Easy Strawberry Jam
Jun 25, 2022, Updated Jun 06, 2023
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Easy strawberry jam takes spring fruit and transforms it into sweet-tart jam goodness.Just a few ingredients, a short cook time, and no canning makes this very easy and fun!
The depths of my love of a jar of homemade strawberry jam knows no bounds. Strawberries cooking on the stove hold the aroma and flavor that have launched a thousand of my own ships…the title of my original blog and cookbook was inspired as I inhaled sweet strawberry rose sauce cooking in my kitchen in San Francisco during culinary school. My first blog post was a heartfelt story with Strawberry Rose Lemonade as its recipe.
This very easy strawberry jam is one to make especially during strawberry season, but it’s also wonderful all year long, coaxing flavor from winter-time berries that are otherwise lackluster. Here in northern Michigan, strawberry season comes mid- to late-June. I take a gentle touch with ingredients but always include rose water, which is a strawberry’s twin sister, best friend, cousin, all.
Strawberry Jam Ingredients
Strawberries. Look for fresh, thoroughly red berries with no or very few blemishes.
Sugar. See FAQs for info about sugar options.
Fresh Lemon Juice. All things fruit-sweet are better, in my humble opinion, with a tart note.
Rose Water. See above (rose + strawberry = perfect). Use pure rose water, which is distilled from rose petals. Rose extract? No. That is a flavor we avoid.
No pectin! This recipe does not include additional pectin. There is naturally occurring pectin in strawberries; this combined with lemon juice and sugar create the jam’s thick and saucy consistency.
How to make easy strawberry jam
Step 1. Hull and cut the berries.
Step 2. Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Mash the fruit with potato masher.
Step 3. Simmer until the mixture thickens. To determine if your jam is thickened properly, place a spoonful on a small plate and run the tip of the spoon through it. If the spoon leaves trail that does not fill in immediately, you’re there. This takes anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes.
Step 4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the rose water.
Step 5. Transfer the jam to a 1/2-quart jam jar, allowing the jam to cool a bit before putting the lid on and refrigerating. The jam will hold for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
How to hull strawberries
The short of it is this: don’t cut the strawberry straight across the top, taking the precious flesh at the shoulders. Use a small knife, angling it in around the stem and cut it out like a plug. This way we get as much strawberry as possible to love.
Frequently Asked Questions
Great berries make great jam. If you can get them in season, from a farmer’s market or picked by your own hand (I’m saying it!), you’re in for the best flavor of your life.
If purchasing from the grocery store, I always buy organic strawberries. They’re on the “dirty dozen” list of “if you buy anything organic make it these.” The same is true of organic apples, but that’s a story for another time (note this, I’m on the No Apples in Summer committee).
Not this one, my friends. Make this is one jar of jam, easy peasy, and keep it in the refrigerator to eat up fast fast (no problem!). The jam will hold in the refrigerator for weeks.
An easy way to test the thickness of your jam is to spoon some onto a plate and run a spoon through it. Look for staying power of the track the spoon makes. The line lingers quickly and leaves a track, and you’re there.
Yes, frozen berries work fine in this recipe. Add them to the mix straight from the freezer, no need to thaw. The cook time will increase some, in order to cook the frozen fruit.
Simply reduce the sugar quantity in the recipe to make a low sugar jam. Cook the mixture a little longer so that it thickens; the sugar assists in thickening the jam.
Pectin occurs naturally in fruit. It is gelatinous and contributes to the thickness and set of jams. Pectin can be added to preserves to make it thicker. This recipe calls for no pectin, using the natural pectin in the berries, combined with lemon juice and sugar, to make a thick saucy jam. Jam is delicious with or without pectin!
Lemon is so key, adding a tart note that really brings out the flavor of the fruit in jam. Avoid jam that is too sweet with little fruit flavor by adding lemon juice, and increasing as needed. Lemon juice is also essential in strawberry jam with no pectin because it aids in helping the jam set (strawberries are low-pectin fruit).
You can use bottled lemon juice. The drawback is flavor. Fresh lemon juice has better natural lemon flavor than juice from a bottle or frozen.
For no-pectin jam, leaving out the lemon juice will leave the jam runny.
Yes, you can use cider vinegar with a 1-1 substitution. The flavor of the finished jam is not as bright and wonderful as it is with fresh lemon juice though.
Best ways to use Strawberry Jam
- With a spoon sitting at your counter.
- On fruit salad. Mix with orange juice and toss the salad with the dressing.
- On berries. Mix chopped fresh strawberries and whole raspberries with the jam and allow to macerate (get juicy). Spoon over cheesecake, shortcake, biscuits, you name it. Top with whipped cream.
- On toast.
- On ice cream.
- Filling for layer cake.
- In Strawberry Jam Bars.
- With a spoon sitting at your counter (on repeat).
More Recipes for Preserves
More Strawberry Recipes
Easy Strawberry Jam
- 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut into ½-inch pieces (3 cups)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons rose water
- Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Mash the fruit with potato masher.
- Simmer until the mixture thickens. To determine if your jam is thickened properly, place a spoonful on a small plate and run the tip of the spoon through it. If the spoon leaves trail that does not fill in immediately, you're there. This takes anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the rose water.
- Transfer the jam to a 1/2-quart jam jar, allowing the jam to cool a bit before putting the lid on and refrigerating. The jam will hold for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.