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Easy Homemade Strawberry Jam with Pectin

This Homemade Strawberry Jam with pectin recipe is a delicious homemade strawberry jam. 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 (or freezing). So make a batch now and enjoy summery strawberry goodness all year long.  (And if you love to make your own jam, also check out my recipe for Blueberry Lemon Jam.)

Jars of Homemade Strawberry Jam with Pectin

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 while you can pick up strawberries at the market, it’s a fun activity to go strawberry picking for your own berries!) And after eating my fair share of these 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.

Why use added pectin in this recipe?

Now I know some folks have strong feelings about not using pectin in their jams, and I 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 not. But for me, I like to use pectin in certain jams, 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 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 mold formation. 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 the Penn State Extension article on canning with less sugar.

Ingredients for Strawberry Jam with Pectin:

There are only a few simple ingredients for making this Strawberry Jam with Pectin

Ripe Strawberries – Use fresh strawberries without mold or rotten spots. If there are small blemishes, you can remove those with a paring knife. If it’s wintertime when you are making jam, I’ve also successfully used frozen strawberries. For this recipe, you will need 4 pounds of strawberries.

Pectin – I use powdered pectin that is made for less-sugar or no-sugar recipes. I like the Sure Jell, Ball, and Mrs. Wages pectins. 

Sugar – Use any type of granulated sugar that you prefer. I like to use raw cane sugar in my jam. I would avoid brown sugar as it will give the jam a dark appearance.

Optional Fresh lemon juice or bottled lemon juice. I don’t use lemon juice in my strawberry jam because it’s unnecessary for safety. Strawberries are already acidic and don’t require added acid. But if you like the lemony flavor, you can add a tablespoon or two of fresh or bottled lemon juice. 

Jar of Homemade Strawberry Jam

Tips for Making Homemade Strawberry Jam with Pectin:

Use good quality fruit and give it a good mashing. 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.

And you’ll want to make sure you mash it up well, too. I like to use my potato masher to crush the strawberries. I don’t recommend using a food processor because it introduces too much air into the crushed strawberries and can sometimes cause the jam to have a lot of air bubbles. Crush them finely for a smoother jam or crush them coarsely for a chunky jam.

Bring it to a boil. When cooking the jam, be sure to bring it to a full rolling boil. A gentle simmer won’t be enough to thicken the 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 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 to ladle it into hot jars. If I have enough foam left over, I put it into a jar and pop it into the fridge to use with toast or waffles.

Boiling Water Bath can or freeze your jam. You will need to preserve your jam. Your options are to freeze your jam or use the boiling water bath canning method. You can freeze this jam in freezer-safe containers for up to 12 months. This recipe makes a very good strawberry freezer jam. I like to use BPA-free plastic pint containers for this like these containers (affiliate link).

The other option is to water bath can your jam. This canning method is 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, 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 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!)

Homemade Strawberry Jam on Cornbread


If you try this recipe for Easy Homemade Strawberry Jam, I hope you love it. And follow me on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram so you don’t miss a post. 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain Amazon or other affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase.

{Please note. I slightly updated this recipe on May 25th, 2024. The original recipe called for added water, which I removed in this update to make it more foolproof and ensure a better gel.}

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Jars of Homemade Strawberry Jam with Pecin

Easy Homemade Strawberry Jam (with Pectin)


  • Author: My Homemade Roots
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Approximately 8 half-pints 1x

Description

A delicious Homemade Strawberry Jam made with pectin and bursting with strawberry flavor.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 pounds of whole strawberries
  • 1 (1.75-ounce) package of low or no-sugar-needed powdered pectin
  • 4 cups of granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (this is optional and is only for flavor)

Instructions

  1. Wash and hull the berries. Add them to a large bowl and crush them with a potato masher. Stir pectin and 1/4 cup of sugar into the berries.
  2. Pour the crushed berries 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.
  3. Remove jam from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Skim off any foam.
  4. If you are canning the jam, ladle jam into hot, clean half-pint 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. (See note below for a link to a full canning tutorial.)
  5. For freezing, allow the jam to cool for another 10 minutes, then ladle it into freezer-safe containers, leaving an inch or so for expansion. Freeze for up to 12 months (but I find the quality is best by 6 months.)

Notes

If you are planning to can this recipe and are new to canning, you will need to learn the proper, safe procedure for water bath canning (don’t worry – it’s easy!) Ball Canning has a great tutorial here: Water Bath Canning

I’ve noticed in the comments that some readers have had issues with the jam setting too loosely. Please note, that you MUST use a low-sugar or no-sugar-needed pectin to ensure that your jam sets properly with this recipe. Use a pectin like Sure-Jell, Ball, or Mrs. Wages, not a 2-part pectin like Pomona’s Universal Pectin.

