Love and Olive Oil

Strawberry Jalapeño and Strawberry Basil Jam

Strawberry Jalapeño and Strawberry Basil Jam from @loveandoliveoil

In the past four weeks I’ve picked over 15 pounds of strawberries, nearly three gallons of ruby red goodness. From two different farms on two different mornings. I’ve made preserves and ice cream, salads and guacamole, and sprinkled them in my cereal every morning. I’ve stashed a few bags of puree in the freezer, and filled my pantry with over a dozen jars of jam. And I’m considering going out for one more load before the season is over.

If too many strawberries is a problem for you, well, then, more strawberries for me.

Strawberry Jalapeño and Strawberry Basil Jam from @loveandoliveoil

May is, perhaps, my favorite month of them all, if only because that is when the strawberries ripen in Tennessee. You can’t beat local strawberries, the kind that are red right through to the core. The kind you can smell before you see, the fragrance of strawberries hitting your nose before you even see the fields. The kind that are so sweet and juicy it’s almost blasphemy to add any sugar to them at all.

And yet… strawberry jam is hardly blasphemy. It’s the best way to preserve the best of May so the rest of the year doesn’t seem so lame by comparison. And even though eating 15 pounds of strawberries might seem tempting, believe me, your stomach will not be happy with you if you try. And we all know they’ll only keep so long in the refrigerator.

I knew last year’s Strawberry Hibiscus Jam was going to be tough to beat (my little 2nd cousin Skye would vouch for that, I’m sure. She may not remember me but she sure as heck remembers my jam). With that in mind I decided to do two different flavors this year that I hope will please Skye just as much: basil and jalapeño.

Fresh Picked Tennessee Strawberries

Basil is such a logical companion for strawberries, that one was a no brainer. The slightly grassy notes of the basil perfectly compliment the candy-sweet berries. I could see this one being used in both sweet and savory ways.

The jalapeño, on the other hand, is for adventurous canners and eaters alike. I honestly had no idea how much spice would come through in the final jam (and had a brief moment of “oh shit did I ruin the whole batch?” as I threw 3 whole jalapeños into the food processor.) But the balance between sweetness and spice is perfect. With savory undertones, this jam would be divine with cheese, mindblowing on a burger, or the secret to perhaps the world’s greatest peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

(What are you waiting for? Click through for the recipe and to download a set of free printable labels for your own jars!)

Strawberry Jalapeño and Strawberry Basil Jam from @loveandoliveoil

A few words (ok, more than a few) about pectin:

I’ve struggled with getting my jam to properly set. I’ve tried Sure-Jell powder and Certo liquid, and neither has really produced an ideal set. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, the low-sugar stuff sets up almost too firm for my taste, with an off flavor that I don’t love. The two batches pictured here were made with regular Sure-Jell, and are a bit looser than I’d like them to be. Still delicious, don’t get me wrong, but they’d be a bit drippy if you wanted to use them for, say, a sandwich.

In the time since, however, I made a third batch of jam (plain-ass strawberry, as per Taylor’s request) using Pomona’s Universal Pectin, and I have to say I may never go back to Sure-Jell again. Since it doesn’t rely on sugar to set, the results are much more reliable no matter how much I tweak the recipe. The jam set up beautifully with absolutely none of the separation issues (‘floating fruit’) that I’ve had with other batches. So while I actually made these two jams with Sure-Jell, I much preferred the batch I made using Pomona’s and thus have written the recipe below accordingly.

If you prefer to use a different brand of pectin, I recommend starting with the basic strawberry jam recipe on your pectin packet insert, and adding the jalapeño or basil to that. Since each type of pectin has its own specific instructions (sugar quantities, ingredient order, boil times, etc) you’d be best off following the instructions and especially sugar quantities for whichever brand of pectin you are using.

