This Homemade Strawberry Jam recipe is a classic. It has all of the sweetness, bright strawberry flavor, and texture that I love in a good jam. Plus, this recipe is made for water bath canning. So make a batch now and enjoy summery strawberry goodness all year long. (And if you love homemade jam, also check out my recipe for Blueberry Lemon Jam.)
Strawberry jam is one of the first canning projects I usually tackle when canning season begins to roll around. It really starts to feel like summer is on the way when those first sweet strawberries appear. And after eating my fair share of fresh strawberries, I make sure to make a few batches of jam. I like to have a good supply to always have a fresh jar to pop open throughout the year. And in our house, we love the flavor and texture of a classic strawberry jam. And by classic, I mean with the sweetness, bright strawberry flavor, and texture that we expect in a strawberry jam. Much like the old-fashioned store-bought jam – only better!
Why use added pectin in this recipe?
Now I know there are folks who have strong feelings about not using pectin in their jams, and I totally get it. We should all do things the way we like to. And don’t get me wrong, I never met a strawberry jam I didn’t like, pectin or no. But for me, pectin (either store-bought or homemade pectin) has a time and place, including in this version of my homemade strawberry jam.
Strawberries are naturally low in pectin, so a batch without pectin requires a longer cooking time to reach a gel stage than a strawberry jam made with added pectin. And while still delicious, long-cooked jams definitely have a different flavor than the bright fruit flavor of a jam that is cooked quickly. The added pectin reduces cooking time by about 75% and so preserves the fresh strawberry flavor and also color. In addition, since much of the juice is cooked off during the cooking of a long cook jam, using added pectin increases the yield and results in more jars of finished jam. And I don’t know about you, but when I make jam, more is better. But if you would like to make your jam without adding pectin, check out these instructions by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Is this a low-sugar jam recipe?
I would say this is a moderate-sugar jam. Many jam recipes often call for as much sugar cup-for-cup as fruit (and sometimes even more). In our family, we like a sweet jam, but not one that is so sweet that it overpowers the fruit flavor. So in this recipe, I use about half the amount of sugar by volume as fruit.
But taste preferences aside, there is another reason to consider using a bit of sugar in your jam recipes. Sugar acts as a preservative and helps prolong the shelf life of the jam, helping to retain its quality during storage. And after opening your jar of jam and popping it in the fridge, the sugar helps the jam stay good longer here, too, by slowing down the formation of mold. This article by Simply Canning sums up the preservative role of sugar in jams and jellies nicely.
But I know that some people avoid sugar for health reasons or other personal reasons. So if you are looking for canning jams with low or no sugar, I will refer you to this article on canning with less sugar by the Penn State Extension.
Tips for Making Homemade Strawberry Jam with Pectin:
Use good fruit. Use good quality strawberries to make your jam. You don’t want to use fruit that is too overripe, underripe, mushy, or moldy. Cut off any bruised or blemished spots. The best quality fruit makes the best quality jam.
Keep down the foam. Of all of the jams I make, strawberry jam likes to foam up the most while cooking. You can minimize this by adding a small pat of butter to the jam while it’s cooking. You can also skim the foam off. Of course, the foam is not harmful, so you don’t really need to worry about a small amount of foam in your jam. Try to avoid a large amount of foam, however, as might cause problems down the road with the longevity of your jam in storage.
For me, I typically skip the butter. To remove most of the foam, I remove the finished pan of jam from the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Then I skim the foam from the top of the jam and proceed with ladling it into hot jars. If I have enough foam leftover, I put it into a jar and pop it into the fridge to use with toast or waffles.
Water bath can or freeze your jam. You will need to preserve your jam. If you don’t know how to water bath can, you have two options. You can freeze this jam in freezer-safe containers for up to 12 months. I like to use BPA-free plastic pint containers for this like these containers (affiliate link). The other option is to learn to water bath can. It’s very easy and there is nothing to worry about when using safe, approved canning methods. This tutorial by Ball gives great instructions for getting started. And I highly recommend this book by the USDA. It gives good, solid information for both beginners and experienced home canners.
Store any extras in the fridge. When making jam, you’ll often find that you don’t have quite enough towards the end of the batch to fill a whole jar. If this happens to you, simply ladle the extra into a jar and store it in the refrigerator and eat it up before opening a jar (though I guarantee it won’t be around for long!)
Keep it safe. Boiling-hot jam is like molten lava. Because of the added sugar, jam boils at a temperature higher than water and sticks to everything (including skin and clothing). So please be careful while making jam and be sure not to splatter yourself or get the hot jam onto your skin. Keep kids and pets away from the kitchen, and keep your kitchen free of distractions.
Label your jars. It’s so tempting to believe that you’ll recognize the contents of the jar and so skip the labeling part. I’ve been there and done that, and trust me when I say that it’s not a good idea. Unless strawberry jam is the only homemade jam you have in your pantry, you will likely run into a problem sorting out which jar is which when it comes time to pull one off the shelf. So save yourself the trouble and go ahead and label those jars (and include the date, too!)
So I hope you try this Homemade Strawberry Jam recipe. If you do, please leave a review and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
I hope you enjoy!
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase.*
- 4 pounds of strawberries
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons low or no-sugar needed powdered pectin
- 4 cups of granulated sugar, divided
- Wash and hull and the berries. Add them to a large bowl and crush them with a potato masher. Stir water, pectin, and 1/4 cup of the sugar into the berries.
- Pour the crushed berry mixture into a large, deep-sided saucepan or Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Bring the jam mixture to a boil, then add the remaining sugar. Stir continuously and boil hard for 1 minute.
- Remove jam from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Skim off any foam.
- If you are canning the jam, ladle jam into hot clean jars, allowing 1/4-inch headspace. De-bubble and wipe the rims clean. Place lids and bands on each jar and adjust to fingertip-tight. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
- For freezing, allow the jam to cool for another 10 minutes, and then ladle it into freezer-safe containers, leaving an inch or so for expansion. Freeze for up to 12 months (but the quality is best by 6 months.)