Urban Preserving: Small Batch Strawberry Vanilla Jam

June 2, 2011(updated on August 30, 2021)

one quart

As many of you know, I live in a fairly compact apartment (remember these pictures of my kitchen?). My husband and I have something in the neighborhood of 1,050 square feet that we call our own. In the last three years, my canning habit has expanded and between empty jars, full jars and equipment, occupies a goodly amount of our available storage space. Over the last 12 months, it was necessary as I was creating and testing recipes for my cookbook project.


This summer, I’ve decided that it’s time to scale back just a bit. And though I love having enough to give away to friends and family, I just don’t need to make vast batches of strawberry jam that yield five or six pints. For my own use, just a few half pint jars will most certainly do. And so I’m going to try something new here on the blog. Every week or two, I’ll be posted a recipe under the header “Urban Preserving.” These recipes will be small batch preserves, all scaled to use just a pint, a quart or pound of produce. The yields will be petite, perfect for those of you who have small households or are short on space, time or cash.

after macerating

Before I left town for the Memorial Day holiday, I turned a quart of strawberries into three half pints of strawberry vanilla jam. I bought the berries on a Sunday, chopped them up when I returned home from the farmers’ market and tossed them with a cup of sugar and two split vanilla beans. Poured into a jar, the berries took a three-day rest in the refrigerator. I didn’t actually intend to let them macerate for that long, but as so often happens, life was busy and I just could not find the time to make jam until Wednesday night.

small batch canning

One of the true joys of small batch canning is that there’s no need to pull out a giant pot to serve as your water bath. A small one does the job just fine. I have two such pots that work well as a tiny canning pot. The first is the asparagus pot that I wrote about here. The second is the tall, spouted pot you see above.

Called a 4th burner pot, this is truly one of the best and most versatile pieces of cookware I own. I love it for making pickles, because you can heat the brine in it and then pour it directly into the jars. It makes the perfect gravy pot during the holidays. It can double as a tea kettle. And because it’s got that rack, it makes a terrific small batch canning pot. See how perfectly those three half-pint Elite jars fit into it?


So, to catch up, I poured the jar of chopped, macerated strawberries into a 5 1/2 quart pot. I added an additional cup of sugar (bringing the total to 2 cups) and removed the vanilla bean pods. I turned up the heat and inserted a thermometer to track the temperature. I cooked the jam to 220 degrees and also eyeballed the back of the spoon, rivulet test. A lemon’s worth of juice and zest went it towards the end of cooking.

a full half pint

There’s another reason that making small batch jam is so satisfying. Because there’s less volume in the pot, it cooks down more quickly. That means it’s easier to get it to 220 degrees and often means that you can skip the pectin in recipes that might otherwise need it (I know that there are some of you who eschew the pectin entirely, but I’ve always found it necessary when making strawberry jam). Shorter cooking time also means a fresher tasting jam and such glowing color!

fresh out of the canner

The jam was poured into the hot half pint jars (it fit exactly, but I scraped every droplet out of the pot to ensure evenly filled jars), lids were applied and the jars were stacked into the rack. Lowered into the pot, they spent 10 minutes simmering in the handy 4th burner pot.

lidded up

Within 45 minutes of when I turned on the heat under my jam pot, the jars were out of the canner and pinging on the counter top. I took one jar up to Northampton last weekend to share with our hosts. The other two jars are tucked away for next winter.

A non-narrative, traditionally organized recipe is after the jump.

4.75 from 4 votes

Small Batch Strawberry Vanilla Jam


  • 1 quart strawberries a little over 1 1/2 pounds, should be approximately 4 cups of chopped berries
  • 2 cups sugar divided
  • 2 vanilla beans split and scraped
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced


  • Wash and chop berries. Toss them with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla beans/seeds and place in a large jar or bowl.
  • Allow the berries to macerate for at least 2-3 hours and up to 72 hours.
  • When you're ready to make the jam, prepare three half pint jars.
  • Pour macerated strawberries into a large pot and add the remaining cup of sugar.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the jam reaches 220 degrees, stirring very regularly.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice in the final 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Once the jam has reached 220 degrees, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour jam into your prepared jars.
  • Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in your canner for 10 minutes (normally I'd admonish you not to start your timer until the water has returned to a boil. However, as long as your water is quite hot when the jars go into the canner, the time it will take to return to boiling should be minimal).
  • When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined counter top.
  • When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and check seals.
  • If any jars are not sealed, store them in the fridge and use them first.
  • Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place.