Strawberry Jalapeño and Strawberry Basil Jam


  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 10 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with the pectin)

For Jalapeño Jam:

  • 3 large jalapeños, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

For Basil Jam:

  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves


  1. Prepare canner and wash/sterilize 5 half-pint mason (or equivalent) jars. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use. Warm lids in hot (not boiling) water to sterilize and soften seal.
  2. In a food processor, pulse about 1/3 of strawberries with either jalapeño or basil until finely chopped. Add remaining berries and pulse briefly until coarsely chopped; do not liquefy the berries as you still want chunks of berries in your final jam. You should have approximately 4 cups of crushed berries.
  3. Pour berries into a large, heavy saucepan along with lemon juice and calcium water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whisk together pectin and sugar until evenly incorporated. Add to strawberries, stirring vigorously until completely dissolved. Continue to stir unti mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that may have formed.
  5. Ladle jam into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Screw on lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 3 weeks.
All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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Free Printable Strawberry Jam LabelsBonus! A labeled jar is a happy jar, and with that in mind I’ve created these quirky labels for both strawberry jam recipes, so whichever one you decide to make you’re covered.

To use, simply download the printable file, then print onto full-sheet sticker paper (I used Kraft brown sticker paper, which can be purchased online at or locally at most office supply stores). Cut out the shapes and apply directly to the the finished jars. Curious about the hexagon and square jars I’ve used? I ordered them online at SKS Bottle (the 6oz size).

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Disclaimer: Copyright Love & Olive Oil. For personal use only. If you post about or share these labels, please credit appropriately and do not link directly to the downloadable file but rather to this post. Please do not distribute these downloadable files. Thank you much!

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  1. Rating: 5

    Made the strawberry basil jam using Paloma’s pectin.  I decided to add a little over a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper flakes at the end.  Adds a bit of mild heat that comes on slowly.  I love Aleppo pepper with fruit based foods rather than using jalapeño.  Great recipe.

  2. Rating: 5

    I made this about 8-years ago from this exact same recipe! 8-D  A few days ago my wife reminded me about liking it so much and I did an internet search and I found the same recipe. I was so pleased. Funny thing is that I repeated the same mistake from before: I made Strawberry Jalapeño Basil jam. I didn’t realize it until AFTER whirling the ingredients together in the food processor and it was too late. I can’t imagine making it any other way now. I love this stuff! Thank you for such a great flavor combination.

    • So glad you enjoyed (and continue to enjoy!) this recipe! And I LOVE the idea of jalapeno and basil together, actually!

  3. Wow, what an interesting mix of ingredients!
    This year I am planting a heap of chilies in the garden. I wonder how well it would go if I swapped out the Jalapeños and instead used some chocolate scotch bonnet chilies…
    Have you tried something like this?

    • I’ve used habaneros in a similar recipe (in my ebook if you’re interested, it uses pectin so it’s a quicker/lower sugar recipe).
      You’ll probably just want to use less chilies than specified if you use hotter ones but I think it’ll work just fine overall (I don’t recommend using MORE chilies than specified as it may reduce the acidity, but less is just fine!)

  4. Did you make the strawberry jam with Jalapeño and basil or just one of the ingredients?

  5. Frances – I made the strawberry basil jam tonight with the pectin. It is delicious. Added a new jam to my jam made efforts. I’m new to making jam. Feeling excited!!!

  6. What modifications do I need to make if my only option is sure-jell?

  7. Hey,

    I was very excited when I found these recipes and made them in August. However now the colour of the jam has changed from a pretty pink to a dingy. It was one of the first canning recipes I did but I followed and did a canning bath. Any idea why the colours would be faded and weird looking now? Hoping the jam isn’t ruined.

    • Lower sugar jams have a tendency to discolor with time, but they should still be fine to eat as long as they were properly processed and the seal is still in tact (the jar should ‘pop’ when you open it). If you see any visible mold or detect a weird odor then you should toss the jam, but just a slight discoloration is no cause for worry. If you can, store your jam in a cool dark place as sunlight will cause them to discolor even more.

  8. Wouldn’t you need more lemon? I was reading the insert from the pectin and am wondering if it’s enough?

  9. Hi there! 
    Your recipe sounds so yummy! I’m about to start my first try at making pepper jelly- i have sure-jel packets…can that be used in this recipe? 
    Thanks so much! 

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