Strawberry Jam

June 17, 2009(updated on August 30, 2021)

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 sugared (2 tablespoons sugar for every pound of cleaned and hulled berries) and froze in quart-sized yogurt containers. 

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.

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Strawberry Jam

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

  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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195 responses to “Strawberry Jam”

  1. I’m sorry for the confusion again about the amount of sugar in this recipe. I saw that you responded to a comment that it was 5 cups total, but I see that the recipe clearly states 7 cups including the maceration?

    I made this jam exactly following these directions and boiling to 220 degrees for the times suggested and had the opposite problem as everyone else, my jam was far too overcooked! It even burnt on the very bottom of my pot. I was quite disappointed. Next time I will have to cook it far less longer.

    • Sara, here’s what happened. Awhile back, I tried to update the recipe to represent how I was currently making it and so I reduced the amount of sugar. However, it ended up confusing people and so I changed it back. It will work as it is written.

      I am sorry to hear that your jam burned. Were you stirring it regularly and moving the jam along the bottom? As it approaches 220 degrees F, you have to stir almost constantly. It could also be that your thermometer isn’t perfectly accurate. Whatever the reason, I am sorry that your jam burned.

      • Thank you so much for your response! I think it was a combination of not enough stirring, as well as overlooking as the jam is a bit gummy. I am going to give it another go today 🙂

        I am happy to see it works with both amounts of sugar, I originally used 7 cups but usually prefer things a bit less sweet (and am trying to be health conscious) so am going to try it with 5 today. Thank you again! Absolutely love your site and again appreciate your response.

  2. I’m new to all this jam making business so I have a perhaps silly question: can I substitute Pomona’s pectin for the liquid pectin in this recipe? Thanks a lot.

  3. My vanilla beans didn’t arrive in time for this (well, they showed the morning after I set the berries to macerating in the fridge) as my first attempt last week ended up very, very firm. I’ll chalk that up to taking the farmers market at their word that the quart was truly a quart without weighing (using the recipe published in the your first book). Wondering what to do, I remembered I have, at times, sprinkled anisette sugar on my cut berries. I excitedly stuck 3 star anise in the with berries…….the result is heavenly! It’s the perfect combination of strawberry goodness with a hint of licorice! I cannot wait to spoon this into my morning yogurt!

  4. Hi going to try this jam today but every where I look vanilla bean is so outrageous! Can I substitute with pure vanilla extract and if so how much of it? 🙂

    • I would recommend substituting some other flavor enhancer rather than using vanilla extract. The flavor will cook off and leave you with nothing.

  5. I made this recipe a few weeks ago, and while the taste is great, it did not set properly (it’s more like a syrup). I’m going to try to fix it, but may leave some as syrup to use in drinks or for breakfast syrup.

  6. HELP! I have made this jam before with the best results, but just realized that the batch I’m currently about to start cooking may have less sugar than was called for in the recipe. I’m not sure how much less, do I need to toss it and start over? Do I need to adjust the pectin? Help! And thank you.

  7. I just finished my first batch of this jam … It’s very good, but I really don’t taste or smell the vanilla bean. Maybe add two beans instead of only one? Either way, it’s a keeper! Thank you for posting!

  8. I just made a double batch of this strawberry jam. The ratio of sugar to fruit and 1/4 cup lemon juice and zest from a Meyer lemon produced a wonderful frest and bright flavor without being overly sweet. This was only the 2nd time I’ve made strawberry jam. I didn’t have a vanilla bean, but would like to add that next time. I also didn’t use an immersion blender. I prefer to cut the berries and as they are cooking, mash with a potatoe masher. Putting a folded towel in the bottom of the pan for processing is brilliant. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  9. Made this jam this morning with some spectacular organic strawberries. The set is perfect & the taste divine. Thanks for the great recipe as always!

  10. I just wanted to say that I come back to this recipe every year, thank you! One of these years, I’ll remember to write/print it out. Until then, don’t take it down 😉

  11. Mine did not set correctly and it tasted over cooked. I wanted to like it, but I think I’ll just stick with plain strawberry jam in the future. I think the recipe could be a little more explicit about the boiling for those of us who aren’t candy makers but are canners. Was it supposed to be a full rolling boil from ten minutes? There is no way I can handle that amount of heat for that long! It will be a good syrup though!

  12. mine did not set correctly. my friend recommended the blog because she uses the book but we noticed while we were making it that there were no temperatures. I also noticed the certo says not to do more than 8 cups. any ideas what or why this happened? I followed directions to a T.

  13. What’s the Sugar Syrup method for freezing strawberries? I tried to click the link to the Doris & Jilly blog but the domain is expired ????

    • Essentially, it’s a process in which you toss cut clean, hulled berries with sugar (I like to use 1-2 tablespoons per pound of berries), let them sit until the sugar dissolves, and there’s some liquid. Then pack into containers and freeze.

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