If you’re looking for a simple, no-fuss recipe to make jam for your family, you’ve come to the right place! This fresh or frozen fruit small batch jam recipe is not only super easy, it’s also delicious. And we promise you won’t be overwhelmed! So let’s get started!
Super Simple Fresh or Frozen Fruit Small Batch Jam
Learning to do canning and preserving can feel a little intimidating at first. Doesn’t it kind of feel like a lost art? Something only our mothers and grandmothers know how to do? Nope! You can do it too, friends. In this recipe for small batch jam, we’re determined to cut the fat and make sure you can keep the process as simple as possible.
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Simplicity is a Must
This jam recipe is perfect for beginners. Because this is a small batch, you’ll only be making 5-8 jars of jam. You don’t need bushels and bushels of freshly picked berries. You don’t need lots of special equipment! This is the perfect recipe for the beginner jam maker.
Here are some ways we’ve made this recipe foolproof:
- No pectin required! Most jam recipes call for pectin to thicken the jam. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many people that keep pectin on hand. In this recipe we’re simply using bottled lemon juice from the store instead! No pectin needed!
- As the title indicates; you can use fresh or frozen fruit! Depending on your location, it’s not always easy to get a hold of nice fresh fruits. This recipe is perfect because you can make it any time of year. If you have fresh blueberries in July, or frozen berries in December, either one will work! It’s perfectly fine to use fruit from the grocery that is marked down, or slightly over-ripe! This jam recipe is a super frugal way to use up that discounted fruit!
- You can use recycled jam jars! We used recycled Bonne Maman jam jars and lids when we made this small batch jam. The lids sealed again without an issue! Of course, if you prefer to play it safe and use half pint jars and new canning lids, that is perfectly fine as well. As long as you get a good seal, you are good to go!
- You don’t HAVE to have a canner! Obviously if you have a canner, by all means use it. But if you are a newbie to canning and don’t have a canner, no problem! Simply use a 6 quart stock pot with a lid. Something like what you would boil spaghetti in.
- Lastly, fruity small batch jams make great Christmas gifts! Times are strange and supply chains are shaky. Why not make some small batch fruit jams for friends and family this year for Christmas? Everyone loves a homemade gift!
Fresh or Frozen Fruit Small Batch Jam Recipe
What You’ll Need to Get Started
- 5 recycled Bonne Maman jam jars and lids, or 7-8 half pint canning jars and lids
- A pot of hot water to sterilize your jars
- A canner, OR a 6 quart stock pot/spaghetti pot, with the lid
- A heavy bottomed pot to make the jam in. We used a cast iron enamel pot.
- A wooden spoon to stir the jam
- 2 or 3 small dessert plates, placed in the freezer
- Canning tongs
- A canning funnel
- Plenty of kitchen towels and hot pads
- Regular metal tongs
Blueberry Plum Small Batch Jam Ingredients
5 Cups of pitted plums
6 Cups of frozen blueberries
2 Cups of Sugar
1/2 Cup of bottled lemon juice (fresh lemon juice is also fine)
Fruity Small Batch Jam Recipe Directions
Before you get started, be sure to sterilize your jam jars and lids in boiling water. Once the jars and lids are sterilized, set them aside on a towel for later.
- Now is a good time to go ahead and get your water bath ready. If you are using the stockpot method instead of a canner: Place 7 solid canning lids in the bottom of the stock pot. You can use recycled lids from things like coconut oil, or honey jars. (You are placing the lids on the bottom of the pot because the jam jars should not touch the bottom of the pot during the water bath!) Next, add about 3 quarts of water into the 6 quart stock pot. Push the lids down again if they have floated up. After that, place the lid on the pot and turn the burner on high. It needs to boiling at the time of the water bath.
Jam recipe directions:
In a heavy bottomed pot, place the pitted plums, frozen blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. With a potato masher, stir and mash the ingredients together until well incorporated.
Place the pan on the stovetop, turning the burner on high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. With a wooden spoon, stir frequently to prevent scorching. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat down to medium. Allow the jam to simmer on medium heat, stirring often, for 35 to 40 minutes.
Throughout the process of simmering the jam you will want to test whether or not it is gelled/thickened enough a few times. With the frozen dessert plate, place about 1/2 – 1 tsp of jam on the plate and place it back in the freezer for a minute or two. If the jam from the freezer has a bit of a skin that wrinkles at the touch, it should be ready. For more tips on how to know if your jam is ready, click here. The consistency should be thick, but not claggy.
Placing the jam into jars:
With a pair of tongs, quickly plunge each jam jar and lid into the boiling water bath water. Be careful not to burn yourself! Use plenty of towels and hot pads. After this, the jars and lids should be hot. Using a canning funnel, begin dipping the hot jam into each of the sterilized, hot jars. Finally, wipe the rim completely clean, and then screw each lid onto the jars.
See Martha Stewart’s advice on all things “canning” here!
Placing the small batch jam in the water bath
Using a pair of canning tongs, carefully place the jars of jam into the canner or stock pot water bath. The water should just cover the tops of the jars. Be sure there is enough water to cover the tops. Allow the jars of jam to boil in the water bath for 10 minutes.
After a ten minute water bath, place the jars on a towel on the countertop to completely cool and seal. You should hear a loud pop as each jar seals. If the lid is flush, or slightly inverted, it is properly sealed!
Is the jam sealed?
If after the jars are cool, you find one of any lids pops out, and can be pushed in and out, making a loud popping noise, this means the jar has not sealed properly. No worries! You can still eat the unsealed jams, but they will need to go into the fridge and be eaten quickly. Unsealed jars cannot be stored in the pantry or cupboard or they will spoil.
Fruity Small Batch Jam Recipe Variations
- Don’t have plums? No problem! Simply make this delicious small batch jam with frozen blueberries. No blueberries on hand? Why not try using a bag of mixed berries from the freezer section at the grocery store? Or maybe you have a box of fresh strawberries and a bag of frozen raspberries you can throw together? Mix it up! It’s all delicious. Let us know how your small batch fruit jam turns out in the comments below!
Tips and Tricks for Making Small Batch Jam
Like most recipes, this is just a guide to get you started. It helps to have all of your ingredients and cooking utensils clean and ready before you get started. Be sure to have plenty of clean counter space ready to avoid any frustration. Keep the kiddos out of the kitchen to avoid anyone getting hurt. That is a lot of boiling water, and hot utensils being moved around! And as always, use what you have! Work smarter, not harder! And be sure to have FUN!
Need more inspiration to stay organized as a frugal loving homemaker? Click here! Also, check out The Art of Preserving for more inspiration for canning and preserving your own foods at home.
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