, it would not be so noticable. Peaches have such a delicate taste. Has anyone else noticed this?

    • Lindsay August 4, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

      I have not experienced that, but nor have I tried peach jam. Sorry!

  4. Miss Milkmaid July 30, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    I have a question – you said you got 20 cups out of one box. Is this a 1oz box, or the 1/2 lb box? That might make a difference in how much I buy! ;-)

    My sis and I went blackberry picking this evening when it cooled off (we’re just north of you in Chehalis, experiencing the same heat wave I’m sure!) and we’re excited to start making jam.

    • Lindsay August 1, 2009 at 5:26 am #

      Yes, that would have been 20 cups from a 1 oz box.

  5. Angela July 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    My absolute favorite is raspberry-lime. I usually make 4 or 5 batches a year, because everybody asks for a jar! (the recipe for my lime-pulp is at

    My second favorite is apricot (which i doubly like because it needs no added pectin and apricot jam is SO good between the layers of spice cake).

    My girls like blackberry best, which is another good no-pectin-needed jam. We go gleaning for blackberries this weekend at the park – so yummy and worth the thorns!

  6. Sara M. July 30, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    I’m just wondering – does the rapadura leave a heavy molasses taste in the jam? I considered using it but decided not to because of that reason. This year I made cooked strawberry jam for the first time and I decided to sweeten the batch with organic apple juice. It turned out pretty good too! I have a load of rhubarb in my back yard that I thought about making jam with, so maybe I can try the freezer jam with rapadura.

    • Lindsay August 1, 2009 at 5:34 am #

      Not at all! Rapadura only looks more like brown sugar but it is delicious in flavor. It imparts more flavor than any other sweetener and that is why I prefer it.

  7. Megan Gilmore July 29, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    Do you think you could use stevia powder to sweeten jam like this? I have a bunch of fresh fruit that we are not going to be able to eat right away, and I’m going to dehydrate some of it and make jam from the rest. I like the honey idea, but I’m trying to decide whether or not to try stevia. What do you think?

    • Lindsay July 29, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

      There are instructions in the package for using other sweeteners and I am sure stevia is a good option. What is nice about this pectin is you can make as small of a batch as you want so you can taste and experiment.

      • Megan Gilmore July 30, 2009 at 6:50 am #

        Great! Thanks so much!

  8. Angela July 29, 2009 at 3:58 am #

    This looks great! Do you think i could use frozen berries?

    • Lindsay July 29, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

      No, I don’t think that would work. The berries must be at room temperature to gel properly and frozen berries will have extra liquids from dethawing. You could make a basic berry sauce with them and thicken with arrowroot powder. I do this all the time for pancakes and it freezes fine. When in a pinch I use it for jam also.

      • Angela July 30, 2009 at 10:12 am #

        Okay! Thanks Lindsay!

      • Melanie July 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

        I was wondering if I could use arrowroot powder instead of pectin in making my raspberry freezer jam. Would it work? I do not have any pectin currently, but have plenty of arrowroot powder.

  9. Lisa July 28, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you! I think I will try this with peaches from the farmer’s market this weekend. I knew there was a reason I picked up the packet of pectin from our natural food store. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and your healthy living ideas.

  10. Brandi T. July 28, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Just a word of caution about freezing things in glass jars and containers–make sure the jars and containers that you use for freezing items are labeled for that purpose. Not all glass is freezer-proof! For those that are unaware there are many different types of glass and not all have the tempered qualities of, let’s say, a Pyrex dish that can be used in the oven, freezer, etc. For example, I have read of people using glass baby jars to freeze things– that is a no, no. Those jars are not made of a quality of glass that is meant to be used in that aspect.

    As things freeze, they expand, some more than others. If the glass is not made to be used in the freezer, this expanding can building enough pressure in the jar or container to cause it to shatter. Sometimes these cracks and fractures are easily visable, but a lot of time they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

    I just wanted to warn others–we don’t want any one to be eating shards of glass in their jam. ;-)

  11. Deanne July 28, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    the freezer jam’s I made last year with Pomona’s last about 8-10 days in the fridge before getting watery, separating, and then spoiling. With there being 6 of us, all it takes is PB&J for lunch one day and we have it used up, but it is something to keep an eye on.

  12. Cardamoms Pod July 28, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    This is just great, and these jams taste so good. My oldest daughter just asked if she could start experimenting with learning jam and jelly-making, and I said yes, as long as she makes healthy versions. I directed her to our Stocking Up book which has lots of refrigerator and freezer recipes.

    • Larissa Holland July 28, 2009 at 9:19 am #

      Have you ever tried using stevia for sweetening jams? I have never tried it, but wonder what the results would be.

      • Cardamoms Pod July 29, 2009 at 2:34 am #

        I have not tried stevia – but plan to.

  13. Chelsea July 28, 2009 at 6:49 am #

    Thank you so much for this! I just tried to make my own freezer jam with less sugar, but the jam didn’t set and I was really frustrated. I’ll be looking for some of this pectin for sure!
    And where on Earth do you get free marionberries?! (I’m in the Portland area, I don’t know where you are, but I thought I saw you mention Portland in a previous post?)

    • Lindsay July 28, 2009 at 11:29 am #

      I was referring to getting blackberries for free since they grow in the wild. I bought marionberries for $12.50 per flat at Thompsons Farm in Boring.

  14. Shannon Hazleton July 28, 2009 at 6:10 am #

    THANKS!! :) Mmm… I love how my house smells when making jam.

  15. Melinda July 28, 2009 at 6:04 am #

    Yum! Gonna try this, for sure. Thank you!!!

  16. Bethany July 28, 2009 at 4:11 am #

    for some reason I see my link didn’t work, when you click on it you’ll have add the !.html and that should do it :)

  17. Bethany July 28, 2009 at 4:07 am #

    Hi and thank you so very much for all the wonderful information you share with us. I had run across this quite some time ago and while I’m not sure it’s something I could actually do, I found it very interesting and I thought you might like it as well.!.html It’s how to make your own pectin. Anyway, thanks again.