Looking for a fun family activity to do inside on a Snow Day?

Try making one of these freezer jam or jelly recipes during the winter months.

Looking for a fun activity to do with the children on a snow day or a winter break from school? Michigan State University Extension suggests making a freezer jam or jelly. Uncooked jams and jellies can be made from either fresh or unsweetened frozen fruits or fruit juices. Other ingredients would include pectin and sugar. Sometimes bottled lemon juice is needed to make the fruit acidic enough.

Uncooked jams and jellies must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent the spoilage organisms of mold and yeast from doing their dirty work. When making the freezer jam or jelly, it is necessary to allow the product to sit at room temperature for 24 hours so the gel will form. After 24 hours the jam or jelly may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or in the freezer for up to a year. Since the jam or jelly is not shelf-stable, it would mold and ferment in a short period of time if left at room temperature.

                                                            Uncooked Berry Jelly

(This recipe will make about 6 half pints.)


3 cups unsweetened berry juice either fresh or frozen (blackberry, raspberry, or


4 ½ cups sugar

1 box powdered pectin

½  cup water

  • To make the juice mixture add the 4 ½ cups of sugar to 1 ¼ cups of berry juice. Stir thoroughly to help dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the pectin to the ½ cup of water in a pan. Heat the pectin and water to almost but not quite boiling. This needs to be stirred constantly so it does not burn. Pour the pectin mixture into the remaining 1 ¾ cups of berry juice. Stir until the pectin is completely dissolved. Allow the pectin mixture to stand for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Next mix the juice mixture with the pectin mixture. Stir until all of the sugar has completely dissolved. 
  • Pour into freezer containers leaving a ½ inch headspace. Cover with the lid. Let stand at room temperature for at least 24 hours to allow the gel to form. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

                                    Uncooked Strawberry Jam from Fresh Fruit

(This recipe will make about 4 half pints.)


1 ¾ cups crushed strawberries (about 1 quart)

4 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons bottled lemon juice

1 pouch liquid pectin

  • Crush the strawberries one layer at a time until there are 1 ¾ cups crushed strawberries. Put the crushed strawberries in an extra-large bowl. Add the 4 cups of sugar. Mix the strawberries and the sugar well.  Allow this mixture to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Measure the bottled lemon juice into a small bowl. Add the liquid pectin and stir well. 
  • Stir the pectin and lemon juice mixture into the fruit mixture. Stir the mixture for 3 minutes.
  • Pour into freezer containers, leaving a ½ inch headspace. Cover the container. Allow to stand for 24 hours at room temperature to allow the gel to form. Freeze or refrigerate the jam.

Next time you hear, “I’m bored” during a winter break, why not try a freezer jam or jelly. The children will learn about math (measuring ingredients), science (mixing the fruit acid and pectin to form a gel) and practice reading a recipe and following instructions. But you do not have to tell them they are learning about math, science and reading. They will just have fun working together with you.

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