How to Make Mixed Fruit Jam or Jelly

A collage of blackberries, peaches, apples and jars of mixed fruit jelly

Nearly any fruit can be made into jelly and jam, even including edible flowers. If you don't have enough fruit to make a full batch of jam, consider making some homemade mixed fruit jam. You can combine fruits to  make a delicious jam or jelly to spread on homemade bread, to top ice cream or add to yogurt.

How to make homemade mixed fruit jam or jelly

One of my favorite jams to make is mixed fruit. Even though I never quite know what it will taste like, it's always good.

You see, I don't use a recipe for this mixed fruit jam. I just use whatever is in my freezer and refrigerator. Sometimes I make mixed fruit jelly and sometimes it's jam instead. It just depends on what I have in the freezer.

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I save all the bits and pieces of fruit to make this jam. The last peach, when we were tired of peaches. A few of the plums from our trees. The last cup of blackberries we foraged.

Sliced nectarines in a white plastic colander.

We couldn't eat these nectarines fast enough, so I peeled and sliced them, and froze them for later use.

Sometimes I have some fruit juice left over from another jelly-making session. 

Then when it's time to make mixed fruit jam or jelly, I throw all those frozen fruits and berries into the stockpot and make juice for jelly, or just cook it all down into jam.

How to save small amounts of fruit and berries for jam

Berries and sliced fruits are so easy to freeze. Whether you have half a dozen or a cup-full, set them in a single layer on a baking sheet and set it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Covering the baking sheet with parchment paper first will help you remove them more easily once they're frozen.

Then add them to a freezer container and return them to the freezer shelf.

Flash-frozen sliced nectarines

Perhaps you bought some beautiful peaches, but they were rather tasteless. Don't throw them out or add them to the compost pile. Instead, peel them, cut them up and flash-freeze them just like you did the berries.

You'll be surprised how much flavor they'll add to mixed fruit jam when they're combined with other tasty fruits and berries.

What a great way to redeem those tasteless peaches, right?

Sometimes when you make jelly, you'll end up with extra juice. The recipe might call for six cups of juice but you have seven or more. 

You can either freeze the leftover juice, or you can water-bath can it in pint jars along with the jelly you made. (Just mark it somehow so you know which is jelly and which is plain, unsweetened juice!)

Is there a recipe for mixed fruit jam?

Because I use a different combination of fruits and juices each year, I don't really have a recipe. I like to experiment, and it's always been a success. 

You won't find a recipe in the box of pectin either. Well, you'll find a recipe for Triple Berry Jam and that sort of thing, but if you are using up what's in your freezer, you'll have to be willing to take a chance. Go ahead - it will be delicious!

Homemade mixed fruit jelly directions

I toss all the fruit and any juice in a pot and add some water if needed. 

After simmering the fruit until it's soft, strain it through a piece of muslin to separate the juice from the fruit. 

Jelly-making directions tell you not to squeeze the fruit to keep the jelly from being cloudy, but mixed fruit jelly usually is a darker color and I don't mind that it isn't perfectly clear. I want all the flavor I can get out of the fruit. So I squeeze all the juice out!

You'll find more detailed directions in my post on making fruit syrup for jelly-making.

Then I follow the directions inside a package of fruit pectin to make the jelly. There is no option for "mixed fruit jelly" so I choose the recipe that is for the fruit I have the most of. 

In other words, if my mixed fruit jelly contains more berries than other fruit, I use a recipe for berry jelly to estimate the amount of sugar to use. Or if there are more peaches in the mix, I use the recipe for peach jelly.

Personally I don't add as much as the directions suggest. I'm a rebel that way. There is, however, a science in the ratio of sugar to fruit, and your jelly might not set as hard if you change the amount.

So sometimes my jelly is perfectly set, and sometimes it's soft-set and sometimes I end up with mixed fruit syrup instead, but even the syrup is better than something that's too sweet to eat.

Fruit syrup on pancakes is pretty awesome anyway.

Okay, back to the directions!

Stir the juice and the pectin together and add to the pot. The sugar is measured into another bowl. 

Heat the juice to boiling, then add the sugar all at once, stirring well. Once the mixture returns to a boil, keep it at a rolling boil for one minute, then remove from the heat and immediately ladle it into sterilized hot half-pint jars.

Homemade mixed fruit jam directions

The process is slightly different if you are making homemade mixed fruit jam.

Choose a jam recipe from inside the pectin box that corresponds to the fruit you have the most of. If you have more apples, choose an apple recipe; if you have more peaches and nectarines, choose the corresponding jam recipe. This will give you a suggestion for how much sugar to add. 

Thaw the fruit slightly. Mash the fruit with a large spoon or a potato masher. 

Measure the mashed fruit and add to a large heavy pot. Thawed fruits release their juices faster and easier than fresh fruit, which is a nice side benefit of freezing those random pieces of fruit until you were ready to make homemade mixed fruit jam.

Mix the pectin into the combined fruits in the pot.

Measure the sugar into a separate bowl. Again, I don't use as much sugar as the directions call for. I just can't make myself use more sugar than fruit.

Sure Jell also sells no-sugar pectin for use in low-sugar and no-sugar recipes, so if you're like me and prefer not to use that much sugar in your jam, you might want to pick up a box. Amazon carries no-sugar pectin, but you'd have to buy six boxes at a time.

Heat up the fruit and pectin mixture to a rolling boil, then add the sugar and stir it all together.

When the mixture comes back to a rolling boil, stir constantly while it boils for one minute, then take the pot off the heat.

Ladle the hot jam into warm, sterilized half-pint jars using your canning funnel, leaving 1/2" head space.

How to can mixed fruit jam or jelly

Top the jars with warmed canning lids and rings, tighten them finger-tight (ie, not too tight), and place in a water bath canner filled with hot water to a depth of at least one inch above the jar tops.

You'll find step-by-step directions on how to can jelly in this post on making Harvest Apple Jelly. Use the processing time specified in the recipe you're following.

When the canning process is finished, leave the jars undisturbed on the counter for 24 hours, then wipe them down, remove the bands if desired and label the jars.

Two half-pint jars of mixed fruit jelly.

Jelly and jam are canned in a boiling water bath canner. This is the simplest kind of canning, and jelly or jam is an excellent first project for a beginning canner. (Be sure to follow the detailed canning directions in this post.)

If you don't have a water bath canner, you can use a large stock pot with a cake rack in the bottom to hold the jars off the bottom. I measured the inside of my stock pot and then looked on Amazon for a cake rack to fit.


You've heard the saying "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without," right? Those fruit scraps could have ended up in my compost pile, which wouldn't have been a bad thing. 

I could have given them to my chickens, which also would have been a good way to use them up.

Instead they became a marvelous, delicious addition to our pantry.

You'll find my food preserving posts here along with resources for canning safety and some frugal tips.

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Related posts:
Rose Petal Jelly
Blackberry Jam
Triple Berry Jam

Pinterest image: "Turn fruit scraps into mixed fruit jelly"


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