Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam Recipe

This strawberry jam is great dolloped onto pancakes or homemade bread and can also be used to sandwich together a simple sponge cake. I love it spooned into tiny sweet tart shells with another miniature dollop of whipped cream on the top. If you like, you can make this with some chunks of strawberry, but you can easily tweak it to make it all smooth.–Tessa Kiros

LC No Canning Required Note

Here’s the thing about making and canning jam from scratch—it’s lovely in principle, although not often likely in reality. It’s not the actual act of making preserves that’s hard. It’s the idea of putting up preserves that gives some of us pause. The sterilizing of jars. The worrying about the seal taking. The potential for scrubbing jam off the ceiling.

But rather than go without, some of us lazy home cooks cheat. We make a small batch of strawberry jam and, rather than fuss with canning, we stash it in the fridge in an unsealed, unsterilized, handy little container for a week or so. The small, manageable batch lasts just long enough before we grow tired of the particular flavor. And then we move on to the next fruit that we fancy, using any recipe for preserves but skipping the preserving part. And we always, always, always keep it in the fridge.

The beauty of this approach lies not just in its ease, but in the lesser amount of preserves. As author Tessa Kiros notes, “It’s not necessary to make a supply for the whole year and the whole neighborhood—although wouldn’t that be nice?” In theory, perhaps.

Special Equipment: 4 ounce jelly jars (optional) or other small resealable containers

Strawberry Jam Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups strawberries (try to find small strawberries, which tend to have more flavor than the large ones), rinsed and hulled
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  • 1. Quarter the strawberries or, if they’re especially large, cut them into smaller chunks. Place them in a nonreactive bowl, add the sugar and lemon juice, and toss well. Cover and toss the bowl in the fridge overnight to draw out the strawberries’ juices.
  • 2. The next day, strain all the liquid from the strawberries into a large, heavy-bottomed jam pan or wide saucepan. Add half the strawberries and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the juices are thickened somewhat, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • 3. Transfer the strawberry mixture to the blender and purée until smooth or, if you prefer your jam rather chunky, pulse until the desired consistency. Return the mixture to the pan, add the rest of the strawberries, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes more. To test if the jam is ready, drop a heaping teaspoonful onto a plate and tilt the plate a little. The jam is done when it’s a lovely red hue, looks quite sticky, and doesn’t run off the plate but rather clings to it and slowly glides down the plate. If the jam isn’t ready, put it back on the heat for a while and test it again.
  • 4. Spoon the jam into small jars and refrigerate for up to a couple weeks or spoon it into resealable plastic containers and freeze. You cannot leave this jam on the shelf since it has not been canned using a traditional water bath, but this makes a small batch, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting through it.

Variations

  • Raspberry Jam
  • You can make raspberry jam like this, too. Just pass it through a fine sieve to get rid of the seeds.
  • Canning Tip
  • If you wish instead to actually can the jam, don’t let us deter you. Be sure to sterilize your jars before you have a panful of hot jam ready to put up.
  • Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C).
  • It is always best to use several small jars, rather than one or two big ones. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, or in the dishwasher, and rinse well in hot water. Then place the jars and the lids on a baking sheet for at least 20 minutes, or until you are ready to use them. Don’t use a dish towel to dry them. They should dry thoroughly in the oven.
  • When the jam is ready, spoon it into the warm sterilized jars and close the lids tightly. Turn the jars upside down, cover with a dish towel, and let stand until completely cool. This creates a vacuum that can be seen with the lid. Turn upright and store in a cool dark place.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Julie Dreyfoos

Jun 03, 2010

Oh, this is soooooo good, and so easy to make, that everyone is having PB&Js today in their lunches with homemade strawberry jam! This is the perfect time of year for this recipe. Sweet and delicious strawberries are all over the markets right now. You can’t use them fast enough, but with this recipe, you can cut them up and quickly have fresh homemade jam. The berries I had were really juicy, so it took a bit longer than the recipe states for the strawberries to cook down. If my next strawberries are as juicy, I may cut back on the sugar a tad, as I don’t think it will affect the flavor at all since the berries are so sweet.

