Canning - strawberry jam (no added pectin)

Lingering somewhere in the corners of my brain are the strawberry jam memories of my childhood. I loved spending time in a farmer's patch, eating more ripe red berries straight off the plants than would end up in my basket. Then our home would smell of heavenly strawberries and sugar while my dad bubbled jam in a big pot on the stove to fill the glass jars on the kitchen counter. Now it's my turn to give my kids their own strawberry jam memories.

I would love to be able to say I made this jam with berries from my own garden or that I picked them in a farmer's field with the kids. A better foodie would be writing such things. Truth be told, I made this jam with imported berries that I bought at a super cheap price in plastic containers at a big box store. Ha! I'm not perfect. They looked fab and the thought of dragging the kids (ages 4 and 17 months) through rows of dirt at this particular juncture in their upbringing just didn't get me excited. Cheap, pretty, big box berries it is. At least I'm making my own jam.

To prepare:

  • I heat my jars in boiling water then left them in the hot water until ready to be filled. 
  • The sealing discs and bands were also boiled and left in the hot water until ready for use.
  • I also popped a small plate in the freezer to perform my gel test later on. A gel test is performed by spooning a small amount of hot jam onto the cold plate, then returning the plate to the freezer for about two minutes. If the jam wrinkles slightly when poked with a finger you've got jam. Otherwise you've got a jar of runny strawberry sauce. Not the end of the world, but a bit too runny for jam.

Here's how I made it:
makes enough to fill six 250 ml/8 oz jars

4 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
5 cups granulated white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

I added all of the ingredients to my largest stock pot and warmed the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. The heat was then increased to medium-high and I stirred regularly while the jam bubbled away until it passed a gel test (see above), about 30 to 40 minutes.

The hot jam was ladled through a funnel into my hot jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Using a wet paper towel, the jar rims were wiped clean. I secured the hot sealing discs in place with the bands and processed the jars in the boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes, making sure they were at least an inch below the water surface, then removed the jars to cool completely and seal with a POP!

I like jam made with and without added pectin, but it's nice to know how to make it both ways.

Are you and the kids picking berries this season? Or are you buying the ones I'm buying? Ha! Are you making jam memories? Leave a comment and tell me all about your strawberry plans.


  1. Hi Amy,
    This looks easy. Have you ever strained and puréed the jam so there is no chunks or seeds? As my kids need it smooth or they don't like it! I just love your canning recipes, maybe I will do some after all this year:). Kimberly

    1. Hi Kimberly! I have chunk/seed lovers in my family, but if I were aiming for smooth I'd probably puree while hot so that it would gel smooth while cooling. Straining it might be difficult as it is already quite thick after cooking. Let me know if you figure something out that works. I'd love to know!

    2. Igo every year to the strawberry fields with my son who is now 18 and my 24 yr old son with his girlfriend, we pick tons of strawberry and for two days me and his girlfriend cook strawberry jam, my family loves it and gets so upset when we run out and have to buy from the store so I decided this year I will can twice as much because in the long run it saves me lots of money.

  2. My email addy is skstorteboom(at)gmail(dot)com. Kimberly

  3. Hi amy! When you, "processed the jars in the boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes, then removed them to cool completely" is a large pot of boiling water enough for this step and how full is the pot? I dont have a bath canner and was just wondering if a large pot of water would do the trick?
    Thanks! L

    1. Hi! Jars should be at least 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the boiling water while processing. You don't need a traditional water bath canning pot, but it does help to have a jar rack in the water to keep the jars upright while processing. If the jars move around too much or tilt to the side, they may not form a vacuum seal. My water bath canner, including rack, was only about $20, and it's been a worthwhile investment for me. Thanks for the great questions!

    2. Below the last picture you mentioned "butter in this recipe" but I don't see butter listed in the ingredients. How much butter do you use?

    3. Thanks for pointing that out! This recipe had a couple tablespoons of butter when I first wrote it, but I've since taken it out of the recipe. It's not necessary.

  4. I love the Best Vacuum Sealer I half wish my old one would quit working so I could buy this new model, but I guess it would be a bit silly to buy it when mine works fine.
    Sarah, I'd call FoodSaver and return it if it doesn't work. I had one that quit working once (after years!) and they sent me a new one just for the cost of shipping