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175 thoughts on "Urban Preserving: Small Batch Strawberry Vanilla Jam"

  • Yum. I’m hoping and praying for a better strawberry season here in Portland this year. Last year was dismal. With a three-year-old around, we go through a lot of jam, but I’m excited for adding vanilla to more jams this year!

  • This is great! I think this “urban preserving” feature is going to be my go-to 🙂

  • Marisa, where can we find a 4th burner pot with rack like that? I would love to get my hands on one… 🙂

    1. If you click the link where I first mention it, you should be taken to the amazon listing for that pot.

  • Love this. I think you are the only other foodie that has a kitchen as small as mine, although yours is arguably better outfitted. This will be perfect for helping me make the best of a case of jars and get a nice range of goodies.

  • I made strawberry vanilla a couple of weeks ago and it was killer. I love your small batch methods!! As always inspiring!!! XO!

  • It’s hot as blue blazes in Charleston already, so most of our strawberries are already gone. But we’ve got a trip to the (cooler) mountains planned, and I love that I can make this without lugging all of my processing equipment on a trip! Thanks!

  • I love this new header. Last summer I did a lot of small batch canning in large part due to your blog and your recipes. It is a fantastic way to intoroduce oneself to canning and to new flavors and textures. Being short on storage space (sorta: I reserve my pantry for jars and jars of tomato sauce) and TIME (three kids, ages 3 to 6), small batch canning was a revelation. “Urban Preserving” will be great for me, too! Thanks, Marisa!

  • Marisa this is terrific!!! I’m starting a folder in my documents titled URBAN PRESERVING just for these recipes! How awesome! Heading to Maine next week where their seasons are a bit later than ours and I may be able to make some with my sister!!! Look forward to more of these types of recipes!!! Thanks so much!

  • Love your Urban Preserving rule…short on space, time or cash! I am all over this and looking forward to many Urban Preserving posts. As always, thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Brilliant idea. I often hear my students say that even a six jar batch is too much, and this is such a smart way to address their concerns. Thank you for continuing to be such a thoughtful contributxor to the canning conversation.

  • This post comes at the perfect time, since I have one quart of strawberries left over from last night’s monster freezer jam making session. I love making freezer jam because it gives you the fresh picked taste, since it’s not been cooked, but I think I’m ready to make my very first “real” jam!

  • I love this… we can only use so many jars of jam in a year, and our apartment is currently 500 sf. Finding a place to keep the jars is a huge challenge.

  • Yay! There’s only my husband and I, also with limited storage space, so I’m super psyched for these small batch guides. I might just have to use this one after my strawberry picking. Thanks!

  • thank you! this is perfect for keeping my skills broadening AND for those little batches of things that are “fancy” – the stuff i can give away as gifts etc.

  • Hello! I have been looking for smaller recipes.

    I used to make about 20 quarts each of jam from every fruit I could get my hand on, plus pickles etc.

    My girls have their own homes and children now, and I have moved from a home where my cold room was about 20×20 and

    moved into a mini home. I am alone except for my Mama who came to live with me last summer.

    So I am very limited in space, not as much consumed, but I still like to have homemade.

    Thank you for providing smaller amount recipes.


  • This is great! I started reading your blog a few weeks ago in an attempt to educate myself on canning. I am scared to try it because recipes do call for so much fruit/veg, time and effort. And I am notorious for screwing up the first try at EVERY recipe!
    These small batches will be great for learning and for my small house of DH and I. Can’t wait for future Urban Preserving posts!

  • Marisa, thanks so much for posting this small batch recipe. This is the first time I finally realized that you can stack the jars in the water bath (duh, I know). This is so practical, too! I have a tiny galley kitchen, a lack of hours for a big job, and a hot kitchen so this makes the canning and jamming I want to do this summer, much more feasible. I look forward to the urban preserving posts and even more to your book!!

  • Awesome ideas! I look forward to reading more “small batch” recipes. I had to get a cabinet to put all my canning stuff in.. and am running out of space already!