Testers Choice
Lori Widmeyer

Jun 03, 2010

I've been on a jam-making binge the last few weeks—just the combination of school back in session and still so much great fruit available. I looked at several strawberry jam recipes before making this one, and all the others had 3 or 4 times as much sugar, so I wondered how this would taste. Everyone in my family loves this jam. My son even said it has "intense fruitiness," and I think that puts it perfectly. So if you're looking for a little less-sweet yet still super strawberry jam, this recipe is amazing. I took a tip from a friend and tried freezing what we weren't using. It was only frozen for 2 weeks because the first jar of jam disappeared so fast, but it worked great and is much easier than canning.

Comments
Comments
  1. Alexander says:

    Hmmm, no processing in a water bath?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      That’s the entire point, Alexander. We’re not pretending these will last as long as properly canned preserves. The jam is kept in the refrigerator for just a few weeks, where the chill of the fridge serves to deter any icky bacteria, just as the water-processing would do for jam destined for a room-temperature shelf for several months.

      • Susan says:

        Thank you for the recipe! But is there a way to do the water-processing of this recipe so it will last longer? WOULD the recipe need to be different for that to happen?

        • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

          You can absolutely do the traditional jarring approach with this recipe, Susan. The recipe remains exactly the same. We envy you, with ample jam to get you through the next several months…

  2. Joan says:

    This is a lot of fussing over not much jam, goes on for 2 days and takes up room in my fridge overnight…I would prefer to make freezer jam in an hour or 2, and freeze it. It tastes very fresh, especially using a low sugar pectin. I would definitely NOT “seal” the jars by turning them upside down. In my 20 years as a Master Food Preserver the most frequent complaint involved that method because they don’t seal! Either really seal them with the boiling water method, freeze them, or keep in the fridge in a jar for a shorter time. Get the current Ball Blue Book which will help with all your preserving, or go Ball’s freshpreserving.com. Don’t worry about the boiling water processing, it’s not that big a deal.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Of course you’re perfectly welcome to use the freezer tactic with this jam, Joan. The recipe itself will work any which way. We simply prefer the approach above. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, whichever your approach…

  3. marcella says:

    what if I use some pectin (or those pectin-enriched sugars) to cut down the boiling time to a few minutes? would this cut down the keeping time too?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      As with baking, preserving is a science, each recipe it’s own little science project. You could add some pectin for a thicker consistency and to cut down the cooking time somewhat (but by how much, it’s difficult to say). I haven’t heard of the addition of pectin shortening the keeping time. If you do the refrigerator jam approach, it will last only a few weeks anyways, so just keep it properly sealed and use it up quickly (not a problem, we’re told by those who have made it) and you shouldn’t have any problems.

  4. Julie Dreyfoos, LC Production Manager says:

    This recipe is simple to use with any of your favorite summer fruits, I used 3 1/2 pounds of peaches to a scant 3 cups of sugar, lightly pulsed the peaches in the food processor before cooking added a little lemon juice and cooked down in the same manner as above. Adjust your sugar accordingly to the sweetness of the peaches. Delicious!

  5. John From Raleigh says:

    Great recipe…I have been making jam for a few years but as I start my first batch of the season, I like to check out other recipes. I have two quick questions, why superfine sugar vs. regular and do you feel macerating the strawberries first adds extra depth to the flavor of the jam? I currently just chop them and then bring them to a boil to draw out the juices.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Many thanks, John. The superfine will simply dissolve more quickly than granulated. I dare say in the end, as long as you wait for the sugar to dissolve, it won’t make an appreciable difference. As for the macerating of the berries, we don’t honestly know, as we didn’t do a side-by-side tasting. I wonder if perhaps it’s just tradition, as I grew up sugaring berries and setting them aside until they’d given up their juices? Anyone have any thoughts?

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail