Love and Olive Oil
Classic Strawberry Jam, 3 Ways (Old Fashioned, Regular Pectin, and Low-Sugar Pectin)

Classic Strawberry Jam, 3 Ways (Old Fashioned, Regular Pectin, and Low-Sugar Pectin)

Homemade strawberry jam is perfect in its simplicity, bright and sweet and bursting with strawberry flavor, no matter if you water-bath process it for shelf stable storage, refrigerate or freeze it, or eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon.

This post is jam-packed (pun intended) with all the info you need to make your perfect strawberry jam, comparing the different types of pectins and the pros and cons of each with recipes, as well a recipe for a traditional, old-fashioned jam with no added pectin.

Classic Strawberry Jam in an open glass jar with a spoon to show texture, with more jars of jam and fresh strawberries in the background.

Welcome to my treatise on strawberry jam, my jamifesto if you will.

The fact I managed to write over 4,500 words (!!) about strawberry jam should tell you just how passionate I am on the subject (at this point I’ve accepted that my personality is just… jam. Case in point, this purse that I picked up last week that is just TOO perfect 😍😍😍… how did Kate know I spent the entire weekend before making batch after batch of strawberry jam??)

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know I’m not one to make “plain” anything. Plain chocolate cake? How about a red wine chocolate cake instead? Plain chocolate chip cookies? Stuff ’em with ganache.

And plain strawberry jam? The fact that I’ve got a dozen unique strawberry jam recipes with flavorful additions, interesting infusions and clever combinations like strawberry limoncello, strawberry hibiscus, and guava strawberry jam to name a few, and even more in my cookbook, should tell you something about my personal feelings on ‘plain’ or boring jam flavors.

Overhead, marble background with lots of scattered fresh strawberries and three open jars of different kinds of strawberry jam.

So why am I here posting a recipe for plain ol’ strawberry jam?

Well, I figure it’d be a good opportunity to wax poetic about jam in general and just what you can expect from different styles of jam and brands of pectin. These lessons can be applied to any kind of jam, not just strawberry but other kinds of fruits as well.

(Psst! Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to download these adorable printable jar labels, absolutely free!)

Want More Jam Recipes?

Check out my new cookbook, That’s My Jam, with 52+ seasonal recipes for jams, jellies, marmalades & more!

If you’re new to canning, strawberry jam is a great place to start, as strawberries don’t require any overly involved preparation other than hulling, and they work well with a number of different methods and pectin brands. Needless to say it’s the perfect foundational fruit for your own culinary exploration.

I won’t be going into detail about the actual canning process much here, so if you’re new to canning, be sure to check out my cookbook: That’s My Jam as well as my canning 101 post from a few years back which has all the information and equipment you need to get started canning your own homemade preserves. And trust me, once you start you won’t be able to stop.

Spoonful of traditional strawberry jam made with regular pectin, showing the bright red color and smooth, jammy texture.

Anyway… you’ve probably seen jam recipes that call for different kinds of added pectin, while some don’t call for any at all.

So what’s the difference?

Knowing which style of jam you want to make, and which kind of pectin to choose might have you flummoxed. I’m here to clear the air and point you in the direction of the right method and type of pectin to make your perfect strawberry jam (which is very likely different from my perfect jam or your grandma’s or your aunt’s cousin’s best friend’s… that is to say everyone has their own personal preferences and jam is no exception).

Whether you like it super sweet and sticky, looser and less sweet, or fresh, bold, and balanced… I’ve got you covered!

Tasting Notes TLDR;

I tested 5 different kinds of pectin for this post, including an old-fashioned style jam with no added pectin. The detailed information on each can be found below, but here’s a quick overview of our tasting results and opinions:

Old Fashioned: Thick and sticky sweet, with an almost caramelized fruit flavor and a deep red color. This is the definitive classic strawberry jam, the kind your grandma used to make (if she made jam, that is). It’s wonderfully thick and sticky and perfect for a PB&J. This one tasted the sweetest (because, while it uses the same amount of sugar and fruit as a pectin-added jam, it cooks for much longer so the sugar is more concentrated), but the complex flavor notes of the cooked strawberry balance out the sweetness beautifully.