  • This looks like a great technique! Is it really ok to stack the jars like that? I haven’t done much actual canning – I do mainly freezer jam and refrigerator pickles, although I did do a buttload of peaches last year!

  • My favorite canning book is The Complete Book of Small Batch Canning. Everything I have made out of it has been wonderful. I live in the city, have a tiny community garden spot, yet these small recipes are do-able with my own produce. Love it.

  • One of the great things I’ve learned from your web site is that you can do preserving in stages without any harm. My life also gets real busy, and like many canners, I can get a little over enthusiastic when buying. I have cherry vanilla jam macerating in the fridge and it’s been there since Monday. Tonight’s the night!

  • So excited about the small batch recipes! And what a brilliant idea to use an asparagus pot as a canner. I have one, but have never used it. I have a feeling it’ll get a lot of use this summer. Thanks for being so creative!

  • I love the idea of the Urban Preserving recipes….It’s so much more convenient than spending hours preserving tons of fruit/veg!

  • This sounds yummy – although I don’t do “small” batches of anything around here, I might just have to buy a quart of strawberries today to try out a batch – I even have some vanilla on hand 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • So good you are doing this I notice so many people who are not able to do large batch and so many times we do just have enough for a baby batch…Thanks for the tip on the 4th burner pot…

  • This excites me so! Your small batch recipes are going to be perfect for me, as I have very limited time and there are only 2 of us at home. Thank you for sharing. BTW – I made a batch of your Sweet & Sour Pickled Red Onions last week and they turned out great. They tasted so good even before I put them in the jars to process, so I know they will be even more delish after sitting for a week. As an added bonus, the color looks so pretty sitting on the shelf in my pantry. I have several more recipes marked for testing soon.

  • I, too, am excited about more small batch recipes. I have significantly more space than you. But keeping a variety of whatever comes home from the produce market sounds better than the zillion quarts of peaches my mother and grandmother used to put up. A person can get tired of peaches. On another note, I have had limited luck with jam that has no added pectin, so I need to pay more attention to what the variables are there. Temperature? I’ll be listening.

  • I’ve actually been doing small batch canning since I started. It was my way of trying out recipes. I scaled the recipes accordingly, and they’ve always turned out. Most recently, I’ve been making your strawberry vanilla jam. It SO wonderful!
    Where did you get that wire cage you put the jars in? That would be hand as my stock pot I can in isn’t wide enough for a rack.

    1. Brandee, that wire cage came with the 4th burner pot that I described in the post. That’s a big part of why I love that little pot so much.

  • Awesome! I’ve gotten a bunch of preserving cookbooks, including one with a chair in the title and all of them make a shitton of jam. There’s only us and the hounds, we can’t eat that much jam. I am so thrilled you’ve posted this…and vanilla-strawberry, well ring a ding ding!

  • Oh, wonderful! I don’t quite have the room to put up oodles of jams myself. This is a great start…I’m looking forward to more of these posts! Thank you!

  • That looks really yummy and I really love your idea for Urban Preserving posts, that will be perfect for me and my wee apartment!

  • I should do more small batch canning…it seems like my huge canning pot takes an hour to start boiling (and that’s starting with hot tap water).

  • Yay! I am so excited for some small batch recipes. We are limited on space too. I cant wait to be able to try more recipes out.

    Thank you!

  • And this is good for those of us worried about (or prone to) messing up a recipe and not wasting a bunch of produce/money. I just purchased a GIANT canning pot this past weekend because my trusty stockpot (really a dutch oven) just isn’t tall enough. HUGE difference between it and the 21.5qt monstrosity that takes over the stove. I might be picking up that small pot you have this weekend- hooray for mom’s discount at the kitchen store!

  • THANK YOU!!!! FINALLY! I have been scouring the web for recipes that are smaller portioned. I am SO excited for these posts!

  • Thank you so much for this new series. My family just won’t be able to use huge amounts of jams, but I’ve been dying to start canning. I was going to email you and ask about how to reduce the recipe. I’m trying this on Sunday after I take my daughter strawberry picking.

  • THANKYOU sooo much for this announcement!

    Ive just started preserving for the first time in my life. I am a New Zealander and my fiance is Canadian so we have a lot of recipes we want to try. My future mother in law gave me a family Mennonite recipe book on my request and Ive thoroughly enjoyed learning and making North American type food that we don’t have much of over here. The problem I have is that every preserving recipe I have in my hands caters for women with more than a dozen mouths to feed. Ive predicted that buying huge preserving jars for just myself and token Canadian will be a total pain in the butt plus ehem.. expensive..

