Tag Archives | frozen fruit

Cranberry Blueberry Jam

On Monday night, I did my final live demo of the year. I talked about fruit pastes, answered questions, and made a batch of cranberry blueberry jam using fresh cranberries and frozen wild blueberries (though regular frozen blueberries would also work).

This recipe uses the same technique as the raspberry version I posted over the weekend. You combine frozen fruit with fresh cranberries to get a preserve that is flavorful, not-too-sweet, and perfectly set (cranberries are magical in the setting ability).

If you want to watch me making this jam, you can see the full video after the jump (or, if you navigated directly to this post, you should see the player below).

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Cranberry Raspberry Jam

In need of a quick batch of jam for holiday gift baskets? This Cranberry Raspberry Jam, made from fresh cranberries and frozen raspberries, is just the ticket!

Of all the tricks I’ve come up with in my years as a jam maker, none please me as much as this one for making really terrific preserves with frozen fruit. For years, I struggled to get frozen fruit to turn into anything worth eating and sharing. And then last year around this time, I hit upon the idea of adding fresh cranberries to frozen fruit and everything changed.

The beauty of the cranberry is that it brings both acid and pectin to the jam making party. That means that it can perk up berries that taste flat from months in the deep freeze AND it helps with the inevitable increase in wateriness that occurs when you defrost previously frozen fruit. It’s a win all the way around.

One of the best and highest uses of this technique is quick holiday gift making. Perhaps you’ve moved through your stash faster than you intended. Or you need a uniform set of something for a group (rather than the hodge podge of jams I took to my family’s Hanukkah gathering on Saturday). That’s when a quick batch of this jam shines.

Like so many jams, this recipe does not double well. If you need more than one batch, run two pots side by side for a quick cook all around. And if you’re struggling with how to use up a leftover dollop, may I suggest the rice pudding I posted on Friday? They are happy partners.

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Holiday Berry Jam for Gift Giving

This holiday berry jam combines frozen strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with fresh cranberries. The result is a bright, flavorful jam that works beautifully for holiday gift bags and baskets.

Four jars of holiday berry jam.

No matter how much jam making I do during the summer season, I almost always find myself a little short on the desirable jams come gift giving time. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have mountains of preserves. But many of them were experimental batches that just don’t work for neighbors and Scott’s coworkers.

Fruit for holiday berry jam.

This year, instead of relying only on pears and apples to make up the shortfall, I headed for the freezer section at the grocery store. In the past, I’ve been hesitant to make giftable jam exclusively with frozen fruit, because I find it almost always ends up with a softer set and a slightly dull flavor.

Ingredients for holiday berry jam in a pot.

But last week, the solution came to me in a flash. Cranberries. Combine frozen berries with a small portion of cranberries and you get perfect jam every time. The cranberries provide both ample pectin and welcome acidity to ensure that the jam sets and tastes terrific. Holiday berry jam is born!

Finished holiday berry jam in the pot.

I made this jam with 24 ounces of raspberries, 12 ounces of strawberries, 12 ounces of blueberries, and 8 ounces of cranberries. You can easily change up the frozen fruit, but maintain the basic ratio of three pounds frozen berries to 8 ounces of cranberries.

Holiday berry jam in an open jar.

The yield on this sucker was just a little bit more than 6 cups. I canned it in four 12 ounce jelly jars because those were the easiest jars to put my hands on. You could also do six half pints or even a dozen 4 ounce jelly jars. Make it work for you.

Oh, and one last thing. If you have an Aldi near you, know that it’s an excellent spot to pick up your frozen fruit. Their prices are awesome and they often have organic options.

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Canning 101: How to Make Jam With Frozen Fruit + Apricot Meyer Lemon Jam

frozen apricots - Food in Jars

It is mid-winter, which means that the pickings are quite slim for canners in search of fresh fruit to turn into jams and fruit butters. However, if you’ve got a preserving itch that must be scratched, take heart and turn to the freezer.

frozen apricots top - Food in Jars

Whether you’re using fruit you yourself tucked into the deep freeze or you’ve decided to rely on that which you can find in the cases at the grocery store, it’s possible to coax satisfying spreads out of previously as long as you remember a couple of things.

frozen apricots sugared - Food in Jars

First and most important, don’t defrost your fruit prior to combining it with the sugar. I’ve made jam from a wide array of frozen fruit in my time, and I’ve learned that my results are always better if I liberally dust the fruit with sugar while it’s still frozen.

The sugar draws away some of the water in the fruit, which helps it hold its shape better, while also providing some protection against browning. This is especially helpful in the case of light-colored fruit like apricots and peaches, which will turn grey and squishy if left to defrost on their own.

defrosting apricots - Food in Jars

The second tip for success when using frozen fruit in preserving is to use weight as your measurement tool. Because you’re going to sugar the fruit before it has defrosted, volume measurements for the fruit won’t be accurate. By using weight as your guiding measurement, you’ll be able to keep the proportions of fruit to sugar steady and set yourself up for success.

finished jam - Food in Jars

For those of you who made plenty of jam back in the summer and question why one would want to make jam from frozen fruit, I have four words for you. Apricot Meyer Lemon Jam.

This season bending preserve isn’t possible to make on the east coast without the aid of a freezer, but it is good enough that I try to stash four pounds of apricots in my freezer drawer each summer, so that I’m able to make it when Meyer lemons are in season. Oh, and if you can’t wait another year for this one, try freezing some Meyer lemon juice and zest right now, to save for apricot season.

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