Regular Pectin: Ball Classic pectin produces a beautifully thick jam (although more fluid and less sticky than the old-fashioned method), while the moderate sugar content gives the jam a smooth and supple mouthfeel. The added pectin also makes for a much quicker cook time, leading to a brighter, fresher strawberry flavor and a higher yield. We both agreed this was our favorite jam of the lot!

SureJell regular pectin, which we also tested, calls for significantly more sugar than the Ball pectin, and, while it set up the firmest and most jelly-like of all our tests, it was not our favorite. It was simply too sweet, without the added complexity of flavor that the old-fashioned jam had.

Low Sugar Pectin: When you really want to let the fruit shine, a low-sugar pectin like Pomona’s produces a jam that tastes the most like fresh fruit. That said, it isn’t going to have the same luxurious mouthfeel that higher-sugar varieties will. You’ll also see more color loss over time (as sugar acts as a preservative as well as a sweetener).

We weren’t fans of the SureJell low-sugar pectin, we found the flavor to be dull and the consistency a bit watery.

Table comparing different kinds of pectin and their sugar quantities, cook time, and yield.
Jar and spoonful of Old Fashioned strawberry jam on a marble background, close up to show the jammy texture and rich color.

Old Fashioned (No Added Pectin)

Jams and marmalades labeled “old fashioned” do not have any added pectin, the only ingredients are fruit, sugar, and sometimes lemon juice. These kinds of jams, because the fruit is cooked for longer, often have a caramelized or candied-fruit flavor.

Old fashioned jams rely on the natural fruit pectin present within the fruit, along with the sugar and acid, to produce the jelly-like consistency that we know and love.

As the jam simmers, the sugar draws water out of the fruit, allowing the pectin inside the fruit to react with the acid and bind together, forming a powerful, liquid-trapping mesh. At 220°F (jam’s setting point), enough water has evaporated that the pectin chains in the fruit naturally bind to each other to create a jam-like consistency. Using less sugar or cooking to a lower temperature will result in an unset jam.

When making old-fashioned jams with no added pectin, it’s often recommended to include some less ripe fruit (not under ripe, mind you, but just ripe fruit, which has more natural pectin than very ripe fruit). About 25% just ripe fruit to 75% very ripe fruit should do it!

Because there is no added pectin, the sugar quantity is very important and cannot be reduced or the jam will not set, or you’ll end up cooking the jam much longer to reach the target temperature, resulting in overcooked fruit and a lower yield. Most old-fashioned jams use a 2:1 proportion of fruit to sugar by weight, and there’s a good reason for that. Trust me on this one and just don’t try to reduce the sugar (feel free to increase the sugar if you want to speed up the cook time and increase your yield, however!)

Mind your Elevation

For folks at high altitude, adjust your target temperature by 2ºF for every 1000 feet of elevation. For example if you are at 5000 feet elevation, aim for 210ºF instead of 220ºF.

You can also use a digital thermometer to test the temperature of boiling water. At sea level this should be 212ºF, but it will decrease by approximately 2ºF per 1000 feet (so at 5000 feet water should boil at 202ºF). Your target temperature will be 8ºF above boiling.

Also for high elevation folks: you’ll need to increase processing times for your water-bath as well!

Jar and spoonful of classic strawberry jam on a marble background, close up to show the jammy texture and bright red color.

Traditional (Regular Pectin)

The main difference between old-fashioned and pectin-based jams is a shorter cook time (since the added pectin will help set the jam, you don’t have to bring it up to a specific temperature to do so).

For this reason, jams with added pectin are a much quicker and easier option for beginners or anyone who is short on time. The shorter cook time also means a higher yield and a brighter, fresher strawberry flavor.

When working with traditional fruit pectin, be sure to follow the instructions and sugar ratios on your pectin package EXACTLY. You CANNOT reduce the sugar or your jam will NOT set.