    PS Love your kitchen – looks just like mine in size so I have hope

  • Fabuloso! As others say here, I’ll be watching for more of your Urban Preserving posts. Just the other day the thought of hauling out my large canning pot was exhaustive. I’ve seen asparagus cookers but didn’t think that they could double as water bath pots. But the tall, sprouted pot’s rack- hum, something to think about.

  • I love vanilla in jams as it gives a heightened sense of flavor. Another trick is to use sweet sherry, just a splash, to heighten and brighten the flavor.
    Thanks for the tip about the 4th burner pot.

  • i love this, too! I can only foist off so much jam and jelly on friends and family. thank you for this feature!

  • I love the smaller recipes AND the spouted pot! I just ordered one from Amazon. I hope you get credit for the link – if Amazon still does that.

  • I live in a Philly condo and my husband and I don’t agree on what flavor jelly/jam so I am thrilled for this series.

    I am confused though. You can stack the jars like that in the water bath?

  • Thank you for this post. I have to confess that I have always done this in the summer time when the berries are fresh. I am thankful to have my canned preserves in the winter time, but I love having what I call “fresh jam” in the summer time. Sometimes I add a little cornstarch to thicken it up and often only use 1/4 cup of sugar per quart of berries. I love that fresh summer taste. I always was a little embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t real jam when people have commented how tasty it was.

  • Thanks for these smaller batch jams…perfect for me. I’ll definitely be trying them. But perhaps not the strawberry too soon since I just made up a huge batch.

  • I am macerating strawberries that I purchased earlier today and just received an e-mail saying my vanilla beans have been shipped. So I will be holding out on these strawberries till my beans arrive! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Great idea on the Urban Preserving series. (That’s a great name for a blog or book! in its own right). I love your blog but am totally intimidated by canning, mainly because I would have to get SO many ingredients, etc, to make it worth it. These smaller batches make it seem easier. Looking forward to trying these recipes and tips. Thank you!

  • I love this idea! I just tried it with the pint of strawberries I got in my CSA this week, but getting the berries up to 220 turned the batch solid! I have sticky strawberry candy instead of jam.

  • I love the idea of small batch canning and can’t wait to try it out! I’m a tiny bit confused about no pectin in this recipe. Does the maceration process replace adding pectin to thicken the jam?

  • I made this recipe yesterday using my asparagus pot for the very first time. Yay for your brilliant idea! I followed your direction and had perfect jam…. but it didn’t quite make the 3 half-pints. My only “complaint” is I thought it was a little too sweet. Maybe the vanilla bean heightened the sweetness of the strawberries? Is there a firm ratio of fruit to sugar that must be followed? I don’t believe in artificial sweeteners, but I try to look for ways to reduce sugar consumption. If sugar is reduced, does that mean pectin would be required? I know that too little sugar prevents gelling and may allow yeast and mold to grow. However, I can’t seem to find any guidelines for how much sugar is required. Thanks for your help! Love your blog, and I’m looking forward to more small batch recipes!!

  • Sorry to add another post, but the USDA Home Canning Guides (booklet 7 for jams/jellies) is a wealth of information. Google it to find the PDFs. For the person who said their jam turned into a sticky mess…. it was probably due to the wrong temperature. 220F degrees is for sea level. The water bath processing is also according to your elevation. Where I live, my gelling temperature is 218F and 10 minutes processing. Hope this helps!

  • I got a chance to try this recipe on the weekend. I didn’t have any vanilla beans so I added some liquid vanilla. But that wasn’t what I liked most about this recipe, it was the lemon zest! I love the flavor it added. I didn’t have any half pint jars so this made me 2 pints.

    I had also never made jam without pectin- I was a little worried at how it would gel but its just fine. Though I think I’d like to use pectin next time as that is a LOT of sugar for 2 jars of jam!


  • Great idea! I hope this seres includes some small batch tomato recipes. My backyard garden doesn’t give me 20 lbs of tomatoes at once lol. As a new canner I’m hesitant to mess with tomato recipes which I’d certainly need to do when converting down to only 5 or 3 lbs of toms.

