Strawberry Jam

rows of jars

Several weeks ago, I got up early on Saturday morning, collected my friend Shay(she’s my regular fruit-picking buddy) and drove half an hour out into the New Jersey countryside. We spent the rest of the morning in the field of Gaventa’s strawberry farm, crouching over the rows of plants, plucking handfuls of berries into our containers. I stopped picked only when the back of my neck had turned a bright pink (I somehow only got sunscreen on my front, it made for an entertaining burn) and the knees of my jeans were stained red from kneeling on errant berries between the rows.

foam-filled measuring cup

I brought home nearly 15 pounds of hard-earned berries (they were $1.35 a pound, I love how inexpensive things can be when you just invest a bit of your own labor). I washed and chopped nearly all of them (I kept about two quarts unchopped for plain old eating) within a couple of hours of getting them home.

I tossed approximately 10 overflowing cups of the processed berries with two cups of sugar and a broken-up vanilla bean and then tucked them into the fridge for a rest, so that they could get nice and vanilla-y. The rest I frozen in quart-sized yogurt containers, using the sugar syrup method recommended by Doris and Jilly (if you haven’t checked out that site yet, do it. There’s lots of good preserving info there).

filled jars

I actually left the strawberries in the fridge for nearly two days before I got around to making jam. When it came time to cook the berries down, I fished the vanilla pieces out (squeezing out the vanilla seeds so that the jam was beautifully flecked) and then poured the berries and all the juice they had produced into my 10 quart stainless steel pot (this stuff foams, so give yourself plenty of room). I added the rest of the sugar and then proceeded to cook the crap out of those berries (that’s the official term) in order to assure a good, jammy set.

saucer test

Of all the jams I’ve made so far this year, this one is my very favorite. There’s something special about strawberry jam and when it’s scented with vanilla and so rich in color, it’s just that much more amazing. Get yourself some strawberries and make this jam. Or, if you don’t feel like making your own batch, I do have one half pint jar to give away. Leave a comment by Friday afternoon for a chance to win.

Strawberry Jam

Yield: Approximately Five Pints

Ingredients

  • 10 cups of chopped strawberries (preferably macerated with a split vanilla bean and two cups of sugar over night)
  • 7 cups of sugar (2 cups during maceration + 5 cups at the time of cooking)
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2 packets of liquid pectin (that’s one box total)

Instructions

  1. Fill your canning pot 2/3 with water and put on the stove to bring to a boil (I used a large stock pot for this much jam).
  2. Put berries, sugar and lemon zest/juice in a large pot and cook over medium high heat for about fifteen minutes. You want to really boil the fruit down so that they begin to look syrup-y. If you have an immersion blender, use it at this point to puree some of the fruit. If you don’t, use a blender to puree about half the jam (working in batches, you don’t want hot jam to splash you).
  3. Add the blended jam back to the whole fruit jam. Bring to a boil and squeeze in the pectin. At this point, there will be a bunch of foam on top of the jam. Skim the foam with a large spoon. Let boil for approximately ten minutes more, until the jam looks very syrup-y (when boiling, it should resemble boiling candy).
  4. Lay out your clean jars, you’ll need approximately five pints or 10 half pint jars. Put your lids in a saucepan of hot water in order to soften the sealing compound. Bring a kettle to a boil now as well, in case you need a bit more boiling water for your canning pot.
  5. Fill the jars. Wipe the rims with the edge of a towel dipped in boiling water. Top with lids and screw on rings. Put a rack or folded towel into the bottom of your canning pot (you don’t want the jars to be in direct contact with the bottom of your pot). Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water. You can stack them one on top of the other if need be.
  6. Process for ten minutes in the boiling water. When time is up, remove the jars from the water and put them on a towel on the counter. They should begin to ping fairly quickly, indicated that they’re sealed. If any of your jars don’t seal, make sure to refrigerate them.
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175 Responses to Strawberry Jam

  1. 51
    Karen says:

    I am pretty sure I’m not going to get to making my own jam before the end of strawberry season, but it looks terrific and I’d love to win a jar!

    Karen, get yourself out to pick up some strawberries and just make a small batch!

  2. 52
    Tara says:

    So beautiful! I have actually taken your idea and have been eating some strawberry rhubarb jam from last year in plain yogurt. Very tasty. And great idea about letting the berries macerate with the vanilla bean.

