The Best Strawberry Jam Recipe Ever
Strawberry jam is a great way to preserve strawberries from the garden to enjoy later. Strawberry jam tastes great on toast, on pancakes, in cookies, in oatmeal, and more.
How to Make Strawberry Jam
Strawberries are not high in natural pectin, so it will take more sugar to thicken the jam. You can add pectin to reduce the amount of sugar in the jam. Depending on the varieties of your strawberry plants, you may not have enough strawberries to enjoy and make jam in a single harvest (especially the first year of harvest). Strawberries don’t keep very long in the refrigerator, so wash and hull them (remove the tops), and freeze them to wait for an additional harvest. While the texture may taste a little different than fresh, you’ll still get the best tasting strawberry jam ever. You can read more about growing and harvesting your own strawberries in this article.
Traditional Strawberry Jam Recipe Ingredients
- Strawberries: Strawberries are the star of this show. There are many health benefits to consuming strawberries including anti-oxidant benefits like preventing cardiovascular disease, decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol, decreasing systolic blood pressure, and preventing cancer. You can read more about the health benefits of homegrown strawberries in this article.
- Sugar: Sugar is needed for preservation and thickening. If you want to omit the sugar and use strictly honey, then you’ll need to add pectin for the jam to thicken. (I try to avoid sugar because of the chemicals used in processing sugar, and usually substitute it with local honey.)
- Honey: Honey has many medicinal benefits, and can help boost the immune system. Honey in this recipe can be omitted and replaced with sugar.
- Lemon: Lemon has lots of natural pectin, and adding lemon eliminates the need to add commercial pectin. Pectin can be found in the lemon juice, lemon peel, and lemon plith. Lemon also adds acid to the jam to increase the safety of canning.
- Pectin (optional): Some people prefer the consistency of jams with pectin, and can be added to this recipe if desired. Jam made with commercial pectin has texture similar to store-bought jams.
Easy Strawberry Jam Equipment
- 10 Half-pint Mason Jars and lids (or 20 Jelly jars) (Amazon affiliate link)
- Water bath canner (Amazon affiliate link)
- Canning tongs, funnel, and de-bubbler (Amazon affiliate link)
- 4 Quart Pot (Amazon affiliate link)
- Candy thermometer (optional) (Amazon affiliate link)
Canned Strawberry Jam Recipe
Use the different portion sizes to make (located next to the ingredients list):
- 0.5x for 10 jelly jars (4 ounce)
- 1x for 10 half-pint jars (8 ounce), or 20 jelly jars (4 ounce)
- 2x for 10 pint jars (16 ounce), or 20 half-pint jars (8 ounce), or 40 jelly jars (4 ounce)
- 3x for 10 wide mouth pint and a half jars (24 ounce), or 30 half-pint jars (8 ounce), or 60 jelly jars (4 ounce)
- 4x for 10 quart jars (32 ounce), 13 wide mouth pint and a half jars (24 ounce), or 20 pint jars (16 ounce), or 40 half-pint jars (8 ounce)
Homemade Strawberry Jam Recipe
- 3 pounds Washed and hulled strawberries (about 8 cups of diced strawberries)
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup Honey
- 1 Lemon (you can substitute 2 teaspoons of lemon juice)
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- Clean and sterilize the jars, lids, and rings for canning. Use a sink full of extremely hot water, or you can run them through the dishwasher.
- Wash and hull strawberries, and remove any blemishes. Then puree the strawberries using a food processor (or mash in a bowl). Slice the lemon in half.3 pounds Washed and hulled strawberries
- Combine the strawberry puree with honey, sugar, vanilla, and lemon halves into a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens (about 1-1.5 hours). Be sure to leave the lid off and stir frequently to prevent scorching.3 pounds Washed and hulled strawberries, 3/4 cup Sugar, 3/4 cup Honey, 2 teaspoons Vanilla, 1 Lemon
- Measure the amount of water needed in the water bath canner by filling the jars with water, and placing them in the water bath canner on the rack. Fill the water bath canner until the jars are completely submerged in water, giving an extra inch of water for evaporation. Pull the full jars of water out, and start heating the canner with the lid on.
- When the jam gets near the gelling point, bubbles or foam will cover the surfaces of the jam. Continue boiling the jam until it reaches 220°F, and the jam should set nicely (make sure the candy thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot). You can also check the jam with a cold spoon, dipping it in the jam and lifting it above the pot. The jam should no longer drip off the spoon, but "sheet off" the spoon.
- Remove the lemon halves.1 Lemon
- Place the funnel on the jar, and ladle the strawberry jam into jars, leaving 1/4" to 1/2" of headspace. Use a canning de-bubbler or knife to remove any air bubbles. Clean the brim and place the lids on, and place the rings on fingertip tight (pretend you are tightening a lid for a 3 year old to open).
- Process the strawberry jam for 5 minutes in 1/2 pint and pint jars, 10 minutes for quart jars in a boiling water bath canner. (Use the rack, and be sure that the boiling water covers the jars.) Adjust processing time according to altitude.)
- Remove the jars with canning tongs, and place them on a towel on the counter to let them cool.
- Leave them to seal until tomorrow. Don't touch them, just let them do their thing. (You'll hear the seals popping almost immediately, but leave them alone until they cool.)
- The next day, you can remove the rings. Check the seals by lifting the jar by just the lid. If the seal holds, it is good for storage. Store at room temperature for up to 18 months without the rings, and do not set anything on top of the lid (this can affect the seal).
Strawberry Jam Combinations and Substitutes
- Strawberry Jam Recipe With Pectin or Without Pectin: This homemade jam recipe works great with or without pectin. Pectin simply thickens the jam, and can reduce the amount of time it takes to simmer the jam. Some people prefer the extra thick texture of homemade preserves with pectin, others prefer the softer and easier to spread texture of jam without pectin.
- Healthy Strawberry Jam Recipe: For a healthy homemade strawberry jam recipe, you can reduce the amount of sugar or honey to 1 cup, but be sure to add 6 tablespoons of low sugar pectin.
- Strawberry Jam With Honey (No Sugar): For making jam without sugar, you can completely replace the sugar with honey, just be sure to add low sugar pectin.
- Strawberry Jelly: You can make strawberry jelly by blending the strawberries to a juice-like consistency, replace the honey with sugar, and add 4 tablespoons of regular pectin.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam: For a delicious spin on strawberry jam, substitute 8 cups of diced strawberries with 4 cups of rhubarb and 4 cups of strawberries.
- Strawberry Apple Jam: For a delicious spin on homemade strawberry jam, substitute 8 cups of diced strawberries with 6 cups of diced strawberries and 2.25 cups of diced apples (about 6 apples). Apples are high in natural pectin, so adding apples will create a thicker jam.
- Unsealed strawberry jam is good in the refrigerator for about 1 month (you’ll be able to tell when it is bad). Homemade strawberry jam spoils faster than store-bought jam, because homemade jam is not loaded with unhealthy preservatives.
- Jam that turns out runny is usually due to not simmering long enough for adequate evaporation, and it most likely did not thicken and reach the 220 degree temps required for gelling. Runny jam is still good, you can use it more like a syrup than jam. You can also re-boil the jam to thicken it (it won’t take as long since it’s a smaller batch).
- Strawberry jam can turn brown over time when stored in the pantry. It is still safe to eat (as long as there are no other signs of spoilage). Additional lemon juice or citric acid can prevent browning. There is also an old trick of putting wax paper on top of the jam inside the jar to extend the shelf life of the jam. The paper absorbs the moisture, and prevents spoilage.