Classic Strawberry Jam

This is the recipe my grandmother always used for her strawberry jam.  The taste and color when freshly made can’t be beat.  Opening a jar of this in the cold winter months provides the sweetest reminder of summer.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and toast taste so good with a smear of this red spread.  It also makes a thoughtful and much-appreciated gift.

Although there is a lot of sugar in the recipe, keep in mind the recipe yields eight 8-ounce jars.  Even with some major PB&J fans in my family, one batch lasts for months.

Beside a large, heavy pot, you will need canning jars and lids to accommodate approximately eight cups of jam.  It is also helpful to have a funnel wide enough to allow the jam to flow through into your jars–this makes the transfer from the pot easier and less messy.  A wooden spoon for stirring, tongs to remove the lids from the simmering water, a potato masher (to crush the berries), and a second large pot or canner are all helpful.

I like to prepare everything in advance.  Washing the jars, measuring the sugar, and getting your pot and utensils ready the night before makes for relatively quick work.  While I am cooking the berries, I simmer water in a small pot and put all the lids and bands in.  When I have ladled the finished jam into the clean jars, the lids are sterile and ready to be screwed on quickly.

Classic Strawberry Jam
Yields 8 cups.
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts strawberries, washed, stems removed, cut and crushed to yield 5 cups crushed berries (see notes)
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1 box fruit pectin (I use Sure-Jell)
Instructions
  1. Pour the strawberries into a large pot. Measure the sugar into a separate bowl and set aside. Stir the package of pectin into the strawberries and add the butter.
  2. Stirring frequently, bring the strawberry mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that does not stop bubbling when stirred), and then add the sugar. Stir to fully incorporate.
  3. Return the mixture to a full, rolling boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Skim any foam from the surface.
  6. Ladle quickly into clean jars. (I like to use a wide funnel.)
  7. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth.
  8. Place the heated lids (lids that have been placed in simmering water for at least a minute) on the jars and tighten the bands.
  9. Place the jars in a canner and process (gently boil) for 10 minutes. The water should cover the jars by an inch or two–add additional boiling water, if necessary. Carefully, remove the jars from the canner.
  10. Cool completely before storing. Make certain all lids have sealed properly before storing. If the lid springs back when pressed in the middle, it is not sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator.
Notes
  • For many years I used a potato masher to crush the berries. More recently, I chop them and put them straight into the pot. Then, I simply crush the berries with a clean hand. I think this is an easier way to crush the berries quickly and thoroughly.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

One batch of jam yields this many jars–the equivalent of eight cups. Perfect for a taste of summer throughout the cold winter months!

A thin spread of mascarpone cheese topped with homemade strawberry jam turns toast into a delicious treat!

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Comments

    1. Ann

      After you do it the first time, it will take all the fear out of it. It’s easier than it seems! You can always use the freezer method, too. There is a very good, basic explanation of both techniques in the box of fruit pectin.

      Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Joni,
      I don’t see why you couldn’t freeze this, although I have not done so. If you are interested, there are variations specifically for freezer jams, but I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a go!

      Reply
        1. Peggy

          Re: freezing cooked jam: Cooked jams and “freezer” jams are entirely different products. However, I freeze my cooked strawberry jam. Doing this eliminates the need to process the jam and/or to put paraffin on the top. It will keep nicely for a couple of years. Regarding the berry prep: I throw mine in the blender and puree them. My family doesn’t care for the chunks of berries.

          Reply
          1. Ann

            You are exactly right about the freezer versus cooked jams. There are different preparations but, so as not to confuse people, this recipe for cooked jam may be frozen to avoid the processing step, as you mention. Thank you for the comments and for the blender suggestion for those who don’t care for the chunks!

  1. Joanne Woodin

    I can every year,but am blessed to have a full crop of concord White Beauties,they are used to make wine but have the taste of champagne.My plans are to make jam instead.I’m going on the idea it will be the same as making any grape jam,have you any thoughts on this?

    Reply
      1. Joanne Woodin

        Thank you Ann,I have for years made jams and jellies,I checked out the link you sent me and so copied it.I like to add different things and spices to the making of them..One I love is apple jelly,I add to that all the spice that goes into making a pie,so I call it that apple pie jelly,ohh so good to,I’ve made Asian olive which is a wild berry with allspice,cinnamon and nutmeg..I have lost a few in doing different ones,but I sure give it a go! heheheee

        Reply
        1. Ann

          So glad that helped, Joanne! I have never made apple jelly and your apple pie version sounds divine. Perhaps I should try…or pay you a visit!

          Reply
  2. Tamara Bako

    Oh what memories this conjures up! We had a strawberry patch that produced jars and jars of jams & jellies and shortcake was the entertainment treat for many of the family friends. Seeing this beautiful picture and reading your story brought back those warm memories. We never lacked for treats from our garden all winter long. I miss her and I miss her amazing cooking!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      There sure is something special about grandmothers and the littlest details can be the biggest and best memories! I bet that strawberry patch was amazing, as were all the good things made from those berries! Thanks so much for the great comment, Tamara!

      Reply
  3. Liza

    do you process for different times dependent on the jar size. Going to be making 4 ounces for presents. Have never done that size before so….

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Good question, Liza. I haven’t processed the 4-ounce size jar either. I don’t think there would be any harm in processing the jars for the full 10 minutes, but I also think it would be okay to shorten the time by 2-3 minutes. I am sure your gifts will be much appreciated!

      Reply
  4. Michele

    Thank you Ann! This is something else you and I have in common… our grandmother’s strawberry jam! 🙂 I have such fond memories of helping her pick strawberries and make jam! And eat a bowl of freshly picked berries with fresh cream… heavenly! xoxo

    Reply
    1. Ann

      The memories are every bit as delicious as the food itself, aren’t they? Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, Michele!

      Reply
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  8. Sharon

    I’ve always made the freezer strawberry jam (not processed in canning) is there a difference in taste?

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Sharon,
      My recollection is that they are slightly different but both delicious, although it’s been a long time since I’ve had the freezer version.

      Reply