A delicious, easy homemade Strawberry Jam recipe made with just four ingredients! This easy strawberry jam is perfect for beginner jam-makers to make a small-batch jam and use up lots of fresh strawberries.
I think I’ve always held this misguided belief that jam making was some kind of terribly tricky art. I imagine a grandmother standing over a large pot the size of a large cauldron, stirring laboriously over a pot of bubbling fruity brew…
I’m not entirely sure why my jam-making fantasies seem similar to a witch and their brew. But luckily, making homemade strawberry jam isn’t like that at all (or at least not in this apartment!).
In fact, from lots of research, I now know that it’s best to make jam in smaller batches. Also, that it’s best NOT to continuously stir it, as that can negatively affect the way it cooks. While there is definitely an art to making homemade jams and jellies and preserves – this post is going to be taking you through a strawberry jam recipe so easy that absolutely anyone can do it.
This easy strawberry jam makes for the perfect beginner jam for all (I also have a Blackberry jam and Raspberry jam). Plus, it’s an excellent base for you to experiment with. Having spoken to friends and family, any jam makers that I know have all said the same thing: great long-term jam making is all about the tweaking and experimentation.
You know those recipes that it seems everyone’s gran knows, and yet they’re all slightly different? Well, that is what jam-making can become if you want it to. And, if not, then here is a delicious strawberry jam recipe that tastes amazing on its own, even without any adjustments and still tastes SO much better than store-bought versions!
This strawberry jam recipe requires just four simple ingredients:
Strawberries: The star of the show. Choose strawberries that are slightly under-ripe for the best results.
Sugar: For this particular recipe, I’ve decided to use white sugar for that distinctive clean strawberry jam flavor. However, you can experiment with other sugar types, too.
Pectin: You can buy ‘jam sugar,’ which is a combination of white sugar mixed with pectin or buy pectin. I, however, like to purchase the pectin separately. This allows me to experiment with different sugars/sweeteners depending on the jam I’m making.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is added less for flavor, and more for how it helps the jam to set. The pH levels in lemon work as a sort of ‘bond’ to bring the pectin together in the jam mixture and allow it to set. It also helps prevent the growth of bacteria.
Note: I read somewhere that many use bottled lemon juice for their homemade jam recipes due to the fact it has a ‘consistent’ pH level unlike raw lemons, where this can vary. I prefer to use the fresh lemons, though, and haven’t had any issues.
What Is Pectin?
If you’re brand new to this whole jam-making thing and wondering what on earth pectin is, and if it’s natural/healthy. Pectin is a natural soluble fiber found inside a number of fruits and vegetables. It is also the element that allows jellies and jam to set in that wobbly, familiar ‘fruit spread’ way that we know (unlike how fruit compotes are).
When making any homemade jam, it’s quite important to know the pectin level of the fruits that you are using. Strawberries, for example, are low pectin, thus need a helping hand to set correctly. Your choices are to either use jam sugar for that recipe or add more pectin to the recipe.
There are ways to add pectin in without the use of a store-bought ‘pectin’. Such as adding apples or other high-pectin fruits (i.e., citrus fruits like lemons, lime, and oranges, currants, plums, etc.) to the jam along with the strawberries. However, I didn’t want to ‘dilute’ or affect the strawberry flavor in any way (or over complicate things) for this easy strawberry jam.
Thus, this recipe is strawberry jam with pectin.
How To Make Strawberry Jam
Make sure to remove the strawberry stems. You can do that with a small knife and cut off the part where the stem meets the core.
Then, mash the strawberries in a large bowl. You can use a potato masher for this or a similar tool.
Next, mix the sugar and pectin in a separate bowl.
In a medium heavy-based pan, add the crushed fruit, lemon juice, and the sugar-pectin mixture.
Heat on low-medium heat stirring constantly, to dissolve all the sugar. Don’t raise the temperature until all of the sugar is completely dissolved, or else you run the risk of a grain jam and the formation of sugar crystals on the jam.
Then, bring to boil at high heat and let it boil for 5 minutes without stirring.* Towards the end of the boil, skim the foam from the top of the pan, if you prefer jam that isn’t cloudy. You can even add a small amount of butter (like a fingernail size) and this will naturally disperse the foam.
During this time, your jam should have changed from a frothy, fast rolling boil, to a slower boil with a glossy mixture.
*Note: This is all it took to get to the ‘setting’ point in my particular pan. However, this may vary for you. There are two ways to test the jam setting point; first, you could use a thermometer and check that the mixture has reached 105ºC/220ºF.