Ball RealFruit Classic Pectin is my favorite pectin for classic jam recipes, as it is somewhat flexible in the amount of sugar you can use (it has recipes for both a ‘regular’ and ‘lower’ sugar variations, the latter calling for a 2:1 proportion of fruit to sugar, the same as my old-fashioned jam recipe, which is what I used in my tests).

I also like that the Ball pectin as it comes in a jar instead of a box, allowing you to measure it out by the tablespoon for smaller batches of jam. I think I determined about 4 to 5 tablespoons is equal to 1 package of pectin, but use gram measurements if you’re unsure.

SureJell Pectin (in the yellow box), on the other hand, requires almost twice as much sugar (a nearly 1:1 ratio by weight), and it does not have a lower sugar option (I even tested it for the purposes of this post and it did not set at all, I had to add additional sugar and bring it back to a full boil to get it to set properly). Properly set, this batch was the thickest and jelly-est jam of the bunch, but also the sweetest in that it tasted more like candy than jam. Cook it a few degrees more and you basically have strawberry gummy candies (which, not surprisingly, are made with SureJell yellow box pectin).

I did not test regular liquid pectin in this experiment; and while I have used it in the past, I find it to be less reliable than powdered pectin. You cannot substitute liquid for powdered pectin; rather, follow the ingredient quantities and instructions on the pectin package insert.

Of course there are also naturally-set jams that, unlike old-fashioned jams, use added pectin, but rather than a box or pouch, the pectin comes from naturally pectin-rich fruit (like apples, lemons, or quince). I’m not covering that style of jam here, but if you’re interested, I have a lovely tart cherry apple jam in my cookbook that uses the natural pectin from apples for a bright and flavorful and perfectly thick naturally set jam.

Jar and spoonful of low-sugar strawberry jam on a marble background, close up to show the fruit-forward texture and bright color.

Low-Sugar Pectin

Pomona’s Universal Pectin is my pectin of choice for lower sugar jams. Why? Because it’s the only kind of pectin where you can customize the amount of sugar or replace the sugar with pretty much any sugar substitute and still achieve a proper set.

The lower sugar content really allows the fruit to shine through: this batch had the brightest, freshest strawberry flavor of the lot.

Despite its flexibility with regards to sugar, I tend to use the maximum amount of sugar for Pomona’s recipes, about 2 cups per 4 cups of prepared fruit (a 3:1 proportion of fruit to sugar by weight), as I prefer the texture and mouthfeel and extended color preservation the sugar provides. But even with the maximum amount sugar, it still has significantly less sugar than other varieties (about 33% less in fact).

Keep in mind that reducing the sugar in jams does affect the texture and lifespan of the final jam: low sugar jams often have a coarser, sometimes grainy texture, watery consistency, and a more opaque appearance (the ‘crystal’ appearance of jams and jellies is a direct result of the high sugar content). Jams with less sugar will also lose their color much more quickly (while they are still safe to eat for up to a year with proper processing techniques, there may be some color loss, particularly in bright red jams).

While the regular and old-fashioned batches were perfectly fine with loosely mashed strawberries, because of the low sugar and quick cook time of Pomona’s-based jams, I prefer processing the fruit a bit more, either finely chopping by hand or even in a food processor and then mashing it really well, or even running it through the medium screen of a food mill. I find this produces a more pleasant consistency than coarsely chopped and mashed fruit.

If you prefer a more traditional mouthfeel, you can use more sugar with Pomona’s pectin, you just need to add the additional sugar AFTER the initial sugar/pectin mixture has fully dissolved (Pomona’s pectin will not dissolve in higher sugar concentrations). So add the base sugar/pectin according to the recipe, stir until fully dissolved, then add the additional sugar and let it come back to a full boil.

For comparison, I also tested SureJell low-sugar pectin in the pink box, which is their “low” sugar offering, though it called for nearly as much sugar as the Ball Classic pectin batch. While it set nicely enough, if you’re going to use this moderate amount of sugar, we much preferred the texture and flavor of the Ball Classic pectin batch over the SureJell low-sugar batch, which felt almost flat by comparison (weird). There are instructions for a Stevia-sweetened jam too, and while I did not test this personally, it is an option for those who want to utilize sugar replacements.