To adjust the canning time for altitude, see this chart by Ball Canning: https://www.ballmasonjars.com/adjust-high-altitude-canning.html

This recipe is adapted from the Low or no sugar needed Sugar Strawberry Jam Recipe on page 55 of The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving 37th edition.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: strawberry jam, preserving jam, strawberry recipes

the best classic strawberry jam with pectin

46 Comments

  • Terri Jones
    June 21, 2022 at 7:23 am

    I love homemade jams and this recipe sounds like a keeper! Could I use peaches instead of strawberries with this recipe? Not that I don’t love strawberries, but I just ordered 25 lbs. of peaches.

    Reply
    • Melissa
      June 21, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Terri, I haven’t tried this recipe with peaches so I can’t say for sure if it will work. Most peach jam recipes call for added lemon juice, although I suspect this is probably to keep the peaches from turning brown. I like this recipe by Sure Jell for peach jam. Also, be sure to use only yellow peaches for jam as the white peaches are too low in acidity for water bath canning. I hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Sarah L
      July 15, 2022 at 10:39 pm

      I just received my 25 pounds of peaches. I peeled them and cut peaches and used my seal a meal to seal them and put them into my freezer. Then I took my peelings and pits and covered in water and brought to a rapid boil and boiled them for 30 minutes. Then strained the juice out with a fine strainer or cheesecloth. I put juice up overnight in my refrigerator. Next day I prepared my jars. And used filling recipe to make jelly.
      3 1/2 cups of the juice
      1/2 tsp of real butter
      1 box of pectin
      Bring to a rapid boil
      Then add 4 1/2 cups of sugar and keep stirring untilit reaches a rapid boil again. The boil for 1 minute. Then set aside from burner and ladel into your jars. This make 6 half pint jars.
      I still have more juice to process in my refrigerator. And will continue the recipe until I use up my juice and what I have left will make some peach syrup for pancakes.

      Reply
  • Miz Helen
    June 29, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Your awesome post is featured on Full Plate Thursday,594!Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

    Reply
    • Melissa
      June 30, 2022 at 8:06 pm

      Thank you, Miz Helen! I hope you have a happy July 4th!

      Reply
  • Jamie
    August 11, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    In the instructions (#4) you say to process for 10 minutes. What does that mean? Let them sit? Or something else? Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Melissa
      August 12, 2022 at 4:39 pm

      It actually means to process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. You don’t want to just allow the jars to sit. They lids may seal, but that’s a possibly unsafe process known as open kettle canning.The National Center for Home Food Preservation has safe and easy instructions for proper boiling water canning that you can follow here. If you don’t want to can the jam, you can just pop it in the freezer.

      Reply
  • Chasity
    August 17, 2022 at 3:24 am

    What do I do when my jam doesn’t set and is still runny? I followed the recipe. I had some peach jelly to do that one time and I just emptied it into a pot and boiled it until I did the sheet test on the back of a spoon. Would that process work on this jam too?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      August 17, 2022 at 5:10 pm

      I’m sorry the jam didn’t set for you. Unfortunately, it does happen sometimes. There are 2 things you can do. The first thing is to just wait. I recently made a batch of blackberry jelly that didn’t set right away. I allowed it to sit in the jars on my counter and after 3 days it set and became firm. The other thing is to do exactly what you just said you did with the peach jelly. Here is a link to the instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: Remaking Jams and Jellies. I hope this helps

      Reply
  • Donna
    January 17, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    i plan to use your recipe when the really frsh strawberries are in season I have some questions in order to ensure success- when using pectin do i need lemon juice too< and does the jam need to reach 220 degrees, and could you please recommend a particular pectin? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Melissa
      January 20, 2023 at 6:12 pm

      You don’t need lemon juice for this particular recipe. And you won’t need to use a thermometer to check the temp. Simply bring the jam to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. As for brands of pectin, I typically use Sure Jell or Ball. But you can use any powdered pectin as long as it is one that is formulated for using less sugar or no sugar. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Donna
    January 28, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you so much! I can’t wait for the strawberries !

    Reply
  • Mary
    March 8, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    I’m preparing to make this but ended up with 6 pounds of strawberries. I assume I should go with 6 cups of sugar. How should I adjust the water and pectin?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Melissa
      March 9, 2023 at 8:10 pm

      It can be tricky to increase the quantities in a jam recipe. For some reason, the jam sometimes doesn’t set properly. If you want to use all 6 pounds of strawberries, I would use 6 cups of sugar, and 1 1/2 cups of water. But I would double the pectin to 8 tablespoons, just to be sure to get a good set. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
      • Donald
        July 3, 2023 at 2:17 pm

        I used this conversion without really reading the entire article. I didn’t see I was supposed ti 7se low surgar pactin. I used certo pectin and it didn’t set up. It has been 24 hours. What should I do to make this work or is it to late? Any help would be appreciated.