    Tara, I’m so glad to hear you’ve been enjoying jam in yogurt. It’s one of my favorite things!

  3. 53

    [...] One great way to use fresh strawberries is to make jam.  Make this recipe and your peanut butter, yogurt, oatmeal, and toast will thank you.  Want more jamtastic ideas?  Check out Food in Jars. [...]

  4. 54
    Tina says:

    Mmmm, those jars look beautiful. I love berry picking – must make it a point to do that this summer.

    Tina, we’re coming to the end of strawberry season, but there are still blueberries and blackberries to be had!

  5. 55
    Carly says:

    Ooh, I would love to taste that jam. I made apple butter last year, my first adventure in canning, and I’m determined to make berry jams this year. The vanilla bean and strawberry combo sounds fantastic.

    Carly, isn’t apple butter wonderful! I make a couple of batches each fall.

  6. 56
  7. 57

    [...] And today I made strawberry vanilla jam: [...]

  8. 58
    Tara says:

    I made it! I couldn’t find a pick your own, but I found an Amish produce stand that had home grown berries. They were amazing and in no way compare to the store bought berries. I halved the recipe and used a lime instead of a lemon. The lime did change the taste but not drastically or in a bad way. :) It was fabulous-and the color was amazing. Deep ruby red. The whole process reminded me of when I was a little girl and I would go pick strawberries with my grandmother and then freeze or jam them. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  9. 59
    Nicki says:

    you mention 2 packets of liquid pectin…is that the 170 ml package??

  10. 60
    Marisa says:

    Nicki, I don’t have a box of pectin in front of me, so I’m not sure. It is the contents of one box of liquid pectin, each box contains two packets of pectin.

  11. 61
    Elaine says:

    Thank you for a fantastic recipe! This was my first time making strawberry jam and it has turned great. I’m so glad I didn’t use the box recipe. Your recipe is definitely going to be one of our standards. I did add a half teaspoon of butter which significantly reduced the foaming. I was a little uncertain about adding two packets of pectin, but it my jam set was perfect (I used Certo brand). The only thing was that my yield was lower-9 and 1/2 jars (8oz.) per batch instead of 14 jars. Tomorrow morning we are making our third and last batch of the season! My husband and I are now planning for more canning sessions – apricot, peaches, maybe nectarines, and pickles (sweet and dill), and whatever else inspires us. I’m glad I found your site!

  12. 62
    lorrie sark says:

    can i use lemon juice instead of lemons and if so how much juice do i use?

  13. 63
    Heather says:

    YUMMY! I just got a canning pot for my birthday, and I am going to try this out!

  14. 64
    foodie2 says:

    I made this jam this weekend..turned out good but found the lemon killed the flavors…

    • 64.1
      Marisa says:

      Wow, I’m sorry to hear that you felt that the lemon killed the flavor. The thing I find with jam making is that every batch is a little bit different, so even with the best recipe (and I’m not saying that mine is the best), there’s always a little flavor variation. The strawberries I used in my jam were really, really flavorful and sweet, so the lemon worked nicely to tame the sweetness without dampening the natural flavor. However, the mileage does vary, which you’ve discovered.

  15. 65

    [...] I turned to Marisa McClellan’s post on Strawberry-Vanilla jam. I’d had a song in my head ever since reading what she wrote about her day of berry-jamming, [...]

  16. 66

    [...] I turned to Marisa McClellan’s post on Strawberry-Vanilla jam. I’d had a song in my head ever since reading what she wrote about her day of berry-jamming, [...]

  17. 67
  18. 68
  19. 69

    [...] did a mixture of this recipe and this recipe.  I loved the vanilla bean idea in the first recipe and really loved that I [...]

  20. 70

    [...] used the recipe for Strawberry Jam by Food In Jars to process my strawberries.  I loved the idea of using vanilla beans and lemon [...]

  21. 71

    [...] Jam and lots of it.This year I tried Marisa’s {from Food in Jars} Strawberry Jam recipe and it is wonderful in so many ways, especially spread on a piece of butter coated, Honey Oatmeal [...]

  22. 72
    Jana says:

    Hi. I am new to making jam and made my first batch following this recipe today! I am worried I did something wrong though. The cans pinged, but it still looks a little runny in the jars. Does that mean it didn’t “set”? Also, the strawberries seem to be migrating to the top and leaving more liquid at the bottom. Any thoughts on what I may have done wrong? I am going to try again.