I did not test Ball’s low-sugar pectin (frankly I ran out of strawberries), but if/when I get more, I’ll definitely come back and update this post accordingly.

Preparing Your Fruit

Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to prepare for jams (with the exception of maybe blueberries which don’t even have hulls).

First wash your berries well. Ideally you’ve purchased organic, unsprayed fruit, but you still need to wash them well. Your fruit doesn’t need to be perfect, but discard or cut off any bruised or mushy spots.

Them remove the hulls (the leaves and stems and the the small ‘core’ where it connects to the berry). There are a number of tools out there designed for this task, but you can also just use a knife or even a drinking straw to ‘poke’ out the hulls from the bottom.

After hulling, coarsely chop the berries into half-inch pieces (quarter small ones, larger berries cut into eighths), then mash with a potato masher.

After mashing, measure the quantity of fruit (both volume and weight): this is your final amount of prepared fruit and will determine how much sugar/pectin you need.

For this small-ish batch recipe, I call for 3 cups of mashed fruit, which is about 2 pounds (or a scant 1.5 quarts) of whole berries, but depending on the size, quality, and ripeness of your fruit you may need slightly more or less. The final volume of prepared fruit is the measurement you want to pay most attention to.

Jam recipes calling for a raw weight or volume of fruit (like 2 pounds or 1 quart) is just a rough estimate so you know how much to buy; pay closest attention to the final prepared (ie mashed) fruit volume for the most accurate yields.

You can also opt to run the fruit through a food mill and skip the chopping/mashing steps entirely. I recommend the medium or coarse screens. A food mill will produce a smoother, more sauce-like consistency and a slightly looser set in the final jam.

Classic Strawberry Jam in a glass jar with fresh strawberries on a marble background, one jar open in the foreground with a spoon in it to show the texture.

The Gel Test

For Old-Fashioned jams in particular, it is important to determine if your jam has set properly before you transfer it to jars to process. Testing the set up front will ensure you don’t waste your time processing only to discover later that you actually made strawberry sauce rather than jam (which isn’t a bad thing, just probably not what you intended).

There are multiple visual indicators you can look for as well as temperature measurements to determine if your jam is properly set; if it’s not set yet, cook it slightly longer (for old fashioned jams) or add more pectin and reboil, then test again.

I recommend always using two different variables for the most accurate results, or even all 3 tests if you want to be absolutely sure, checking both the actual temperature of the jam as well as the appearance of it on the spatula and after chilling.

You can use the visual tests on pectin-based jams too (not the temperature though, that’s specific to old-fashioned jams), before transferring to jars and processing, and if they aren’t fully set, you can try adding more pectin (or if you reduced the sugar in a regular pectin recipe contrary to my advice, you’ll need to add more sugar) and bring it back to a full boil again.

Temperature Test

I always have an instant-read thermometer handy when making old-fashioned jam as it gives me the most accurate indication of the jam’s progress as it cooks. You’ll notice it reaches boiling or 212ºF pretty quickly, but will take quite a bit longer to get up to 220ºF from there, generally about 35 to 45 minutes depending on the pot and batch size.

Remember to adjust the target temperature for elevation! Jam will set at approximately 8 degrees above the boiling point of water, which, for those at high altitude, will be lower than the 212ºF boiling point at sea level (because of low atmospheric pressure and so forth). For jam-making, the general rule is subtract 2º from the target temperature for every 1000 feet of elevation.

Jams with added pectin (both regular and low sugar) will not call for a specific target temperature, rather just a boiling time (exactly 1 minute, for example). For added pectin jams follow the instructions outlined on the pectin package to ensure a proper set.

Freezer Gel Test

Have a flat plate or a couple of soup spoons chilling in the freezer as you prepare your jam. After boiling, drop a spoonful of the hot jam onto the chilled surface and pop it back in the freezer for no more than 1 to 2 minutes, then push your finger through the dollop: it should wrinkle up in front of your finger and leave a clean trail behind it (and not flow back in on itself).