        Reply
        • Melissa
          July 3, 2023 at 4:00 pm

          So sorry to hear about this! I know how frustrating it is when your jam doesn’t set! In this situation, I usually do one of two things. One option is to use the jam as a strawberry syrup. You can use it on pancakes and waffles, drizzle it over cheesecake, add it to lemonade, etc. The second option is to remake it, which essentially means to recook it. If you choose this option, be sure that you are using powdered pectin that is made for NO SUGAR recipes. You will also need to add lemon juice. This article HERE gives complete instructions on remaking runny jam. I hope this helps!

          Reply
  • Lameta
    March 9, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    Can you tell me how to break down pounds by cups? Or can you? I don’t have a scale
    Thanks
    Lameta

    Reply
  • Linda
    March 31, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    I am in the middle of making my strawberry jam, but you said to; crush them with a potato masher, I am having a hard time with this, for as they are not mashing well?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      April 2, 2023 at 6:41 pm

      You can use any utensil that works for you to crush the strawberries. And it’s OK if they aren’t completely mashed and are still a little bit chunky.

      Reply
  • Ash
    May 15, 2023 at 6:10 am

    Is it possible to use regular pectin in this recipe or does it have to be low sugar?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      May 16, 2023 at 7:07 pm

      It needs to be pectin made for low-sugar or no-sugar recipes, otherwise, the jam probably won’t set. The reason for this is that this recipe doesn’t contain as much sugar as many classic jam recipes do. However, low sugar pectin should be easy to find at your local grocery store. I like both the Sure-Jell and the Ball brands.

      Reply
      • Rachelle Fleischman
        May 31, 2023 at 7:27 am

        If I used the regular pectin, do you have a suggestion to help make it set? It’s my first time making it and I followed everything else. Tastes delicious just hasn’t set.

        Reply
        • Melissa
          May 31, 2023 at 7:43 am

          Unfortunately, the jam won’t set if you use regular pectin because it doesn’t have enough sugar to do so. You really need to use pectin that is made for low-sugar or no-sugar jam for this particular recipe. (I’m sorry, I know this probably isn’t the answer you wanted to hear.)

          But there is some good news. What I do when a jam or jelly fails to set is to call it syrup. You can use it on pancakes, ice cream, waffles, or add it to a pitcher of lemonade. There are so many delicious uses for strawberry syrup!

          There is one other possibility, but it’s something I almost never do myself. But you can remake the jam. You will need to add more pectin and reprocess the jam. If this is something that interest you, you can read more about it here: Remaking Soft Jellies

          I hope this helps!

          Reply
  • Kristy
    May 27, 2023 at 9:48 pm

    What size canning jar do you use and how many?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      May 28, 2023 at 4:49 pm

      The recipe makes *about* 6 pints. So you’ll need 5-6 pint jars, or 10-12 half pint jars.

      Reply
  • Gloria Smith
    June 8, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    This recipe proved to be delicious and a beautiful bright red color, but really didn’t jell well yet I do have a very nice soft jam that is tasty. I processed in water bath for 10 min and all sealed. Will this soft jam keep sealed at ROOM temp, or need to refrigerate?

    Also if would be helpful to give measurements of amt. crushed berries. Thx!

    Reply
    • Melissa
      June 8, 2023 at 4:26 pm

      It’s very likely that your jam will firm up over the next week or so. Just allow the jars to sit undisturbed in the pantry or another cool place. And as long as you used approved canning procedures from Ball or another reputable source, your jars of jam are shelf stable, so no need to refrigerator your sealed jars.

      And that is a great idea about adding the measurements for the crushed berries. I will definitely do that. From my calculations, it should be approximately 7-8 cups of crushed strawberries. And here is a link to a website that gives conversions for different amounts of strawberries: Strawberry Measures and Equivalents

      Reply
  • Marti
    June 12, 2023 at 12:22 am

    I’ve found that using pure cane sugar as opposed to granulated sugar does better making it gel. The store brands of granulated sugar use both cane and beet sugar and didn’t work well for me.

    Reply
  • Melissa Phillips
    June 21, 2023 at 9:59 pm

    How many jars of jam does this make??

    Reply
  • Corinne
    June 30, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    What should I do with the calcium powder included?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      June 30, 2023 at 9:33 pm

      So if your pectin includes a calcium packet, I’m going to assume that you are using Pomona’s Pectin. That is a different type of pectin that requires the addition of the calcium packet dissolved in water. It won’t work with this specific recipe, but Pomona has their own strawberry jam recipe that you can use. You can get the recipe on their website . I hope this helps. And I’m sorry for the confusion. I am going to update the recipe to indicate that it won’t work with Pomona’s.

