This honey sweetened strawberry jam is the perfect preserve if you’re trying to use up a glut of honey or you’re just avoiding refined sugar. Flecked throughout with vanilla bean, it is the best of springtime all year round.
If this post is accurate (which, to my best count, it is), there are at least 14 ways to preserve strawberries in the archives of this site. There are yet more versions in my books. And yet, despite all these approaches, I can’t resist adding this honey sweetened strawberry vanilla jam variant to the conversation.
A couple of pieces of advice before you take on this recipe. Number one, use really delicious honey. The flavor of the honey really comes through in this recipe, so you want to use one that tastes amazing (I used some of the honey that Camille from Old Blue Raw Honey gave me when I saw her back in March).
My second piece of advice is to get yourself a small stash of grade B vanilla beans from a purveyor like Beanilla. They have all the flavor of the grade A versions, and are markedly cheaper. And if vanilla beans aren’t in the cards for you, a jar of vanilla bean paste is better than vanilla extract, because you’ll still get the speckle and flavor from the seeds.
Commonly Asked Questions
How long will this jam keep on the shelf? Honey sweetened jams don’t keep as well as sugar sweetened ones. I recommend storing this jam in a cool, dark place and eating it within 6 months. Once opened, try to use it promptly. Honey sweetened jams often get moldy in the fridge more quickly than sugar sweetened ones do.
Can I freeze this jam rather than process it in a water bath? Yes. Instead of funneling the finished jam into hot jars, let it cool until lukewarm. Place it in clean straight sided jars or plastic containers, leaving 1 inch headspace to account for expansion. Cap and freeze for up to 6 months.
Can I reduce the amount of honey? You can reduce the amount of honey, but know that the yield will reduce and the shelf life will shorten.
Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans or paste? I don’t recommend using vanilla extract in cooked preserves. The flavor won’t be nearly as intense.
Honey Sweetened Strawberry Vanilla Jam
- 4 pounds strawberries
- 2 cups honey, divided
- 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon calcium water, part of the Pomona’s Pectin system
- 1 tablespoon Pomona’s Pectin
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 half-pint jars.
- Combine the strawberries, 1 1/2 cups honey, vanilla bean seeds, lemon juice, and calcium water in a large, nonreactive pot. Give it several good stirs to help combine the ingredients and dissolve the honey.
- Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the fruit boils, reduce the heat to medium-high and continue to cook at a low boil, until the strawberries break down and the volume in the pot has reduced by one-quarter. Depending on the water content in the berries, this will take 15 to 25 minutes.
- While the fruit cooks, stir the pectin powder into the remaining honey. Once the necessary amount of reduction has occurred, stir in the honey and pectin slurry. Return the jam to a boil and cook for an addition 3-4 minutes.
- When the jam is finished cooking, remove it from the heat. Funnel it into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the lid from the pot and turn off the heat. Let the jars rest in the cooling water for five minutes. When that time is up, remove jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
I’m always up for another great Strawberry Jam recipe! Thanks for sharing!
This was on our list to make last weekend but we ran out of time and jars. I did make the Whole Meyer Lemon Jam with Honey and it is outstanding. I thought the honey was going to be overpowering but it’s just perfect.
This looks delicious! I picked up my first batch of local strawberries today (I’m in NY). I have 2 questions: Is it okay to not use pectin and cook this jam a little longer (I know it will likely have a softer set)?
And secondly, is there a place on your blog where you discuss using fresh fruit that has been frozen? I might not be able to make the jam this week so was thinking of freezing the strawberries and making this at a later date. I’m trying to figure out what accommodations (longer cooking time?) I would have to make. Should I free the strawberries whole or cut them into smaller pieces? Thanks for your help!
I read your post about canning with frozen fruit, but that advice was when sugar is used. Is it the same method (not defrosting, etc.) when using honey? And if so, you suggest going by weight, do you have advice about that for frozen strawberries? Thanks!
With this jam, it’s not going to set up at all if you don’t use the pectin. It’s going to be a sauce rather than a jam. And here’s my post about making jam with frozen fruit: https://foodinjars.com/2016/02/canning-101-how-to-make-jam-with-frozen-fruit/
Thanks for response! Just to clarify, is the process the same with honey (that post uses sugar)? Is there a weight measurement for frozen strawberries? Thanks so much.
For those of us who haven’t done this before, can you provide any more specific guidance on what constitutes “the necessary amount of reduction” in step 4?
In the step previous to that, I said, “cook at a low boil, until the strawberries break down and the volume in the pot has reduced by one-quarter.” That one-quarter reduction is the necessary amount of reduction that I was referencing. So sorry if that wasn’t more clear.
I have so much honey this year from our backyard bees – and it is amazingly delicious – I can’t wait to try out more honey-sweetened recipe.
Where do you get calcium water?
Pomona’s Pectin comes with a packet of calcium powder that you use to make the calcium water (combine 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder with 1/2 cup water and stir to combine). That’s why I say in the recipe that the calcium powder is part of the Pomona’s Pectin system.
Could I sub the pectin and calcium water with sure jell?
No. Sure Jell only works with high amounts of sugar. This recipe will only work with Pomona’s Pectin. You can get it at a natural foods store like Whole Foods, or order it on Amazon. http://amzn.to/1TVBVJv
Yay!!! I love your vanilla stawberry jam recipe from your 1st book. I’ve been wanting to make a honey sweetened version, but haven’t been brave enough to try! Thank you!! This one is definitely getting made this summer!!!
This was my first time using either Pomona Pectin or honey to make jam. The vanilla is a perfect complement to the strawberry, and I love the subtle tone of the honey. This jam is still sweet like a traditional sugar-sweetened recipe, but I think the honey lets more of the strawberry flavor come through without tasting like candy. Our third batch is currently cooling and I already have requests for more. Thanks!
I’m so glad it worked well for you!
Just took my batch out of the hot water process. It tastes great! But I got waaaaay more yield than 6 half pints. 7 half + 1 pint. Maybe I didn’t cook it down enough. Thanks for another great recipe!
It does sound like you didn’t cook it down enough, because that’s a huge yield increase.
This recipe is wonderful, thank you! It’s great to find a honey-sweetened jam instead of several buckets of sugar that the usual recipes call for! 🙂
Just made this recipe and used honey I purchased from the same farm that sells berries. It taste great but I ended up with 8 1/2 pints so I’m guessing I didn’t reduce enough. I cooked the berries for aprox 30 mins. I did the plate test and the setup seems okay. It taste great.
Asked my husband last night if he has a request for the last strawberries of the season. He said, can you make jam with honey? I’m super excited to give this recipe a try! Thanks for sharing!
My jam never comes out this pretty. It always separates ?
That often happens when you don’t cook your jam long enough. I’ve got a whole blog post about it. https://foodinjars.com/2015/06/canning-101-how-to-prevent-jam-separation/
I also have 8 pints – could this be because I weighed 8# of prepared, sliced fruit, not 8# of whole fruit before hulling and slicing? My whole berries sat on the counter overnight – did they gain in water (softened up) because they sat for a bit?
I follow your recipes exactly and they’re always perfect. This is the 1st time this has happened. The jam IS delicious!
I started with 8 pounds before prepping, so that probably accounts for the yield discrepancy. The good news is that as long as you’re happy with the outcome of the jam, there’s no issue at all with the higher yield.