The Craft Patch: A Cheaper Way To Make Freezer Jam

The Craft Patch

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Cheaper Way To Make Freezer Jam

My sweet brother-in-law stayed with us for a few days this past week. One day, he came home with a flat of strawberries he had bought at a fruit stand on the side of the road. I knew immediately that I wanted to make freezer jam. Nothing beats the fresh taste of homemade freezer jam. And it's really easy to make.

In the past, I have always followed the recipe on the side of the pectin box. But dang, that stuff is kind of pricey, especially if you have a LOT of strawberries! The traditional recipe calls for one box of pectin for every two cups of strawberries. With as many berries as I had, that meant I would have to buy five boxes of pectin, which would cost about $10. What if I told you there's a way to make freezer jam without buying pectin? And the total cost for 10 cups of strawberries would only be $2? And it's something you might already have on hand?

Here's the secret ingredient:

Good old Jell-O!

Yup. At 50 cents a box, Jell-O is much cheaper than pectin! Thanks to my awesome aunt, who loves saving money as much as I do, for introducing this recipe to me. So, do you want to learn how to make it?

Jello-O Freezer Jam

10 cups strawberries, washed and crushed

2 cups sugar

2 large (6 oz) or 4 small (3 oz) boxes strawberry Jell-O

Using a potato masher was the easiest way to crush the berries!

In your largest pot, combine strawberries and sugar. Let stand for 1 hour. Heat to boiling, then simmer for 15 minutes. 
Wipe down the sides of the pan so no sugar granules remain or the jam will have a grainy texture later.

Stir in the Jell-O. Fill clean containers with jam. I used old canning jars even though I didn't can the jam. They were the containers I had, but you could use plastic containers also. Freeze the jam. Thaw in fridge before serving on toast, waffles, sandwiches or even ice cream.

The hillbilly jar filler: a plastic cup with a hole in the bottom!

I got six and a half pints from this recipe, which is perfect....the half-filled jar is for eating right now.

One really cool thing about making this kind of jam is that you can change the flavor of the jam by using different flavors of gelatin. How about strawberry lemonade jam or strawberry/raspberry jam? So many different combinations are possible! This time I went with two boxes of strawberry and two boxes of raspberry and the jam is to die for. In fact, I'm going to go make some toast right this minute! Enjoy!


  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Strawberry jam is my favorite!

  2. I don't know much about canning, or freezer jam, but this seems totally simple enough for me to do :) Does this keep in the fridge for a while, or do you need to thaw only enough to put on your toast?

  3. You don't need pectine to do homemade jam. I use my grand-mother's recipe : 1/3 part of sugar and 2/3 part of strawberries. Heat at low and stir till it boil. Let it boil for ten minutes then turn it off. Skim then fill your jars.

    I also use this recipe for any homemade jam (raspberries...).

    I never tried to freeze them as my jars are all well sealed and sterilized, but I'm sure you can. ;-)

    1. freezer jam actually tastes different than your canned recipe. It tastes just like eating a fresh cold slice of strawberry pie. Very fresh tasting!

  4. Janice-

    The jam keeps in the fridge for about a month and in the freezer for a year. I keep all of the jars in the freezer and take one out whenever the jar in the fridge runs out. I've never had it go bad on me (probably because we eat it so fast).

  5. Catherine-

    Thanks for the recipe! I'll have to try that next time.

    The reason I froze my jam was because I did NOT can them. The lids are not sealed. I just used old canning jars for my containers because I had them on hand. You could use Tupperware to store this jam or even Ziploc freezer bags.

  6. My first attempt at jam EVER and a huge success! Thanks Jennifer! :)

  7. I have never heard of this method, but had the same thought that pectin is awfully expensive. Great idea! I can't wait to try it!

  8. Would this ratio of crushed fruit to sugar to jello work for fruit other than strawberries? Like peaches or raspberries? I know with the pectin recipe the sugar amount per fruit differ.

    A new found follower courtesy of pinterest.

    1. this sounds amazing and something I will try out next time I make jam...thanks

  9. Lauren--

    I have not tried other types of fruit. My guess is that you could probably do the same ratio. If anyone has tried other fruits, I'd love to hear about it!

  10. Tried this today. Yummy jam and so easy and CHEAP! I even used sugar free jello because that is all I had in the pantry. I also used half the amount of sugar, and I used a combo of blackberries and raspberries. I added a 1/4 teas. of salt and 1 tsp of vanilla. Just because I like the way those two things taste in jam. Turned out perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  11. @Natali Jolley

    I'll have to try adding vanilla. I bet that would taste SO good. Thanks for the comment, Natali! I'm glad it worked well for you!

  12. Could you mix the different kinds of fruits you use... And with the jello do you mix to the instructions on the box then add ? Sorry for the silly question...

    1. No silly questions here! I'm glad you asked. <3

      I THINK you could mix different kinds of fruits, but I haven't tried it so I'm not sure and the consistency might be off. You don't follow the directions on the box, just use the powder without adding water.

  13. I've been making similar with a rhubarb base for years now.. Strawberry/rhubarb raspberry/rhubarb but always using rhubarb as the base. If you add enough other fruit and the same flavor jello you will not taste the rhubarb at all, but it is a less expensive base (so to speak) In my freezer right now I have Raspberry/rhubarb, strawberry/rhubarb and rhubarb jams, today I am going to make a blackberry jam with raspberry jello mix, tons of wild blackberries here, finally going to do something with them.

    1. That's such a great idea! Thanks for sharing Julie!

    2. I make strawberry / banana freezer jam with strawberry jello .
      You have no idea how good it is . Be sure to use bananas with no brown spots. Beyond delicious !

    3. Forgot to mention if you are adding to This recipe drop in the banana after the simmer at the same time as you add the jello .
      I usually make the no cooking freezer jam with the pectin when I use bananas .


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