  23. 73
    summer says:

    help!! i made this yesterday (my first time to make jam). i thought i did everything right, but it’s been almost 24 hrs and the jam isn’t set! what did i do wrong??? thanks for your help!!

  24. 74
    Jill T. says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for the recipe.. We made the jam this morning. We did not wait very long to taste it, didn’t have to it set right away and lids popped in seconds. The Strawberry vanilla smell in my house is to die for.. I like that it used half the sugar that the commercial pectin recipes were calling for. I cannot imagine any more sugar. Thanks again. I will be passing this recipe around a lot and credit will be all yours! Have you ever made jam with honey? We are beekeepers and like to use honey when we can. I would love your input. Thanks in advance.

  25. 75
    Susan says:

    Just made this jam this afternoon and it was my first time canning. Your recipe did a great job of taking the intimidation out of the canning process. I did struggle with the jam’s consistency and don’t have the nerve to see if I have jam or strawberry sauce in my jars. What is more important – staying true to the recipe or boiling the sauce until it is the right consistency? I ended up boiling for about 20 minutes and then stopped, as I was worried that I was negating all that the pectin was put in there to do. I only ended up with 9 jars but it could be because of my longer boiling. They did not ping right away but I think that all of them did eventually. Thanks for helping me get up the nerve to try this recipe!

  26. 76

    [...] to that quick acquisition of fruit, I’ve now made a batch of that wonderful strawberry vanilla jam I first produced last year, as well as this lovely, sticky, spreadable strawberry rhubarb butter (I [...]

  27. 77
    Erin says:

    Hi Marisa, I found your canning blog several days ago and I’ve been making my way through all your entries and bookmarking several recipes to try out! I actually just got a water bath canning pot yesterday and made my first batch of strawberry jam this afternoon. It turned out really delicious, but when I processed the jars in the water bath, all the berries rose to the top of the jam. I seem to recall reading the reason for that somewhere on this blog, but of course I went searching and couldn’t find it! Could you tell me what causes this? It seems to have set just fine, it isn’t runny or syrupy, but it would be more aesthetically pleasing if the berries were evenly dispersed throughout :) Any tips?

  28. 78

    [...] that seem to have sealed well, so they should be good to eat for about a year! I used a recipe for Strawberry Jam with Vanilla (and lemon!). Next time I make it, I think I might only use the zest of one lemon, and I would up the vanilla [...]

  29. 79

    [...] had picked so many berries that we had enough for two batches of Strawberry Vanilla Jam (on the right) and one batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Butter (on the left) from Food In Jars (my fav [...]

  30. 80

    [...] used the last bit on my toast this morning. Good thing I have many more jars, because I love this [...]

  31. 81

    Hello! I have never followed a blog in my life ~ I fell in love with yours instantly. I intend to begin canning again after parting from it for nearly 15 years. The strawberry jam is beautiful! Best regards, Kimberly

  32. 82
    Maurie says:

    I have never followed a blog before either but I came across yours when I was looking for some good pickling recipes and now jam. I’m loving your blog even more now!

  33. 83
    claire says:

    Just wanted to let you know I tried your recipe… it was AMAZING!

    You are a canning genius! Thanks for all of your creations!

    You can check out the shout out here:
    http://clearlyclaireblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-first-jam-fest-strawberry-jam.html

  34. 84
    amy says:

    strawberry season is just beginning, and I am making this today!

  35. 85

    [...] your granny did.  I have found a website called Food In Jars very useful and got the strawberry jam recipe from that site.  I can honestly tell you that my kitchen looked like a scene out of a horror [...]

  36. 86
    Brandee L says:

    I know this is an older post, but I just got around to really reading it. i plan on making some of this jam as soon as berries come in. I just received my vanilla beans in the mail.
    Anyway, you mentioned putting a towel in the bottom of the boiling water bath. I’ve never heard of this before. Have you done it? I have a bit of a safety concern. I just want to make sure this is safe. I don’t have a rack for my pot.

    • 86.1
      Marisa says:

      Brandee, if you don’t have a rack to put at the bottom of your canning pot, a towel is an acceptable substitute. I’ve done it before to no ill effects. The one thing to know is that when there are no jars in the pot, the towel will float. However, as you start to put the jars it, they anchor it down and keep it in place.

  37. 87
    Kat says:

    I’m planning on making several variations on this jam in the very near future–strawberries are coming in here in East TN. However, I have a question: how much Pomona’s pectin would I use to substitute for the liquid pectin?