If it’s not quite set, cook for another minute or two and then test again.

Illustration showing the way jam falls off the spatula when it is not ready versus properly set, the drops are wider, slower, and thicker.

Spatula Gel Test

Once you’ve made a couple of batches of old-fashioned jam, you should be able to tell when a jam is done solely by how it drips off the spatula, at which point you won’t need the freezer gel test at all (though you can if you want to be sure).

Since this is something that’s really hard to photograph properly, I have an illustrated version to show you what you’re looking for: instead of the thin, individual watery drips that you’ll see in the beginning of the process, a fully set jam will slowly drip off the spatula in multiple wide blobs. This is a gradual process, not something that will instantly and noticeably change the second it hits 220ºF, to be clear. You’ll probably notice it start to thicken around 216-218º, but it should be obvious by the time it hits 220º.

Overhead, jars of Classic Strawberry Jam on a marble background, one jar open with a spoon in it, the others closed with cute designed labels visible on the lids.

Small batch, please.

As is my preference, these are fairly small batch recipes—you’ll end up with about 4 ¼ cups/1000mL of jam for the regular/low sugar, or about 2 ½ cups/600mL for the old-fashioned variety.

For an even smaller batch using just a pound of berries (less than a full quart), halve the recipes as listed. A pound of strawberries will give you about five 4oz jars/three 6oz jars of regular or low-sugar jam, or three 4oz jars/two 6oz jars of old-fashioned jam. Proof that you definitely don’t need huge quantities of fruit to make your own homemade jam!

On the opposite side of things, you can safely double all three variations without issue, though keep in mind the old-fashioned recipe will take quite a bit longer to get up to your target temperature. For reference, most typical recipes for old-fashioned strawberry jam (including my reference recipes for the regular and old-fashioned recipes from the Ball Complete Book of Canning), call for about 5 cups of mashed fruit (compared to the 3 cups called for here). Pomona’s base recipes call for 4 cups of prepared fruit. I’ve scaled them all to equally use 3 cups of prepared fruit (from about 2 pounds of berries).

I do not recommend scaling the regular/old-fashioned recipes any higher than 2x; instead, you’re better off making two smaller batches in separate pans if you need to make a larger quantity. For the old-fashioned jam in particular if you try to make too large of a batch it’ll take ages to cook, and you’ll likely end up overcooking the fruit or caramelizing the sugars.

Jams using Pomona’s pectin are more flexible and could potentially be tripled if need be (assuming you have a big enough saucepan and canning pot, of course).

Spoonful of old-fashioned strawberry jam made without pectin, showing the thick and sticky texture and deep red color.

No Can Do? Freeze it instead!

While there are many recipes out there for ‘freezer’ jam, the reality is any jam can be stored in the freezer, no special recipe needed. I tend to prefer cooked jams anyway (most freezer jam recipes use raw fruit blended with sugar and special instant/freezer pectin, which I don’t love) as cooking helps bring out the unique jammy flavors of the berries.

While these recipes are written for home water-bath canning, you can opt to store any of them in the freezer instead: just transfer to jars with lids, let cool to room temperature (so you don’t inadvertently raise the temperature of your freezer and melt your ice cream), then pop in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (do not re-freeze once thawed).

Homemade jams can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, no canning necessary.

Classic Strawberry Jam in a glass jar with fresh strawberries on a marble background, one jar open in the foreground with a spoon in it to show the texture.

Flavorful Additions & Variations

This basic strawberry jam recipe is just a starting point—as long as you’re not adding things that would affect the canning safety (like low-acid fruits or dairy products), you can safely play around with the flavors to your heart’s content!

But what about butter? You’ll notice many canning recipes call for a very small amount (like ½ teaspoon) of butter; this is solely to help reduce the foam. Even though dairy products are not usually safe to can, the National Center For Home Food Preservation says that a small amount of butter added to reduce foaming is totally safe for canning.

