Recipe – Strawberry Jam and Canning Tips

This super simple strawberry jam recipe is the perfect place for a beginning canner to start. Three simple ingredients (no pectin), 10 minutes cooking, and 10 minutes processing in a hot water bath equal capturing the most delicious taste of summer for months to come!

My first few tries of canning a fruit using pectin resulted in disaster. That’s why I was ecstatic to find a fruit jam recipe without pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring indigestible fiber found the walls of the cells of most fruits. When heated with sugar and a liquid, it gels, giving jams, jellies and preserves their thickness. However, in a lot of jam and jelly recipes, they include store-bought pectin. One day store-bought pectin and I will have a heart-to-heart and we’ll figure it out, but until then I’ll stick to recipes without it.

This recipe originated from Saving the Season – one of my favorite canning books – but the recipe has been passed around home canners and bloggers for generations.

When I go to try a new recipe, I first go to Mary Randolph’s “The Virginia Housewife” to see if it’s in there. The Virginia Housewife was written in 1860, and I prefer to use vintage, whole-food recipes over newer, more complicated recipes. However, for this strawberry jam, Ms. Randolph calls for an equal amount of sugar to strawberries! Two pounds of sugar to two pounds of strawberries! Um…no thank you.

“To each pound of ripe [strawberries], put one pound of loaf sugar–stir it frequently, and stew till it is a thick jelly.” – Mary Randolph

Strawberry Picking With the Baby

So while our strawberry plants aren’t nearly at the point where they can give us two pounds of strawberries, Grandma and I took the baby strawberry picking. There’s nothing better than fresh strawberries, warmed from the sun, picked straight off the plant. After picking we sat and happily munched away at our harvest. The second best to field-fresh is preserved.

Jams, Jellies, and Preserves – Oh My!

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between preserves, jams, and jellies? Preserves are where the chunks of fruit are almost intact and are canned with a syrup or jam. In a jam, the fruit is crushed so it’s less chunky. In a jelly, the chunks are removed completely and only the fruit juice is used.

strawberry jam jelly presreves recipe canning water bath canning no pectin simple easy

Strawberry Jam Recipe

To make this recipe, simply cut the stems off of two pounds of strawberries and roughly chop them. Cover them with two and a half cups of sugar and the juice from one lemon. (I’ve heard of some people using honey instead to make it healthier, but I haven’t tried that one yet!) Mix to evenly coat. If you have the time, set the bowl aside in your fridge for an hour to let the sugar work its magic and start to pull the pectin out of the berries.

strawberry jam jelly presreves recipe canning water bath canning no pectin simple easy

Heat over mid-high heat until it begins to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. You’ll really be able to smell the lemon here.

How to Can Strawberry Jam

Ladle into sterilized canning jars, wipe the rims and screw on the lids.

strawberry jam jelly presreves recipe canning water bath canning no pectin simple easy

Stand back and admire your handiwork! Aren’t they gorgeous??

How can you use this strawberry jam? Pour it over ice cream, add it to toast or a bagel, pour over cream cheese for a sweet dip. Add it to puff pastry for a quick dessert! Mix a spoonful in with a glass of lemonade for a strawberry kick! Add it to prosecco…or as Mary Randolph said:

“…is very fine to mix with cream for blanc mange, puffs, sweet-meat puddings, etc. etc.” – Mary Randolph

Super Simple Strawberry Jam with Canning Instructions
  • CourseDessert
  • CuisineCanning
Servings5 half-pint jars

  • 2lbs

    ripe strawberries

  • 2.5cups


  • 1Tbsp

    freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cooking Instructions
  1. Wash strawberries, remove caps and roughly chop.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pan. (Optional) Let sit and macerate for an hour or so.
  3. Heat over the stove top, bring to a boil, stirring regularly and mashing with a potato-masher until gel-like. 8-10 minutes.
Canning Instructions
  1. Pour into sterilized half-pint (or jelly) jars, wipe the rims and secure the lids.
  2. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
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With more than 10.000 recipes under her belt, no wonder Nancy is the content manager of The Prepper's Daily Food topic. She embarked long ago on a mission to learn everything there is to know about cooking. She discovered her passion for cooking while spending the summer's over at her grandparents. Their ways fascinated Nancy and cooking something out of nothing, like her granny use to say, became one of her daily routines. After 21 years of culinary experience, she decided to drop her fancy chef career life. The price her family had to pay was too big. Nancy is now taking advantage of the internet and works from home, helping and teaching common people like us to cook for ourselves with as little we have. Just like she learned from her grandparents. I want those who cannot afford to eat out not even once a week, to feel they don't need to. Because they can make one of my quick recipes and feel better about their lives, even if only for some hours. From simple recipes to ancient remedies based on plants, from the garden to the kitchen table, canning and storing, Nancy covers it all.


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