  • Hey- I love the small batch idea and will look for future posts like this. I made this jam last night, but it did not set. 🙁 I only macerated my strawberries overnight, but they were very liquidy. I followed your instructions, but I did have 2 quarts of strawberries onhand, so I doubled the recipe. Is that my mistake? I also did add a package of pectin because I’ve had bad luck with getting jams to set in the past. I also realize that the pectin recipe calls for 5 cups fruit to 7 cups sugar… but I followed your recipe (doubled) for 4 cups fruit to 4 cups sugar. It tastes great- almost too sweet already- but it’s really more of a sauce. Do you think it’s worth following the pectin “re-set” method and re-canning them? Any advise is appreciated! Also, what kind of thermometer do you use for canning? I just have meat thermometer, it does go up to 220, but I’m not sure if it’s the best to use?

    1. Jenny, the fact that you doubled the recipe is definitely the reason it did not set. That recipe needs to be kept small to work. It depends on the small volume to surface area ratio to cook the liquid out of the jam and get a reasonable set. However, this recipe will always make a loose set jam. It should move around when you turn the jar.

      You could definitely try the recooking method if you want it to have a firmer set. As far as thermometers go, I use a candy thermometer. A meat thermometer won’t give you the specifics you need for something like this.

      1. Noted. I’ll stop messing around with recipes just because I have more fruit laying around. Thanks for your feedback! I think I’ll leave it as-is. It’s a saucy jam and would be delicious used in baking recipes or on soy cheesecake. THANKS!

        1. I tried doubling this recipe, and it turned out fine. I used a wide pan to help get the liquid evaporated quickly. I also tried a recipe in which I doubled the fruit without doubling the sugar, and that also gelled.
          My guess would be that your temperature was off, due to your thermometer not being accurate enough, or else your fruit was super-ripe and didn’t have enough pectin left in it.
          Or maybe I’m just lucky, jam-wise.

  • This is my very first canning project! I wanted to try something small, to see if I liked the process or not. I just finished cleaning the kitchen. I heard the jars ping and I was so excited. Tomorrow I’m going to go buy a canner and rack – what a great way to spend a rainy June afternoon!

  • this might sound like a weird question but are those really half pint jars? they seem so short compared to the ones i have. just wondering if theyre not 4 ounce? if they are half where did you get them they look amazing!

  • Hoorah, these are perfect for me!! Definitely gonna try it this summer. To be honest, I just don’t have the patience to do giant batches, but this looks great!

  • Thank you so much! I love the idea of small-batch canning, especially since I’m a novice jam maker. However, this morning, I decided to just jump right in, and I’ve made this recipe, your strawberry rhubarb jam recipe, and your blueberry jam, too. I’m so thrilled with how easy they all were – and that they all set up nicely! Lol since I had the water going, I went on and canned some peach salsa and some blackberry chipotle sauce, for good measure. Of course I saved the seeds and will soon have some lovely blackberry vinegar on hand.

    Thank you for the inspiration, encouragement, and delicious recipes. My kids are just as excited as I am!!!

  • This recipe turned out amazingly well when I used it a couple of weeks ago. We still have a week or two of strawberry season left here in MN, so it may get made again.

    In a related note, I’m starting to teach beginning canning lessons at my wonderful local urban farm supply store in St. Paul (http://eggplantsupply.com/) and I’d love to put your blog, and specifically this recipe on my handout as a place for inspiration and recipes. Would that be ok with you?

    Thanks for all the inspiration so far!

  • A few questions… Can I make this with frozen berries (thawed, of course)? What about with blackberries? I have never canned before and this looks so easy! Too bad strawberry season was so short here in Northwest IN!

    1. I find that it’s harder to get frozen berries to set. So while you could certainly use them, it might be runnier than you’d like. I tend to remove seeds from blackberries before making jam, since they have super assertive seeds, but as long as you measured out the same amount of blackberry pulp, you could easily make the same recipe.

  • I’ve made this recipe twice now. Thanks for introducing me to the notion of small batch preserving! It has changed how I do my canning. This particular recipe is a little too sweet for me (even when I’ve reduced the sugar) — but perhaps that’s due to the amazingly sweet berries I’m getting from the farmers’ market these days. I also have not been successful at producing an entire three half-pints. I always end up with one-and-a-half to two. Maybe I’m cooking it down too long, since I definitely end up with a thick-set product (unlike the set-soft set you said it should be). But despite that, I’ll continue making jam this way whenever I have some extra to spare this summer.