      Reply
  • Shannon
    July 11, 2023 at 1:40 am

    I made your recipe and did the water bath for canning. The jam is delicious and perfect….BUT I am fairly new to canning and in my recent reading I have learned I am supposed to add lemon juice to the jam for the PH and to be safe for consumption.
    Is this true? Or will my jam be ok?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      July 11, 2023 at 4:47 am

      If you followed proper canning procedures, then the jam is perfectly safe to eat! When you are water bath canning, you need the food in the jar to be at a pH of 4.6 or lower. The heat of the boiling water kills the microorganisms, but it’s the acid in the jam that will prevent bacterial spores (like botulism!) and from forming in the anaerobic (low oxygen) environment of the sealed jar. As strawberries are in the pH of around 3 – 3.5, they are well in the safe range. We call this a high acid fruit, and so they do not need added acid like lemon juice to be safe. In fact, most (but not all) fruits are considered high acid foods and do not need to be acidified in order to be safely canned. Bananas, melons, white peaches, and a few other fruits can’t be safely water bath canned without adding acid.

      But you will find there are jam recipes that call for added lemon juice. This can be to lower the pH, or for simply for flavor, or to help the jam set (acidity is also a factor in the gelling of a jam or jelly). Also, tomatoes are right on the cusp of being at a safe level of acidity, so you MUST add bottled lemon juice or citric acid when canning. For more information on the subject, the Ball canning books are a good source. Also, the National Center for Home Food Preservation website is a great resource. And please know that I will never share a canning recipe that isn’t safe. I’m not a food scientist, but I am a biologist by education, and I take food safety very seriously. I hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Melissa
      July 11, 2023 at 5:49 am

      I also wanted to give you a link to the National Center for Home Food Preservation recipe for canning strawberry jam. They are funded by the USDA and are one of the “official” sources for safe practices for home food preservation. Their recipe contains only sugar, pectin, and berries. I hope this reassures you as to safety. There is a lot of interesting information about canning on the internet, so if in doubt, it’s best to go to an official source for your information. NCHFP recipe for Strawberry Jam.

      Reply
  • […] Strawberry jam– if you use pectin, you won’t need as much sugar, and can teach about the properties of pectin. This recipe allows you to adjust the size of the batch.  […]

    Reply
  • Bekka fetch
    September 1, 2023 at 7:09 pm

    I love jams over jelly, containing bits of the fruit used. I made this recipe almost exactly as recommended by the author. I did the thick jam with the most pectin which is still a nice spreadable jam. I share the author’s preference for using pectin to maintain the flavor & the taste of strawberries. No one in my family is allergic or has an aversion to pectin. My first batch was made using just sugar and a longer cook. It turned out well, but not the preferred consistency of jam from this recipe. Side by side tasting by family members was unanimous. Jelly with the pectin won. The only thing I added to this recipe was the juice from one freshly squeezed lemon. Yes, this will continue to be my go to for Strawberry jams. Thank you Melissa ♥️

    Reply
    • Melissa
      September 6, 2023 at 9:13 pm

      You are very welcome! I’m so happy that you and your family like the recipe! It’s our family’s favorite.

      Reply
  • Rebecca LaMar
    October 21, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    Well, I didn’t read the article and used regular pectin. Is this a safety concern or mainly for set up?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      October 21, 2023 at 6:58 pm

      It’s to ensure setup. So no worries, it’s not a safety concern.

      Reply
  • Katie
    March 22, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    I am going to be trying this recipe next week. I live at an elevation of 7200 ft. It said see notes for canning time for elevation, but I am not see that?

    Reply
    • Melissa
      March 22, 2024 at 6:16 pm

      Here is a chart by Ball Canning that will give you the correct time for altitude:
      I hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Julie
    May 19, 2024 at 11:50 am

    Is there a reason that this recipe calls for so much water? If the strawberries have a lot of water content, should this amount be decreased? I don’t want the jam to not set because of adding too much water. The low sugar pectin box doesn’t say anything about using water. Thank for your expertise and advice.

    Reply
    • Melissa
      May 19, 2024 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Julie. This recipe is adapted from the 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving in which the recipe does call for 1 cup of water. Also, I often find that store-bought strawberries are often dry and not very juicy when crushed and the extra water helps the to prevent them from scorching as they come to a boil. The added water will cook off as the jam cooks. However, I think you can probably leave out the water or reduce it, if you prefer.

      Reply
  • Angie
    May 24, 2024 at 5:47 pm

    Followed this to a T and mine did not thicken up like jam. It’s more like a sauce

    Reply
    • Melissa
      May 25, 2024 at 3:31 am

      I’m sorry this happened. Sometimes it does happen when making jam. But often if you just allowed the jars to sit for a week or two, the jam will firm up. Hope this helps.

      Reply

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