Vanilla

Add the seeds of a whole vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste to your mashed strawberries. See my old fashioned strawberry vanilla jam (and strawberry balsamic variation), but you can easily adapt a pectin-based recipe for either of these flavors.

Balsamic Vinegar

Replace the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with balsamic vinegar (be sure to buy vinegar that states 5% acidity on the label). The jam will be a bit duller/browner in color but the flavor is divine.

Limoncello or Other Booze

Add 1/4 cup of limoncello to the strawberry mixture along with the sugar, or, if using Pomona’s pectin with the maximum amount of sugar, add it after the sugar/pectin has fully dissolved then return to a full boil (you can follow my strawberry limoncello jam recipe made with Pomona’s pectin if that’s easier). For other pectin varieties, just add the limoncello with the sugar and then boil.

You can add other alcohol to jams as well (a splash of elderflower liqueur maybe?)—add alcohol in the beginning of the cooking process so most of the excess liquid will cook out, or reduce the corresponding amount of prepared fruit to balance out the addition of the extra liquid.

Spice is Nice

Replace up to 1/4 cup of the strawberries with very finely chopped hot peppers such as habanero or red jalapeño for some added heat. You’ll also need to double the lemon juice or add 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid to make up the additional acidity.

Rose/Hibiscus/Other flowers

Add a handful of fresh or dried flowers to your jam, like rose, hibiscus, or cherry blossom. Rose or sakura blossoms are fine left whole in the jam (they’ll soften and are perfectly edible), but for heartier flowers like hibiscus or if you want a smoother texture, use a tea strainer or cheesecloth bundle to infuse the flavor of the petals and then remove them before transferring to jars. You can also make a concentrated “tea” with the flowers and water and add that to your prepared fruit. You can see my old fashioned strawberry hibiscus jam recipe, or an updated version with Pomona’s pectin in my book.

Citrus

Swap the lemon juice for orange, lime, or grapefruit juice; you can also increase the citrus flavor by doubling the citrus juice as called for, and also adding some zest as well (I recommend rubbing the zest into your sugar and adding it at the same time).

You can also replace the lemon juice with powdered citric acid, which provides the same brightness and acidity but with a more neutral flavor. In general, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice equals 1/4 teaspoon citric acid.

Mixed Berry

Raspberries have the same level of pectin and acidity as strawberries, so you can safely replace all or some of the strawberries in this recipe with raspberries (up to you if you want to puree/strain the raspberries or leave the seeds in, just make sure you have the same quantity of prepared fruit).

Blueberries and blackberries, while similar in pectin content to strawberries, have slightly less natural acid, so if you replace all or some of the strawberries in this recipe with either of these, increase the lemon juice by 1-2 tablespoons.

You can also do a mixed fruit jam, I have a recipe for a roasted berry jam in my book that uses a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries (increase the lemon juice by 1 tablespoon). Yum!

Classic Strawberry Jam, 3 Ways

Classic Strawberry Jam

Homemade strawberry jam is perfect in its simplicity, no matter whether you make a batch and water-bath process it for shelf stable storage, freeze it, or eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon.
5 stars (1 review)

Ingredients

For Old-Fashioned Jam:

  • 2 pounds / 900 g strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 ¼ cups / 450 g granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon butter, optional (to reduce foam)

For Regular Pectin Jam:

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons / 28 g Ball RealFruit Classic pectin
  • 2 ¼ cups / 450 g granulated sugar*
  • ¼ teaspoon butter, optional (to reduce foam)

For Low-Sugar Pectin Jam:

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons calcium water***
  • 1 ½ cups / 300 g granulated sugar**
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Pomona's Universal pectin
  • ¼ teaspoon butter, optional (to reduce foam)

Instructions

  • Fill a large stock pot or canning pot 2/3 full with water; place a rack of some sort in the bottom and place over medium-high heat. Wash/sterilize your jars and submerge in water bath as it heats. The pot should be just about boiling by the time the jam is ready to go. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use. This recipe can also be stored in the fridge or freezer if you don't want to deal with canning it.
  • Place a plate or a few spoons in the freezer before you begin if you want to test the set of your jam before transferring to jars (a must for old-fashioned jam, optional for the other varieties).
  • To prepare fruit, core and coarsely chop berries, then mash with a potato masher. You should have 3 cups of mashed berries. You can also opt to run the strawberries through a food mill if you like, just know your final jam will be smoother and looser.
  • Pour mashed strawberries into a large, heavy saucepan, along with lemon juice.