  • A belated thanks for the asparagus pot tip!
    Scored one at a thrift store (under $3)!

    I find it is great to use as it takes less time/energy to boil the smaller amount of water and doesn’t make the kitchen quite so hot.
    Due to our current heatwave, the idea of using the big canner pot was just too much.

  • I’m really confused on the whole pectin issue. Pectin is not needed in all jam recipes? I am a newbie to canning so would love any advice! I also posted on Facebook a silly question: How come some recipes call for liquid pectin while others the powder kind? Is it really necessary to use a thermometer?

  • Made this yesterday, I am in love. Small batch is so the way to go. Also used this as a template to make a small batch of Raspberry Jam also yummy. Thanks for helping me return to a beloved passtime, its been 15 years since I last made jam. 🙂

  • I bought some Elite jars a year or two ago because they were so cute but HATED using them in my standard water bath canner. I may have to re-think those jars now! One kid left to launch then a 3 jar batch would be about right for hubby & me 🙂

  • I made this and it turned out fantastic! I didn’t have vanilla bean so I substituted 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp almond, I can’t keep my family from opening the jars and eating the enire contents with vanilla ice cream. It’s just that good.

  • I have to say that this is my (and my husband’s) absolute favorite. I can hardly keep him from eating it straight out of the jar. It’s great on everything, cheese apps, turkey sandwiches, I even turned it in to a delicious homemade ice cream! The jam turned out so well I did a number of additional batches to give away for Christmas. Thanks so much for all of the hard work you put into this website!!

  • I just finished a batch – wonderful recipe. Thank you so very much!

    I’ll probably blog about it this week – will certainly post a link back to your blog.


    1. Change of plans – I processed my jars of jam and they never “set”, despite bringing it to the correct temperature using an accurate thermocouple digital thermometer. I made a single batch and macerated my strawberries for 48 hours. I think I’ll have to add more fresh berries and use it as a dessert sauce as it’s too sweet to use as a sauce in its present form.

      1. I’m so sorry to hear that your jam didn’t set. If you’re really unhappy with the set, you could open the jars and recook the jam until it thickens further.

        1. Not a problem, really. I ended up adding more fresh berries to it and used it as an ice cream topping. It was a hit at a recent function I attended.

  • I’m about to cite this jam recipe in a discussion about literary examples of cooking where people are talking about notable strawberry jam failure in Anna Karenina. here

    Things that make this recipe useful to the discussion:
    – you do not add water to the recipe
    – you do not add pectin
    – it’s a small batch, rather than a large batch

    But how firm was the resulting jam?

      1. Strawberries are really low in natural pectin, so that when you make a jam from them without any additional pectin, it’s always going to be a loose-set jam. However, doing it in small batches does increase the level of set. Still, it’s not firm like a blueberry jam would be.

  • Does it matter how long berries have been in the fridge macerating?

    I put some blackberries in with the sugar more than a month ago and they got moved to the back of fridge and I just found them! They don’t smell spoiled. Are they still safe to use?

  • I’m trying this idea out today. Normally I do my jams in batches that make 6-7 half pints, but I am trying to break that habit. I have a pound of strawberries that are at that “sweet but not exactly pretty” stage that I like for jam and some Meyer lemons that are calling out to be combined into something. Not exactly to the recipe, but it seems to be to the spirit.

  • i’m coming late to the game, but i wanted to thank you for posting this! i picked about 7 lbs of strawberries yesterday, but wanted to make a variety of jams, including a strawberry-lemon and a strawberry-balsamic. i’m going to start with your strawberry-vanilla and adapt from there!

  • What a great idea for using overripe strawberries. I’m going to try the strawberry vanilla jam this week.

  • I’m actually making this recipe this morning (my first time making preserves/ canning), and i am having the hardest time getting it to 220F. i’m at sea level, so i think 220F is the right temperature. i’ve been simmering it for over 30 min and it just hovers between 200 and 210. the heat is pretty high and i’m worried that it will burn if i turn it up any higher. how long is it supposed to take?? Thanks

    1. Corina, it sounds like you needed to crank it. You’ve got to take it to a full, rolling boil. I cook jam at my stove’s highest temperature. High fast cooking and constant stirring is the only way. This recipe shouldn’t taken more than 10 or 15 minutes to cook on high.

