Strawberry Freezer Jam: Less Sugar vs. Full Sugar

This week I've been replenishing my supply of strawberry freezer jam.   It's so easy to make and tastes so delicious!   I use the recipe that comes in the Sure Jell box to make my jam.  You can usually find Sure Jell in the section where the canning jars are sold.  

Our Best Bites has a great tutorial on how to make strawberry freezer jam using the recipe in the Sure Jell box if you'd like to learn how to make it.

Less sugar recipe in 1 1/8 cup reusable Glad containers

For the first batch I made, I used the reduced sugar recipe from the Sure Jell box.  I was curious what the difference was between it and the full sugar recipe. 

The less sugar recipe is healthier, so that's a big plus.  It calls for 4 cups of mashed strawberries and 3 cups of sugar, while the full sugar recipe calls for 2 cups of mashed strawberries and 4 cups of sugar--a huge difference! 

Four cups of strawberries -- enough to make one batch of less sugar jam. 
(I put off making the jam for a few days, so they are a bit riper than I would have liked them to be, oh well!)

The less sugar recipe makes 6 cups of jam while the full sugar recipe will make 5 cups.  I noticed that it seems to take more of the less sugar jam to make a PB and J than the full sugar recipe, so it's good that it makes a larger batch.

What I really was curious about though is the difference in taste between the two jams, so  I spread some of each on a slice of bread.  The full sugar jam is denser than the less sugar jam, I'm pretty sure it's because of all of the sugar in it (and probably because I over-mashed the strawberries a bit on this batch--oops--you don't want to over-mash!).

Can you tell which is which?

The full sugar jam is on the left, the less sugar jam is on the right. 

One of the things I noticed first was the difference in color.  I think the less sugar jam has a more natural strawberry color...but on to the big question...how did they taste?

My four year old and I sampled each of them and it was unanimous--2 votes for the less sugar jam.  I was actually surprised that I liked it better because I thought that it wouldn't be sweet enough for me--I was wrong.  To me it has more of a natural strawberry taste and seems fresher than the full sugar recipe.  This is just my opinion though, your taste buds might tell you something different!  The fact that I liked the less sugar jam better doesn't mean that I won't totally love and enjoy eating the jam with all of the sugar in it that I made!  I still think it tastes really good, just in a different way.

The Sure Jell recipe suggests that you store the jam in 1 or 2 cup plastic containers.   I ended up trying a 1 cup round container, a 1 1/8 cup container, and an 8 ounce wide-mouthed Mason jar.  The plastic containers stack well in the freezer and the glass mason jar will be perfect to put the jam in for gifts.

I took them straight out of the fridge and freezer for the picture.  I promise they aren't dirty--just frosty!

The plastic containers cost less than the glass jars and I suppose would be safer to store in the freezer.  This jam can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for up to one year. 

This package of 4 mason jars cost just under $4.

So I guess the verdict is.....give the less sugar recipe a try. 
If you don't like it, I'm so sorry and please don't be mad at me! :)

If you've tried both the less and full sugar recipes, do you have a preference? 

 ***Next up I'll show you how I packaged the jam for gifts.  I designed a whole page of printable tags, including one for a teacher thank you and one for a friend, and of course I'll be sharing them with you!  Here's a little sneak peek...

Today's Fabulous Find...Less Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam

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Kyra said...

I make the Strawberry Freezer Jam with Certo and i'm always in shock over how much sugar I go through! I did 3 flats of strawberries this year and had to go to the store twice for sugar because I underestimated what I would need. Next year I am definitely trying the less sugar version! Oh and I store mine in the Up & Up freezer containers.

pbrenner said...

We have tried both also, and my family (husband and son) likes the less sugar version, too - with the same opinion, it tastes more "stawberry-y", which makes sense, since it has more strawberries in it :-) I hadn't thought to use the plastic containers, good idea!


Anne said...

Ball makes an instant fruit pectin - comes in a little pouch instead of a box. I love using it for my freezer jam. All you do is literally stir the stuff together and put it in your jars. And it only uses 1 1/2 cups sugar and 4 cups strawberries - give it a try. Also, I reuse my spaghetti sauce jars and large baby food jars for my jam. They are cheap and the spaghetti sauce jars are nice a big - we eat a lot of this stuff! :)

Janet said...

In reply to Anne: I agree, the liquid pectin is great! I tried it last fall and forgot that it only takes 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Hmm...I'm curious how it compares to Sure gells less sugar recipe now. Looks like I'll be making another batch of jam. :)

Thanks for the tip on the jars too. I don't have any baby food jars around anymore, but we eat plenty of spaghetti. Pint size canning jars work great too.

If anyone is interested in the liquid pectin, I posted about it last fall. Here's the link:

lynn said...

i love strawberries and will try this, janet:) tfs!

Lynette said...

Mmm. I think I need to make some jam this weekend. Thanks for the tips.

Erin said...

Ugh! Freezer Jam! I have such an issue with this. My issue is that I can't make it. No matter how many times I try...I just can't get it to get thick enough. It's so annoying. But...I will use this "less sugar" method to try again. Thanks!


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