Our Favorite Tradition to Welcome Summer and My Strawberry Jam Recipe
Slow living through seasonal traditions.
2022 was my and Maddie's seventh year picking strawberries at our local berry farm and making homemade strawberry jam together. The boys join us for picking sometimes, but Maddie never misses it and looks forward to it every year. It is how we welcome summer.
I have the fondest memories of making jam with my grandmother when I was a little girl, so this tradition with Maddie is most heartfelt to me. It represents generations of women enjoying creating together in the kitchen.
Without further adieu, here is my strawberry jam recipe. It's straightforward and one that I have fine-tuned throughout the years to my own taste. I encourage you to make adjustments to this recipe to your own taste too!
Jess's Strawberry Jam Recipe
You Will Need
6 cups fresh-picked strawberries
4 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice mixed (50/50)
Ball RealFruit Classic Pectin (optional)
While I do not use pectin in my jam, if you would like a thicker jam, I recommend adding 3 tbspns of Ball RealFruit Classic Pectin.
Tools and SuppliesLarge sauce pan or stock pot (appropriately sized for the amount of jam you plan to make.)
A wire canning rack to easily lift several jars at a time out of the boiling water safely.
potato masher, wooden spoon, spatula, and ladle
Ball jam jars, lids, and rings (some of my favorites are in my Amazon Storefront linked below.)
Funnel that fits your jar mouths. (I have a couple vintage ones I adore, but a perfectly useful one also comes in most canning sets.
My favorite jam-making tools and supplies can be found in my Amazon Farmstead Store.
- Soak your glass jars, lids and rings in simmering water for 10 minutes.
- Wash and remove stems from strawberries. Chop large ones so they smash easier.
- Drop strawberries into a large sauce pan a couple cups at a time (or stock pot if you are multiplying the ingredients many times over like I do!) and give them a good mash. The end result should be crushed strawberries with some lumps.
- Add the remaining ingredients (sugar and juice) and bring to a rolling boil, stirring often.
- Soon after the mixture begins to boil, you will see a foam forming. Take a large spatula spoon and skim the foam off the top. As the foam continues to gather at the top, continue to skim it off. I do this for 15-30 min (sometimes more) until the foam stops gathering, keeping the jam at a rolling boil but being careful not to let it reach the top of the pan. While you are busy stirring and skimming, the jam is condensing down, giving it a strong strawberry flavor and a deep red color. Because I don't use pectin, the extra time boiling also thickens the jam.
- Turn off heat and line up your sterilized jam jars near the stovetop.
- Ladle the jam through a wide-mouth funnel into the hot jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims with a clean rag (or paper towel) dampened with hot water and place the lids on the jars. Then screw on the metal rings just to fingertip tight.
- Place the filled jars into your boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and let them cool. Listen for the magic POP!
- Once the jars are completely cooled, check that each one sealed properly by pressing the center. The should NOT click or flex. If one does, it should be placed in the fridge and used first.
- Add pretty fabric squares to the top of jars that you plan to gift and secure with twine.
Jam-making, especially if you are making it with fresh-picked strawberries in larger quantities to gift, is a labor of love. If picking the strawberries and making the jam is a bit too much to take on all in one day, I recommend cleaning and removing greens and blemishes from your strawberries the same day you pick them and then storing them in ziplock bags (in the fridge you if you plan to make jam the next day, or in the freezer if you want the flexibility to do it when time allows.)
Keep an eye out at your local thrift and antique stores for old canning pots. I found an old rectangular one that has the living mechanism inside and works incredibly well! Better than anything you can buy new today!
The longer you boil your jam, the more condensed, flavorful, and the deeper the red color becomes.
I recommend not reusing jam jar lids. I've found they can become scratched or have hard water stains (we have well water). Instead, I keep my rings and purchase new Ball lids annually.
The cardboard boxes that your local berry farm sends you home with containing all your fresh-picked berries works great to use as a plate to catch those inevitable drips as you ladle your jam into your jars.
Enjoy this jam in strawberry shortcake, smoothies, PB&J sandwiches, milkshakes, frostings, crisps, thumbprint cookies, mixed with Sprite over ice for a tasty Shirley Temple, and so much more!
Each year, I capture this stacking jar image of Maddie and it makes my heart so happy! Look how tiny she was!
Handcrafted hardwood kitchen utensils by Polders Old World Market.