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Can you freeze jam? As a matter of fact, jam, both homemade and store bought, freeze very well. Because of the presence of sugar, it already has preservation qualities. Freezing it just enhances them and allows them to keep even longer.
Freezing jam is really easy. The two best methods are the full jar method, which uses a freezer safe plastic container or, preferably, a Mason Jar and the ice cube method, which freezes jam into smaller, personal use size portions. Either way will preserve your jam an additional 12 months, although you will get the best quality in the first 6 months. Thawing in the fridge overnight is recommended as it can be kept a bit longer but you can also “quick thaw” in a bowl of cool to warm water.
Ready for more details on how to use the food preservation methods mentioned above? Keep on reading and find out!
Can You Freeze Jam?
You can definitely freeze jam for future use. We are going to show you the two best methods for freezing depending on your own personal needs.
Jam, because of it’s consistency, is similar to freezing apple sauce, salsa, half and half, or even sauerkraut. However, it is unique in that the high sugar content will cause it to freeze a little differently.
First, though, let’s go over a few basics so you can get the best result no matter the method you use.
- Make sure you use an airtight, freezer safe container. We prefer Mason Jars for large batches and ziplock bags for ice cubes.
- It’s best to freeze in portions you will use right away instead of thawing everything at once
- Do not freeze homemade jam while it’s still hot
- Label your jar lids or freezer bags with the contents, freeze date, and the use by date.
|Prep Style||Mason jar|
|Time To Freeze||12 to 24 hours|
|Time to Thaw||12+ hours (slow thaw)|
under 1 hour (quick thaw)
|Uses||normal jam use|
|Freezer Life||6 to 12 months|
Why should you freeze it? (Reason or reasons)
You should freeze jam to make sure it keeps for as long as you need it. Generally, freezing is done with homemade jam. That’s because making jam can take a while so it is usually done in larger batches than one could, or should, at least, eat before it would go bad.
The table below will show you a comparison of jam life when frozen versus being kept in the fridge.
Frozen Vs Non-frozen
|Freezer Life||Fridge Life|
|6 to 12 months||up to 3 months|
You are going to need the following supplies:
How To Freeze Jam
There are two ways that we think are best for freezing jam; large batches in Mason Jars or small, single use portions as ice cubes. We will cover them both below.
These methods work for homemade and store bought jams.
Determine your portion size. If you want to freeze large batches you will want to gather together your Mason Jars or freezer safe containers.
For freezing single servings of jam, get out your ice cube trays.
If you are freezing store bought jam, move to the next step. Homemade jam needs to completely cool to room temperature before moving to the next step.
You may want to get out your measuring cups or measuring spoons for step two.
You can simply fill a Mason Jar ¾ of the way up, leaving ¼ of the jar with headspace. The headspace is left so the jam has room to expand without cracking the glass. If you want more exact measurements, you can use your measuring cups to see exactly how much jam you are freezing in each jar.
Single servings ice cubes of jam (or jam cubes) are very easy and, in our opinion, the most useable method of freezing. Take out an ice tray and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of jam into each open pod. You may be able to fit more or less depending on the size of the tray you are using.
Just like with the Mason Jars above, leave about a ¼ of the pod open so the jam can expand when freezing. Once the tray is filled, stick them in the freezer for about 4 hours.
If you have not already, get out your jar lids or freezer bags and a sharpie. You will want to write the contents, the current date you are freezing everything, and then the day you need to use it by.
Once labeled, place your Mason Jars of jam in the freezer, where they can stay for up to a year. It will take around 12 to 24 hours for them to completely freeze. During this time, try to keep the freezer closed as much as possible. this will ensure a quicker freeze and lessen the chances of freezer burn later.
Once your ice cubes have had about 4 hours to freeze, or are solid enough to handle. Remember, jam will not freeze completely solid so transfer the jam cubes from the tray into a freezer bag as quickly as you can so the heat from your hands will not start to melt them.
Once bagged, put them in the freezer and allow them time to completely freeze, same as the jar method above.
How do you defrost it?
There are two methods you can use to defrost jam; the “slow thaw” and the “quick thaw”.
Slow Thaw (Recommended)
Simply place your jar or ice cubes in the refrigerator for a few hours (best if left overnight). The slower warming in the, still cold, fridge will help cut down on the jam getting too watery. It will also keep bacteria growth at bay.
The quick thaw method is when you place the jar or freezer bag of jam on the counter or in cool to warm water. Typically your jam will defrost within an hour but, the quick thaw can make the jam more runny and the fruit mushy.
Plus, the quick change from frozen to room temp can accelerate the growth of bacteria so only use this method if you need jam right away and only thaw what you need. If you unfreeze too much, dispose of it instead of trying to refreeze it.
Can I refreeze it?
Jam, when refrozen, loses a considerable amount of quality and can be unsafe depending on how it was thawed. The “slow thaw” method from above will remain safe but still poor quality upon refreezing.
“Quick thaw” in the sink should be used immediately and not refrozen. At best, the quality will suffer greatly, at worst, bacteria growth can make the jam unsafe if left too long.
So only thaw what you will use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the more common questions about freezing jam.
Q1. Can you freeze marmalade?
Marmalade can also be frozen using the same techniques as freezing jam. The main difference is going to be the effect freezing has on the large fruit pieces in marmalade. Freezing will draw out moisture which can make them a bit soggy.
Q2. Can you freeze store bought jam?
Store bought jam freezes just as well and just as easily as homemade jam. We recommend you transfer the jam from the original glass container to a freezer safe plastic container or Mason Jar.
Q3. Does jam freeze solid?
The sugar in the jam will not freeze all the way. The jam will just become thicker but never truly become solid. That will not impact how well it is preserved, however. Your jam will still keep.
Q4. How can I tell if jam has gone bad?
Bad jam is easy to spot (and also a terrible band name). You can tell by the way it looks, smells, and, hopefully you catch it before you find out, by taste.
- Your first clue is separation and liquid pooling at the top. The jam will also start to turn a darker color. Sometimes you will even start to see some mold growing.
- Bad jam will have a rancid smell to it. Instead of the sugary sweet fragrance you are used to, it will smell more like a public park trash can after a hot summer picnic (or something similar)
- If the sight and smell does not catch you, the taste certainly will. Instead of a delicious fruit explosion in your mouth, it will have a sour and rotten taste to it. Hopefully you catch bad jam before tasting it.
If your jam exhibits any of these sign, throw it away and do not use. You do not want to freeze or consume bad jam. If you use a clean spoon while serving your jam, it can help down how quickly your jam will turn. Using a dirty spoon can introduce new bacteria into the jam which can then accelerate the spoiling process.
As you can see, jam is easy to freeze. You can freeze full batches for up to a year or, our preference, freeze smaller single use portions. Both methods work great and are guaranteed to keep you in jam as long as you want it.