can you can freezer jam?

castringerJune 25, 2007

I really don't like the idea of spending all that time making jam/preserves etc and then shoving it in the freezer to die a slow and painful death of freezer burn. Despite the very best of intentions, stuff gets lost in there. Plus I can't get past the image of melting ice cream every time I think of putting freezer jam in the fridge (I do realize that it won't lose its jell once its defrosted, but it still seems wrong.)

That said, if I have a recipe for freezer jam, what can I do to make it safe for canning? Cook it longer, different pectin, stand on my head? I can do either boiling water bath or pressure can.

Will jams/jellies jell if the acid is too low? How do you tell if it's gone bad? Will there always be fur or fumes if its gone bad?

Great, now I have got myself paraniod. It was much easier having almost no knowlegde, than knowing that we escaped death by the skin of our teeth (I canned pumpkin butter *hangs head in shame*).

As for canning pumpkin butter, I have gathered that it used to be considered safe but now its not recommended. So are all old recipes suspect or just stuff like pickles, salsa etc?


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readinglady(z8 OR)

I'm not sure why you would want to can freezer jam when you can make regular jam and process it. The pectins are formulated differently and my guess is that the jell would break with freezer jam if heat were applied, but that's just a guess.

Freezer jams keep exceptionally well; I doubt freezer burn would be a problem. The high levels of sugar are designed to enhance its keeping qualities in the cold.

If you would like to can jam, just buy regular pectin, either full-sugar, low-sugar or Pomona Pectin for any level of sugar or no sugar at all. You don't need a pressure canner for jam, just a boiling water bath.

To jell jams need the proper balance of pectin, acid and fruit. That varies depending upon the fruit, the ripeness and the kind of pectin you use. The pectin boxes have inserts and you'll notice that some recipes call for added lemon juice and some don't. Still, there's always an element of chance. Even with commercial pectin, including Pomona's, there have been cases where the jam failed to jell properly. It's part of the "thrill," LOL. You never know.

Fruits are high-acid. Jams are basically the lowest-risk thing you could process. Jams keep a long, long time - years, in fact. Over time there will be some loss of flavor or color but as long as it's processed and retains a good seal it's still perfectly safe. The worst that would happen is mold and you could see/smell that and just discard the jar. No one's died from old jam or any jam, that I know of.

Pumpkin butter is totally different. Pumpkin is a low-acid vegetable, not a high-acid fruit. Not only that, but the water content and density vary so much the testers couldn't come up with a recipe that maintained a consistently safe pH. Since there were no guarantees, they pulled the recipes from the books.

Some recipes in old books are no longer regarded as safe, but if you stick with current safe-tested sources like the most recent edition of the Ball Blue Book or sites like the National Center for Home Food Preservation, you're going to be fine with any recipe they provide.

Before using a recipe from an old book, check here. It's impossible to generalize because it depends. Jams and jellies are normally fine, though the processing times/procedures may have changed. It's pickles, salsas, vegetables, tomatoes where there have been a number of changes.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 2:35AM
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The reason I want to can freezer jam is because I don't want to keep it in the freezer. I found a recipe I think my kids would like but unfortunatly it's a freezer jam. So I was wondering if I could BWB process it and be safe because I have learned that just because it can be canned, doesn't mean it should.

The specific recipe is this one

Banana Split Freezer Jam
Sounds weird ........ but the kids will love it and its SO EASY!! The number of jars made will vary according to their size. by CountryLady

2 cups crushed strawberries (about 1 qt)
1/2 cup mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
3/4 cup water
1 box sure.jell fruit pectin

Mix exactly 2 cups crushed strawberries and 1/2 cup mashed bananas in large bowl.
Stir in sugar and lemon juice; let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chocolate syrup; mix well.
Mix water and pectin in small saucepan.
Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
Continue boiling and stirring 1 minute.
Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy.
(A few sugar crystals may remain.) Fill clean plastic containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops.
Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids.
Let stand at room temperature 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 refrigerator before using.

So with something like this, would it work for bwb processing or would I need to up the acid, or what????


    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 10:49AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Hi Christi,

The acid is not the issue. I don't know what would happen if you took what is essentially an uncooked jam, bottled it and processed it then stored it at room temperature. Cooking destroys enzymes which contribute to spoilage. In addition, the sugar-fruit ratios are entirely different and so is the form of pectin. What you're asking is akin to "Can I make ice and then process it?"

I'm trying to figure out why you don't want to keep the jam in the freezer and why it needs to be this recipe for strawberry-banana. Do you lack space? Have your children refused to eat any jam but freezer jam? Or is it just that this combination is one you think they would really like and you haven't found a regular recipe?

Here's a recipe for a strawberry-banana jam that's designed for boiling water bath. You could add a couple of tablespoons of chocolate syrup, but don't go over that. Generally chocolate isn't added to recipes because of its fat content, but syrup is OK.

The small amount of butter in the recipe is within safe limits and is designed to reduce foaming. You can eliminate it if you want to and just skim the foam off.


Here is a link that might be useful: Strawberry-Banana Jam

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 12:53PM
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Ok, I think maybe I get it (lightbulb goes on). I guess what I should have been asking is, what is the diffrence between a freezer jam and a bwb jam. I hadn't compared them side by side (i.e. a Strawberry jam and a strawberry freezer jam). I really also hadn't looked at the freezer directions that closely so I didn't realize the fruit in freezer jams are uncooked. I figured it had something more to do with the mystical/mysterious balance of pectin, acid and sugar.

So I guess now my question is why would someone choose freezer jam over bwb jam? Flavor difference? Texture difference? Don't want to cook the fruit? Better storage space in the freezer? Go ahead and assume complete ignorance on my part.

Also I didn't even think of adding a bit of chocolate syrup to regular strawberry-banana jam.

Christi (who is feeling really blond now)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 1:54PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Because it's uncooked, some people feel freezer jam tastes "fresher," closer to the texture of the natural fruit.

Some are intimidated by the canning process and are more comfortable just freezing the jam. Or they simply find it easier.

Every type of jam has its pros and cons. It's totally personal preference.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 2:25PM
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Thank you so much for your help and suggestions. My 8yr old DD an I made the strawberry banana jam with the chocolate syrup (it was her first time making jam or canning) and it was wonderful. She tasted it and said "Oh, I am in heaven." I thought it had very good flavor even though I am not really crazy about bananas (DS 4yr would eat 5 or 6 a day if I let him, so he was the reason I went on a hunt for banana jam recipes).


    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:32PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Cut bananas into chunks, freeze, and dip into some melted chocolate. Then back into the freezer again. Just like icecream with a health kick.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 7:49AM
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