  • You inspired me to finally break down and try canning with this recipe. So after reading lots of your suggestions on canning. I gave it a try this morning. My only concern, I ended up with more than 3 jars. I used a candy thermometer (forgot to calibrate it first), and then the test where you put a small amount on a plate and put it in the freezer for 3 minutes. When I pulled my finger through it, the red sea stayed parted so to speak. So I’m hopeful. So back to the volume – I bought 2 qts of strawberries at the farmers market. They poured both together in one paper bag. So I went with 4 cups of chopped berries – maybe that’s the difference in my volume? I reached a rolling boil really quickly too, so maybe it just didn’t get as much time to boil off before reaching 220 – It seemed to take about 10 to 15 minutes. Any thoughts? I guess if it doesn’t set up, I’ll use it as ice cream topping and syrup.

    Overall, It was a nice beginner project. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m definitely going to try another canning expedition!

  • I made this yesterday, I did a double batch, making nearly 8 jam jars (half pint). I opened the not quite filled jar this morning and it’s quite soft set. I live in NJ, so I followed the 220 and 10min bath.
    I don’t mind the soft set nature, it’s delicious and my son proclaims it to be the best strawberry jam he’s ever tasted {in his seven years of life}.
    Just wondering if I should cook it to a higher temp when double batching to get a slightly firmer set, or if I should just use pectin. I’ve never used pectin. This is only my second year of canning.

  • Hi, I always use the pomona pectin and follow their recipe for canning (less sugar). is it ok to just add vanilla and lemon, and then follow the pomona recipe for the remainder? thanks!

      1. Thank you! One more question – I just found your website a week after you were in Blooming Glen, which is just a few minutes away. But a trip to the city is always fun, so we’d like to take a class at Greensgrow. Just wondering if there is an age restriction – can I sign my 15 yr. old up?

  • We went strawberry picking yesterday and I’m excited to try this as my entry into canning. I’ve got one quart of strawberries macerating with vanilla, but I also did another quart and added a spoonful of cocoa powder instead of vanilla beans. Can I just continue with the recipe from there or will that change it enough that it’s not safe to can? I’ve seen lots of cautions about untested recipes.

  • Just made a batch of this tonight. It smelled so heavenly while boiling, but the bit I’ve tasted from the pan now that the jars are cooling is overwhelmingly lemony with hardly any vanilla. 🙁 Is this just the way it is? If I make it again, can I omit the lemon or is that necessary for safety purposes?

    I also always try to reduce the sugar in any recipe I make so I just stuck with 1 cup of sugar plus a good dollop of honey for this and it seems plenty sweet. Do you ever use honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar in your jams?

  • i LOVE this recipe and have used it numerous times.

    would it work for similar berries – black raspberries of example? i have about a quart or so. thanks.

      1. sweet. i guess i was just curious if strawberries had more natural pectin or something that would hinder the jam.

        do you have a list or anything anywhere (or know where i can find one) that details the natural pectin in fruits?

  • So I love this site and ordered the new book! I tried making this recipe (strawberry vanilla jam) but it didn’t turn out 🙁 I’m wondering what went wrong?! I used powered pectin instead of liquid (but converted the ratios to match liquid) but wondered if that was the problem? I also ended up with half the amount of jars I was supposed to get…I measured the strawberries after washed, hulled and cut…wrong?

    1. Trina, I’m so sorry to hear that you had issues with this recipe. I’ve made it many times without issue. Are you sure you made this exact small batch recipe? Because there’s actually no pectin in it.

      1. Marisa, it sounds like she made the Strawberry Vanilla jam recipe from the cookbook, not this small batch one.

        I just finished up a batch of the cookbook version right now myself.

      2. I tried this version of the recipe (without pectin), and bringing my jam to 220 degrees (I actually pulled it off the stove around 218 so it wouldn’t continue to heat past 220) resulted in a very sticky, very hard jam. I have to microwave it to soften it before use, and I hate the sticky feeling when I’m eating it.
        The flavor is divine, but most of the time, isn’t worth the hassle.
        Did I do something wrong, or is this jam just not my cup of tea?

