Strawberry and Thyme Freezer Preserves

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6

If you want to make homemade fruit preserves without having to process the jars in a hot water bath, this freezer technique offers an easy shortcut. Pectin does the trick of causing the fruit to jell; pectin’s jelling power is activated by adding calcium powder dissolved in water. Here, fresh thyme lends an appealing herbal undertone to the strawberries.


  • 4 cups (1 lb./500 g) strawberries, hulled and mashed
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./305 ml) water
  • 3 tsp. pectin
  • 1/2 tsp. white calcium powder


Have ready 6 washed and dried freezer-safe half-pint (8–fl. oz./250-ml) jars and their lids.

In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar, then stir in the thyme. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) of the water to a boil. Pour into a mini food processor, add the pectin and carefully process until dissolved. Add the pectin mixture to the fruit and stir until well mixed.

In a small jar, combine the remaining 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water and the calcium powder, screw on the lid and shake well to combine. Add 4 tsp. of the calcium water to the strawberry mixture and stir well. If the preserves do not jell, stir in more calcium water 1 tsp. at a time until the mixture jells.

Ladle the preserves into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch (12 mm) of headspace, and seal tightly with the lids. Immediately place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using; the preserves can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 6 half-pint (8–fl. oz./250-ml) jars.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen

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