    • 87.1
      Marisa says:

      Kat, I don’t really use Pomona’s pectin, so I can’t advise you on its use. I’d recommend checking out either Put ‘Em Up or Canning for a New Generation.

  38. 88
    abby says:

    I halved the recipe, and I have a little more than two pints in the water bath right now. So excited to try this when it’s finished!

  39. 89
    Kristen G. says:

    This will be the first jam I try and make! (Yah, I’m excited!) But I’m wondering, is there a way to see if the jam has been cooked long enough to set? Is there a certain temperature or I read something about a freezer plate test in another recipe?

    Any tips to avoid failure would be great! :)

    • 89.1
      Marisa says:

      Kristen, if you have a candy thermometer, you can use it to cook the jam up to 220 degrees (that’s the point at which sugar sets). The plate test involves putting a few small plates or saucers into the freezer before you start to cook the jam. Then, when it feels like it’s getting close to done, pull one of the cold plates out and drop a small dollop of jam on it. Put it back in the freezer for a minute or two. When you pull it out again, gently bump your finger against the jam. If it’s done, it will have formed a thin skin which will wrinkle when nudged. If it wrinkles, it’s done. If it’s not done, it will just be runny strawberry syrup. Cook it longer in that case.

  40. 90

    [...] recipes: Strawberry Rhubarb Soup  from TasteFood Blood Orange and Olive Oil Cake from TasteFood Strawberry Jam from Food in Jars Strawberry Cupcakes from Cooking with Amy Strawberry Danish from White on Rice [...]

  41. 91

    [...] really excited about it. I’m grabbing some vanilla beans this week and I plan to make this Strawberry Jam recipe from Food in Jars, my favorite canning blog. At Christmas, Jimmy’s great grandmother gave me [...]

  42. 92

    Hi Marisa,

    I made this jam last night. It looks delectable! But unfortunately, I woke up this morning and it wasn’t set to the right “jammy” consistency. I normally don’t use pectin in my recipes; I’m more accustomed to the slow-cook method, but this recipe looked so good that I had to give it a try. I followed the directions perfectly and it didn’t turn out…Do you still have to do the gel test when using pectin? Is there any way I can save my already jarred jam? Can I just take it out of the jars and re-cook it?

    Thanks!
    Kristin

    • 92.1
      Marisa says:

      Kristin, this is a fairly loosely set jam. However, if you are unhappy with the consistency, you can take it out of the jars and recook it. Even when you work with pectin, you’ve got to check the set. Remember, set depends on the amount of moisture in the fruit, the weather an even the variety of pectin you use.

  43. 93
    Kathy Z. says:

    Any reason why I couldn’t use Vanilla Paste instead of beans? Just bought a gallon bucket of Strawberries and am anxious to try this recipe.

    • 93.1
      Marisa says:

      Kathy, you could certainly give it a try. These recipes are written as I made them, but they are certainly open to interpretation.

  44. 94

    [...] here’s how it went down. I decided to follow this recipe because I did it last year (sans canning) and it was delish. I did end up skipping the [...]

  45. 95
    Kathy Z. says:

    I will let you know how it turns out.

  46. 96
    Kathy Z. says:

    Is there anyway to tell if the jar is sealed other than the pinging? I heard 2 or 3 pings but don’t know for sue which ones were the culprit:) Also what would be the reason for them not sealing if I followed the directions?

    • 96.1
      Jenny says:

      Usually the next day, I take the rings off and lift the jar up (just an inch off the table) by just the lid to make sure its sealed.

  47. 97
    Jenny says:

    I was actually planning on going strawberry picking tomorrow with my family. Can’t wait to come home and make this jam!!

  48. 98
    Taryn says:

    Hi there! I have the strawberries, sugar, and vanilla sitting in the fridge, just waiting to be made into delicious jam. :)
    Quick question, though–is it 5 cups sugar total, or 2 cups overnight + 5 additional cups? The directions were a bit unclear to me.
    Thank you, as always!

    • 98.1
      Marisa says:

      Taryn, it’s five cups total. The sugar you added during the maceration time counts towards the final amount of sugar. My apologies that the directions were unclear.

  49. 99
  50. 100
    Sara says:

    Just finished making the strawberry jam and realized I only added one package of pectin instead of two. What difference will it make?

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