For Old-Fashioned Jam:

  • Cook strawberries and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scalding. Add butter if desired to reduce foam.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until jam reaches 220 degrees F (subtract 2ºF for every 1000 feet of elevation). Depending on the size/thickness of your pan, this will take about 35 to 45 minutes; the jam will fall off the spatula in wide, thick drips. To test the gel another way, place a dollop on a pre-chilled plate and freeze for 1 minute, then push your finger through the dollop: it should wrinkle up in front of your finger and leave a clean trail behind it. If it's not quite set, cook for another minute or two and then test again.

For Regular Pectin Jam:

  • Whisk pectin into saucepan with strawberries and lemon juice. Add butter if desired to reduce foam.
  • Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring occasionally, then whisk in sugar all at once, stirring continuously until mixture returns to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for exactly 1 minute, then remove from heat.

For Low-Sugar Pectin Jam:

  • In a bowl, whisk pectin with granulated sugar until evenly incorporated and set aside.
  • Add calcium water to saucepan with mashed strawberries and lemon juice. Add butter if desired to reduce foam. Bring to a full rolling boil, then whisk in sugar/pectin mixture, stirring continuously until mixture returns to a full rolling boil, then remove from heat.

Processing:

  • Ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch of head space. Wipe jar rims and screw on lids. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 3 weeks.

Notes

  • *Sugar for jam using Ball Classic pectin can be 2 ¼ cups (minimum) to 3 ¾ cups (maximum). Other brands of fruit pectin may call for more (for example SureJell regular fruit pectin would require 4 cups/800g sugar). Use the amount your particular brand calls for and do not try to reduce it.
  • **Sugar for jamsusing Pomona’s pectin can be safely reduced without affecting the set, or replaced entirely with sugar substitutes like honey or splenda. See post for more info and Pomona’s FAQ page for detailed instructions.
  • ***Calcium powder to make calcium water is included with the Pomona’s brand pectin, other brands of low-sugar pectin will not require this.
All images and text © for Love & Olive Oil.

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Classic Strawberry Jam in glass jars with cute printable labels.

Free Printable Labels

As always, the labels you see in this post are free to download and print yourself to make your jars gift-ready and extra-special.

The free PDF download includes two pages of labels, one with 2″ round labels (for smaller jar lids) and 2.5″ round labels for larger, wide-mouth lids. Print onto full sheet sticker paper or precut round labels; you can also print onto cardstock, cut out and punch a hole to tie onto the jar lids like a gift tag.

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4 Comments

  1. I never knew homemade jam could be this good. Fantastic recipe

  2. I made the strawberry jam with the Ball pectin. It tastes great but set a bit too loose, not jammy. I used the prescribed amount of pectin and followed the instructions.  Should I have used more pectin or is that the way it comes out?

    • Hi! So I double checked my notes and re-measured the weight of the pectin, and the amount of Classic pectin for 3 cups mashed fruit is 28g by weight (I always measure things by weight), which is approximately 4 tablespoons, not 2.

      That said, the classic pectin does produce a slightly softer set than the old fashioned jam or the SureJell, but it should still be jammy, not saucy.

      If your jam is underset, you can re-boil it with more pectin, just whisk 1T pectin with 1/4 cup sugar, stir into your jam, and boil for 1 full minute. I’d also recommend testing the set on a frozen plate just to be sure (I pretty much do this for all jams, added pectin or no). I should probably add a troubleshooting section to this post with this kind of info.

  3. This post is incredible as a resource! I love to jam/can and I’m saving it because it has so much information in one place to refer to – with the comparisons!
    The strawberry jam looks awesome, too.

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