        1. It might be that you weren’t getting a true temperature reading, because the jam cannot achieve that kind of consistency at 218 degrees. Next time, skip the thermometer and just watch the jam as it cooks. When you can pull a line through the jam in the pan and it holds for a moment or two, it is done.

  • Hi, I would like to try the 4th burner pot for processing, but I’m a beginner and would need specific instructions. How high do you fill it up with water? And do you put the lid on? Thanks for your kind assistance! 🙂

    1. Marlen, you fill the pot up with water so that the jars are completely submerged and then you put the lid on.

      1. Perfect, thank you Marisa for the quick reply 🙂 Now I just have to figure out how to order the pot (just found out that it’s only available in the US; I live in Switzerland which is actually the home of Kuhn Rikon….) Thanks again and I’m looking forward to small batch canning.

        1. Marlen, I very recently purchased mine off eBay and also found the asparagus pot on there as well for extremely reasonable prices, even with the shipping & handling charges to Canada! Hope that helps!

  • So it’s ok to stack jars while canning then? I would have thought you wouldn’t want anything touching the lid and potentially messing with the seal.

  • Help! I totally spaced out!
    I am a huge mutitasker, and sometimes things slip by me.
    I just noticed my jar of strawberries, Vanialla bean and sugar in my fridge as I was pulling out some peppers. I placed the berries in to macerate 9 days ago!
    The berry mixture is in a glass jar with a lid, no air.
    I hate to toss but 9 days…any hope?

  • Do you have to use the lemon? Can you use lemon juice if so and how much? I wanna try this later, however I cant find vanilla bean 🙁 so I’m just have to do with out until I can track it down!

  • Made it today and hooya is it yummy! I actually did 7 pints. No lemons or vanilla beans, so used 2 t. Lemon concentrate and 1 t. Vanilla. And my secret…1 drop of almond extract!

  • Hi!
    I just finished making yet another batch of your oh-so-yummy jam! I quite recently began making tentative steps into this wonderful world of canning and your small-batch recipes are just perfect for me! My eldest daughter is a huge fan of yours & quickly pointed me towards your blog when I called to ask for yet more advice as I tried my very first batch of jam. Sadly that one didn’t turn out (syrup anyone?!) but after I began reading my way through this fantastic site I quickly discovered what I did wrong and was able to fix it the next go ’round.
    I decided to be brave & “mix things up a touch” after the great success I had with the other batches so this time I added raspberries to the mix, being sure to increase the other ingredients as well. Turned out terrific (or so the family says, lol) and all credit & many thanks to you & your wonderful blog. Without your blog with it’s easy to understand step-by-step articles, pictures, FAQ’s and recipes I would never have experienced the immense satisfaction that comes from knowing “I made that!” And also the “joy of the Ping” (lol).
    So thank you. PLEASE keep your Urban canning recipes coming and as I gain confidence I will eventually try my hand at the larger recipes in your latest beautiful book (I just got it the other day & am thrilled with it btw!).
    With warm regards,
    Wendy Harrison
    Edson AB, Canada

  • Could I safely add a tablespoon or two of rose water to this? If so, would you recommend one or two tablespoons? Or, should I make your strawberry rhubarb jam with rose water and replace the rhubarb with strawberries & add a vanilla bean?

    1. Sure, you can easily add a tablespoon or so of rose water to this recipe. Just go easy with the rose water at first. People have reported that theirs was much stronger than mine and so the amount I called for made the jam overpoweringly rosy.

  • I just have to say, I made a batch of this back in April (the end of strawberry season here in south central Texas) and for some reason it didn’t set. This ended up being a blessing in disguise though because it made the most wonderful ice cream topping I’ve ever eaten. I just used my last jar over the weekend, and am now contemplating spending the $3 a pound at the grocery to buy some more berries to make another batch or two because it was that good.

  • Which size 4th burner pot do you have? Could I fit a 1 1/2 pint jar in it? I like using them for my dill spears but often only have enough cucumbers for 1 jar. This would come in so handy.

    1. I use the one made by Kuhn Rikon, mentioned in this post. If you take the rack out and put a this cloth at the bottom, a pint and a half jar just barely fits. It’s an imperfect solution, but does work.