>Putting an End to the Freezer Jam vs. Traditional Jam Debate

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When I started my obsession love affair with canning last fall, I ignored all those who recommended making freezer jam. Jane Maynard, in particular, raved about the ease of the process and the freshness of the taste. But one look at my overflowing freezer, chock-full with impulse Trader Joe’s purchases, was enough to convince me that freezer jams were not for me.

Instead I took out my biggest stockpot, and made apple jelly the way my mom used to. The sweet smell of sugar and apples filled the kitchen and sent me traveling down memory lane. The resulting jelly was so delicious that I soon had to make a second batch. My husband who was skeptical at first, took to putting the jelly on everything from toast to chicken. He now has regular anxiety attacks that we are running out of jars of amber apple jelly and watches over my reserves like a hawk.

I didn’t give freezer jam another thought until a few weeks ago when I made another impulse purchase: a bushel of blushing peaches from my local farmer’s market. I lugged my find home as proudly as if I had grown and harvested the peaches by hand. They acted as a beautiful centerpiece on my kitchen table, heaped high in a weathered wooden crate while I figured out what to do with them. Then it hit me. I finally could get to the bottom of the freezer jam vs traditional jam debate.

I got to work, peeling and slicing peaches, gorging myself with sweet fruit as I worked. Then over a couple of days, I made peach jam, a lot of peach jam. I made freezer jam, and jam with Sure-Jell fruit pectin. And then, just because I had some peaches left over, I made some jam with Pomona Pectin.

Making freezer jam was definitely easy. With the Sure-Jell Freezer Pectin Mix, I didn’t even have to boil the fruit. Just sterilize the jars, peel and mash the fruit, add the pectin, lemon, and sugar, and pour into the jars. That’s it. With a fraction of the sugar and a fraction of the time, you’ll be able to stock your fridge with some bright jars of freezer jam. And it will be delicious, but it won’t be jam.

Freezer jam is delicious. It’s zesty and fresh, an explosion of summer fruit available long after the leaves are off the trees. I love freezer jam on a big slice of toasted brioche, on a sliver of midnight chocolate cake, or on a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream, but it’s not jam, not confiture. It should really be called freezer preserves, or some other catchier, more appetizing name like freezer fruit fantasy.

So the answer to the great freezer jam vs traditional jam debate is that there is no debate. You should make both, and can easily do so at one time. You’ll have days when you’re in the mood for the sparkly flavor of freezer jam and other days when you want the comfort of a special treat of traditional jam, something intensely sweet and fruity to jazz up boring toast or swirl into Greek yogurt.

Next time you’re grabbing some jam making supplies, grab a few extra so you can stock up in both your pantry and your freezer.

As I’m so new to freezer jam making, I won’t bother to share the recipe from the Sure-Jell box that I used. Instead, I’ll give you some links to some recipes on food blogs I enjoy:

12 Responses to >Putting an End to the Freezer Jam vs. Traditional Jam Debate

  1. >I love freezer jams! I've made lots of both (regular and freezer jams) all Summer long, but I think the freezer jams have a really fresh fruit taste.

  2. >@Bunkycooks I loved your post, "We're jamming now!" Lots of great info on freezer jams and gorgeous pics. Unfortunately, all this jam experimenting just increased my jam consumption!

  3. >I love jam too and new to the jamming..wish I had so much more time to do more! I have a technical quesiton for my own blog–how did you do your top banner to cover the whole top and have the tabs to family, about me, etc.. I wish to do something like that, but haven't figured it out.

  4. >Nice post! Fruit + sugar — whether you can it or freeze it, how can you go wrong? Thanks for this post. It's fun to read about jam-making from someone who has a fresh enthusiasm. I've been doing it for so long that I sometimes take the joy of it for granted.

  5. >As much canning as I've done I've never even considered freezer jam. Freezer's always full! But now I see I've been missing something important! Thanks for this, Vanessa.

  6. >My mother in law taught me to make freezer jam when I was just a girlfriend. I made my first jars this summer because I'm afraid of canning.

  7. I have never made freezer jams, but it does sound like something I would like to try. With our busy schedule freezer jelly might work alot better. I’ll have to let you know how it works for me.

  8. What did you think of the Pomona pectin jam batch?? I just started using it (for a freezer jam) a few weeks ago. I haven’t tried a traditionally canned jam with it yet.

    • Hillary,
      I need to play with Pomona Pectin more this summer. I admit that I haven’t given it enough of a chance. All of my jam supplies are running very low and this is the time. Thanks for the inspiration.

      Vanessa

  9. I started my addiction with jam this year. My first try was with strawberry freezer jam, 2 batches and it was awsome.
    Then a friend mentiond blue berry marmalade, somewher between batch 3&4 another friend introduced me to Pomona’s pectin.I can’t imagine usuing any thing else.I have had many E-mails with Mary Lou about the BB marmalade and much help in improving it.I went from 4 cups BB and 5 cups sugar to 6 cups of BB and 3 cups sugar.
    NOTE:I’m a 71 yr old widower whose wife did amazing things with processing foods for the winter.I was alowed to help but she was the brains. I’m up to 10 batches of BB marmalade and am now expermiting with Strawberry,next apple. Enjoy

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