OR you can place a plate in the fridge/freezer to chill. When you think your jam is set, place a spoonful on the plate and leave for 30 seconds. When you press the jam, if it wrinkles (even a little), then it will set.
Finally, leave the mixture to cool down for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, sterilize all the utensils and containers/jars you will be using for the jam. I wash everything with soapy water and then place it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 160ºC/325ºF to dry completely.
Once done with the sterilizing, transfer the jam into the sterile jars. Make sure not to touch the inside of the jar or jar lid at all and then seal the jars.
Homemade jam made without properly ‘canning’ will last in the fridge for up to three weeks. Or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
You can also use a boiling water canner method (the hot water bath method – as mentioned in my Blackberry Jam recipe) if you want to properly store your jam and strawberry preserves for long-term storage. That way, your jam will last between 1- 1.5 years. keep stored in a cool, dry, dark location.
Serve in all the ways that you would any other jam: spread thick lashings over warm toast and croissants, banana bread, French Toast, and pancakes. You can also spread between the layers of a cake or with ice-cream, spoon into overnight oats, and use in a classic PB&J sandwich. The sky is the limit!
If you give this recipe a go, then let me know your thoughts and any questions in the comments. Also, feel free to tag me in your recreations @AlphaFoodie.
Homemade Strawberry Jam
- 2.2 pounds strawberries best to use fresh, slightly underripe, seasonal strawberries
- 12 ounce white sugar or use jam sugar and omit the additional pectin
- 2 Tbsp pectin
- 1 lemon, juice or around 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
- A large, shallow heavy-based saucepan
- Silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- Potato masher or another similar tool
- Sieve or jelly bag (optional)
- Thermometer (optional)
- Start by removing the stems and then mashing the strawberries in a large bowl. You can use a potato masher for this or a similar tool.
- Next, mix the sugar and pectin in a separate bowl.
- In a medium heavy-based pan, add the crushed fruit, lemon juice, and the sugar-pectin mixture.
- Heat on low-medium heat stirring constantly, to dissolve all the sugar. Don’t raise the temperature until all of the sugar is completely dissolved, or else you run the risk of a grain jam and the formation of sugar crystals on the jam
- Then, bring to boil at high heat and let it boil for about 5 minutes without stirring.* Towards the end of the boil, you can skim the foam from the top of the pan, if you prefer jam that isn't at all cloudy or even add a small amount of butter ( like a fingernail size) and this will naturally disperse the foam.During this time your jam should have changed from a frothy, fast rolling boil, to a slower boil with a glossy mixture.
- Finally, let the mixture cool down for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, sterilize all the utensils and containers/jars you will be using for the jam. I wash everything with soapy water and then place it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 160ºC/325ºF to completely dry it.
- Once done with the sterilizing, transfer the jam into the sterile jars. make sure not to touch the inside of the jar or jar lid at all and then seal the jars.
- Homemade jam made without properly 'canning' will last in the fridge for up to three weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- You can also use a boiling water canner method (the hot water bath method – check my Step-by-Step Guide to Water Bath Canning for Beginners) if you want to properly store your jam and strawberry preserves for long-term storage. That way your jam will last up to 2 years in a cool, dry, dark location.
- Make sure to use a pan large enough to allow plenty of space for the mixture to boil up. It expands quite a lot when boiling.
- It’s best to use a large pan with a heavy base for quick, even cooking. Choosing one that’s larger and shallow ( like a saute pan) is better than one that’s very tall. Copper bases are best, if you have one – but not necessary.
- You can lightly simmer the fruit to begin breaking it down before adding the sugar as this helps the fruit to soften faster and release its pectin. However, it’s not necessary for such a small batch, I find.
- You can experiment with making this jam without the pectin. To do this, you’ll need to throw the lemon peels into the jam along with the juice ( and you may need to increase the lemon juice slightly) then omit the pectin. The lemon pectin will help to set the jam, although it will still be a softer set.
- If having to use overripe strawberries– this will lead to a less acidic, sweeter strawberry mixture, in which case you can reduce the sugar quantity.
- Be aware – If you want to experiment with using less sugar, then you can. However, this will increase the time it takes to reach the setting point ( up to 30-40 minutes!) and will lead to the mixture reducing in size, for a smaller yield. Lower sugar levels will actually also decrease the shelf life too.
- If you end up making your jam too runny, this can be cooked again to thicken up – so it’s always better to undercook rather than overcook.
- The more jam you make, the longer it will take to reach its setting point. Mine is a small-batch jam, so it didn’t take long at all.