I love jam, but holy cow is good jam expensive! I’ve been researching what it takes to start canning fruits and vegetables, and at this point it’s still a little overwhelming and I’m not sure if the payoff would be there since I’m not currently growing my own garden.
This week raspberries are marked way down at the grocery store, and they were on my shopping list but I didn’t actually know what I’d do with them. Coincidentally, I’ve also been planning the meals for an upcoming camping trip. PB & J is on the menu, and I remembered that we actually don’t have the J part of the equation.
My path was suddenly clear — it’s time for me to make my first freezer jam! It’s a relatively small investment (instant pectin, sugar, and fruit — I already had a couple of canning jars) and very little time. It doesn’t require heating, just some mixing and pouring.
My 4 (6-oz) containers of raspberries made 3 cups of crushed fruit, so I used a multiplier of 1.8 when following the instructions on the Ball RealFruit Instant Pectin. After waiting for the instructed 30 minutes before covering and storing in the refrigerator and freezer, it wasn’t as set up as I had expected, but some quick online research confirmed that freezer jam doesn’t get as firm as canned jam.
The batch made two pints of jam, which I split into two 16-oz jars.
By the spoon, it tastes fresh and good. The refrigerated jar needs to be eaten within 3 weeks (which I’m not sure is going to happen with just the two of us), and the frozen jar within a year. Next time, I’ll get some smaller 4- or 8-oz jelly jars so a smaller amount is in the refrigerator at a time.
24 oz fresh raspberries: $3.48
Pectin (cost for this batch): $1.32
Sugar (cost for this batch): $.31
Total: $5.11 for 32 oz
Compared to my favorite strawberry jam at the store which costs $3.99 for 8.8 oz, this raspberry jam cost me $1.40 for 8.8 oz to make. Savings: $2.59 per 8.8 oz.