Small Batch Strawberry Jam

Small batch strawberry jam takes the complicated and messy work of canning out of preserving summer’s best flavors. Just fresh berries, sugar, and lemon juice are all you need to put up a jar or two of sweet berry jam.

Two pieces of buttered toast, one with strawberry jam, on a white plate with a spoon and jar of jam in the background.

Adapted from Cynthia Graubart | Strawberry Love | Storey Publishing, 2021

Bright summer berries are a gift from nature made into a jam for morning toast, swirled into meringues, or used atop ice cream. Prepared without the fuss of traditional canning, this jam should be stored in the refrigerator and enjoyed within 3 or 4 weeks.–Cynthia Graubart

WILL MY JAM SET WITHOUT PECTIN?

You’ll find, with a no-pectin jam like this, your jam is going to set with a softer texture. At the same time, you’re able to use a lot less sugar in a recipe without pectin and it won’t affect the setting process. The addition of lemon juice helps the jam to firm up a bit; cooking down the fruit and sugar mixture helps with this, too. The beauty of a recipe like this one is that, if you do find your jam is a little loosey-goosey after spending some time in the fridge, you can always cook it down a little further.

Small Batch Strawberry Jam

Two pieces of buttered toast, one with strawberry jam, on a white plate with a spoon and jar of jam in the background.
The arrival of fresh strawberries signals the start of summer, the time to visit pick-your-own farms and farmers’ markets to stock up on plump, ripe berries. This recipe makes an unfussy version in a smaller size—faster and easier than traditional canning.
Cynthia Graubart

Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 40 mins
Condiments
American
12 servings | Makes 1 1/2 cups
89 kcal
No ratings yet
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Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries hulled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions
 

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook until the berries are bubbling and have begun to soften, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and continue cooking at a simmer until the berries are soft and a spoon leaves a line of separation in the jam when scraping the bottom of the pan, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Pour jam into clean glass jars or freezer-safe containers and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks or freeze for longer storage.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 89kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 23g (8%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 119mg (3%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 9IUVitamin C: 45mg (55%)Calcium: 12mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we're very lucky to have access to some of the best berries. Strawberries are hitting the markets, and the Hoods are everyone's favorites. They're on the small side, and very sweet, and their season is only a few weeks long. My local market sells out of them as quickly as they get them. Hoods are also incredibly delicate, and it's best to use them as soon as you get them home. (Albion strawberries are also showing up in the stores and farmers' markets right now. These berries are sturdier, are available longer, and are also pretty tasty).

Turning these delectable morsels into a sweet jam is a great way to celebrate Spring. I topped a cheesecake with a few spoonfuls of this small batch strawberry jam last night, had some on my morning toast today, and am thinking of swirling some into vanilla ice cream. My batch turned out a little thin initially, which was fine for the cheesecake, and an overnight stay in the refrigerator thickened it up a bit.

This is a nice recipe for small batch strawberry jam to have on hand during strawberry season, especially good to use if you have a lot of berries and you’re worried about using them all at their prime. The proportions are really practical because during strawberry picking season I often have about this amount of strawberries left after eating most of them fresh.

It also called for the right amount of sugar for ripe berries—the jam wasn't overly sweet and retained the rich, ripe berry flavor. It is very quick and super easy to make, and I felt a lot of satisfaction putting the last of the ripe berries to good use.

The jam is very versatile. I use it on toast in the morning, and I’m also using it as an appetizer on a cracker with soft, ripe, goat cheese, this strawberry jam, and chopped basil.

One of my favorite ways to use this is on vanilla ice cream—a dollop of the cooked jam and a few chopped fresh strawberries for contrast. Add a splash of amaretto (and sometimes I include a crumbled amaretti cookie) and you have a wonderful summer dessert that I serve often.


Originally published July 03, 2021

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