This fresh-tasting raspberry freezer jam, prepared with frozen berries, can be made any time of year! And it takes less than 10-minutes of hands-on time!
I’ve been making this raspberry freezer jam for more years than I can count and it continues to be a beloved family recipe. That is… if it can be called a recipe!
Honestly, it’s so easy that it’s a little embarrassing to refer to the simple process as a recipe. It’s just a matter of combining sugar, raspberries and pectin, then ladling the mixture into jars. See what I mean? Hardly a recipe!
But the results are spectacular, the freshest-tasting and most vibrantly-hued raspberry jam that you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. It’s perfect for morning toast, on biscuits, English muffins, focaccia (below), scones, peanut butter sandwiches and so much more! It also wonderful on yogurt and makes a delicious dessert sauce for ice cream.
I’ve learned though, that even the simplest techniques can be problematic from time to time. So I decided to write this post and share this “recipe” to ensure this delicious raspberry freezer jam will be a failproof endeavor for you.
What is freezer jam?
First of all, let’s talk about what freezer jam is. Actually, it’s probably easier to talk about what freezer jam is not. Freezer jam is not processed in a water bath so it doesn’t have a seal that keeps it stable for long periods at room temperature like traditional jam is. It’s called freezer jam because, for long term storage, it should be kept in the freezer. Freezer jam can also be refrigerated for up to three weeks.
Unlike traditional jam, freezer jam is not cooked which is the reason it retains a wonderful, fresh fruit flavor. In addition, because it’s not cooked, the bright vibrant hue of the fresh fruit is preserved. If you place a jar of freezer jam and a jar of traditional jam next to each other, there is a huge contrast in color with traditional jam having a much duller hue. These are the qualities I love about this raspberry freezer jam.
Problems with freezer jam
On the other hand, the fact that freezer jam is not cooked is what causes the problems with this type of jam. The process of heating fruit and sugar together (in traditional jam recipes) is what ensures that the sugar crystals are dissolved, producing a pleasing, non-gritty texture. One of the common criticisms of freezer jam is that it can be “grainy”. That’s because it’s more difficult for the sugar to dissolve without heat.
Another problem that can occur with freezer jam is that, occasionally, it just doesn’t “set” or “thicken” properly and you end up with a loose sauce consistency rather than a nice spoonable jam. I know from experience that it’s frustrating to have this happen when you’ve invested time and money into making jam.
The solution for freezer jam problem of being grainy and/or not setting
This “grainy” issue and the “not setting” issue happened to me a number of times over the years. So when I finally figured out the solution I was thrilled and felt like I had “broken the code”. It turns out that the answer to both of these problems is the same.
Time. Yes, time, it’s that simple. Not the time you have to spend yourself on the jam. Rather the time to just let it do its own thing. The “recipe” for freezer jam on the box of pectin instructs; “Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally. Mix pectin and lemon juice. Add to raspberry mixture; stir 3 min. or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy.”
That sounds great but if you mix till the “raspberry mixture is no longer grainy“, you could be mixing all day long and into the night. What’s the solution? This is how I do it and it works like a charm; Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar until thoroughly combined. Cover and let stand overnight. In the morning stir well again, then mix pectin and lemon juice. Add to raspberry mixture; stir 3 minutes.” That’s it! No extra time on your part, just a nice long rest during which the sugar and berries have time to unite.” It works like a charm.
This overnight rest also solves the problem of the jam not setting because I’ve discovered that the pectin doesn’t always do its thickening work if the sugar is not thoroughly dissolved. So, we’ve solved two problems with one simple little trick.
Now I call it “overnight” jam, but you certainly could make it in the morning and then finish it up later in the day. Just so there are a good 6-8 hours for the sugar to fully dissolve into the fruit juices.
This raspberry freezer jam recipe is way too good to pass up. It’s not only wonderful on the breakfast table and as a dessert sauce, but it also makes wonderful gifts. Who wouldn’t be thrilled with a jar of jewel-hued, deliciously fresh tasting jam?
So next time you’re grocery shopping, pick up a couple packs of frozen raspberries. You’ll need 2 12-ounce bags of berries, a box of Certo pectin and a lemon. A batch of jam will cost you well under $12 and will yield 7 5-ounce jars of jam. That’s less than $1.75 per jar! A wonderful deal for jam that will taste better than anything you can buy!
Café Tips for making this Overnight Raspberry Freezer Jam
- This recipe calls for Certo. Certo is a liquid fruit pectin that’s available at most larger grocery stores and online. It’s usually found in the same aisle that has canning jars, lids, etc. If you have trouble finding it, ask at the front desk as stores will stock it in different areas.
- Raspberries generally come frozen in 12-ounce bags. You’ll need to purchase 2 bags (or the equivalent) but you’ll have some berries leftover. I usually thaw both bags and then use what’s left on top of yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- Jam and jelly making is an exact science meaning you need to measure very carefully to ensure good results. I love improvising with recipes but I’ve learned it doesn’t work with jam (and jelly).
- I shared above in the post that freezer jam is not processed in a water bath, so it’s not stable at room temperature like traditional jam that can be kept in the pantry before it’s opened. If you’re giving this raspberry freezer jam as a gift, be sure to tell the recipient that it should be stored in the refrigerator (or freezer for long term storage).
- We love this raspberry freezer jam on my Ridiculously Easy Seeded Focaccia. I slice it thick, butter it lightly then toast it until golden in a sauté pan. So… good!
- For a fabulous splurge (and lots of rave reviews), serve this jam on these Ridiculously Easy Buttermilk Biscuits or these Artisan Rolls. Oh my!
- I love to use pretty jars for my jams and jellies. Weck jars are my favorites.
- I also love these pretty Bormioli Rocco Quattro jars.
- 2 cups prepared fruit buy 2 12-ounce packages of frozen raspberries
- 4 cups sugar measured into separate bowl
- 1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Wash glass jars or plastic containers and lids with hot soapy water. Rinse well then dry thoroughly. (I like to run them through the dishwasher.)
Thaw raspberries and crush them thoroughly (I use a potato masher for this). Measure exactly 2 cups of the crushed berries into a large bowl. Stir in sugar until thoroughly combined. Scrape sides of the bowl to incorporate sugar crystals along the edges. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let stand at room temperature for 6-8 hours.
Mix pectin and lemon juice. Add to raspberry mixture; stir for 3 minutes.
Fill containers to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers and cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
See Café Tips above for more detailed instructions and further tips.
Adapted from Kraft.
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