We are often asked,” What do you like better, freezer or cooked jam?” and the answer is both are better for different reasons. Here are the pros and cons of both:
Pros of Freezer Jam:
1.Very easy to make with little or no cooking involved depending on the type of pectin used.
2.The jam will taste much more like fresh berries or fruit.
3.The color or the jam is more like the true color of the fruit used to make the jam.
4. Not a lot of time involved.
5.Uses less sugar since it isn’t needed as a preservative, just as a sweetener.
6.Can use other types of stackable containers rather than just glass jars, and the containers don’t need to “seal”.
Cons of Freezer Jam:
1. Takes up room in your limited freezer space and at risk if you lose power for an extended period of time.
2. Difficult to give as gifts or ship since it requires refrigeration.
3.Can make a mess in your freezer if you over fill your jars or containers since the jam expands a little during the freezing process.
4.Sometimes it doesn’t set up quite as well as cooked jam.
5.Need to make sure you completely dissolve the sugar during the jam preparation so it is not gritty in your jam.
Pros of Cooked Jam:
1.Will keep in your pantry or cupboards for a long time without refrigeration.
2.Sets up very well, and often has a thicker and more jam like consistency.
3.Some fruit jam tastes better once cooked. I prefer a raspberry cooked jam to a raspberry freezer jam.
4.Nice as gifts and easily shipped to friends or loved ones.
Cons of Cooked Jam:
1.More time consuming than making freezer jam.
2.Need to be very careful during the process so that your jars seal properly, otherwise the jam will not keep.
(hint for proper sealing: Make sure jars are clean, especially the rims. Once you fill the jars with hot jam, wipe off the rim then place the lid and ring on snugly. Turn the jar upside down. In about 15 minutes or so turn it back over and check the jar. It should have “sucked” the lid down and be sealed. If you press in the center of the lid and it still pops up and down it hasn’t sealed yet. Turn over and try again. Usually I have one jar or so that doesn’t for whatever reason so we just put it in the fridge and eat it first.)
3.Requires more sugar than a freezer jam.
4.Less natural fruit taste than a freezer jam.
To sum it up, we like and make some of both for our family. That way our freezer doesn’t get over taken with jam, and we have some jam we can share with others who might not have a lot of freezer space. Which ever you choose to make, follow the directions carefully, but don’t worry! Jam is not hard to make. With a little work, you will be enjoying a wonderful treat all year long!