Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

Easy Strawberry Jam (No Pectin)

As strawberries are naturally rich in pectin, there's no need for additional pectin. This easy no pectin strawberry jam is super easy to make. Step by step photos and lots of tips are included!

As strawberries are naturally rich in pectin, there’s no need for additional pectin. This easy no pectin strawberry jam is super easy to make. Step by step photos and lots of tips are included below!

As strawberries are naturally rich in pectin, there's no need for additional pectin. This easy no pectin strawberry jam is super easy to make. Step by step photos and lots of tips are included!

Yeah, it’s been a few years since I learned how to make and can fruit jams. I absolutely love it. My husband loves it. Everyone loves it. Homemade jams are the best, especially on a Sunday morning with pancakes, or crepes, or even just good ol’ buttered toast. And it’s surprisingly easy too! If you’re new to canning, fruit jams are the way to start.

During my pregnancy, I was so into carbs!! Actually, I’m always into carbs, but here I’m talking over-the-top-obsession with buttered toast smeared with jam. I literally went through and cleaned out my stash of jams. And since I needed to re-stock my pantry, I made a new batch of strawberry jam (my husband’s favorite) over the weekend, which prompted me to update this post with new photos and additional tips on making this fantastic, yet easy jam.

(PS: Besides, making lots of strawberry jam, I also made these delightful chocolate strawberry shortcakes to celebrate strawberry season. I know totally random, but thought you’d like to know.)

Fresh Strawberries

What to expect from this recipe?
You won’t get solid, marmalade-like jam with this recipe. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll need to find another recipe. This recipe produces thick, yet slightly runny, soft jam that you can easily smear on your toast, or crepes. For reference, see the photo below.

No Pectin Strawberry Jam- Step by step photos and lots of tips, including how-to canning tips, are provided.

Here’re a summary of helpful notes:
  • Strawberries are naturally rich in pectin, that’s why my recipe doesn’t call for additional commercial pectin.
  • Don’t reduce the sugar amount, as I call for absolute minimum amount for preserving. If you use less than specified amount of sugar, the mixture won’t reach 220°F no matter how long you cook it. Also, you’ll have to cook the jam longer to thicken it, which darkens the color and could burn the jam altogether.
  • Don’t skip lemon juice, as acidity combined with sugar is crucial for proper set.
  • Mashing the strawberries upfront helps release the natural pectin. Mash the fruits to the consistency you like. As I like bigger fruit pieces in my jam, I leave some fruit slices in the mixture.
  • Store uncanned jams in the fridge for up to 1 month. (I have to admit I’ve had some jams longer though. It all depends how you handle it. If you only use clean utensils and open the jar infrequently, you won’t have problem storing it longer.)
  • Store the sealed jars at room temperature for up to 1 year for best quality. Then again I’ve had some jars for over a year, the quality won’t be the same though.

No pectin strawberry jam, step by step

Canning Tips:
  • First, you’ll need to sterilize the jars by washing them in soapy water and then dropping them in boiling water in a canning pot. (I don’t have a canning pot, so I use my deepest stock pot.) Make sure you use a canning rack on the bottom, or as I used to do back in 2013, place a kitchen towel/rag on the bottom of the pot. If you put the jars without a rack or rag, then the jars will break as they touch the hot bottom of the pot. If you’re doing lots of canning, you can sterilize the jars in a boiling water, and then arrange them on a baking sheet and transfer them into preheated oven (300°F) until ready to use.
  • Place the lids and rings in a boiling water and turn the heat off. Don’t boil the water with the lids, as it reduces the quality of sealing rubber. Use a wand with magnetic end, to fish out the lids when ready to seal the jars.
  • Run a knife along the inside edges of the jar to remove the air bubbles in the jam. Be careful not to touch the bottom of the jar if using metal utensils, as one of my readers warned, it could scratch the glass, which could break the jar when heated. (Thanks, Jenn, for the tip!)
  • Before placing the lids, wipe the edges of the jars with a wet towel/paper towel.
  • Place the jars in a boiling water in a canning pot with a rack on the bottom. Make sure the jars are covered with at least 4 inches of water. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let them sit for 5 minutes before transferring the jars to a cooling rack.
  • As the jars cool down, you should hear popping sounds. It’s a sign that the jars are being sealed.
If you’re planning on making lots of jams this summer, I suggest getting this canning tool set that includes essential tools to grab hot jars, magnetic lid lifter and plastic knife to remove bubbles, etc.

As strawberries are naturally rich in pectin, there's no need for additional pectin. This easy no pectin strawberry jam is super easy to make. Step by step photos and lots of tips are included!

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Easy Strawberry Jam (No Pectin)

Super easy recipe for strawberry jam without pectin.

Yield: About 5 cups of jam

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Wash and hull the strawberries. Quarter or slice the strawberries.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries to the consistency you like. (As I like bigger fruit pieces in my jam, I leave some fruit slices in the mixture.)
  3. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then increase the heat and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Cook the mixture until it reaches 220°F, stirring frequently, about 25-30 minutes. Turn the heat off, and using a slotted spoon, skim off the foam.
  5. Pour the jam into clean jars, cover and cool to room temperature. Store the cooled jams in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  6. Canning instructions: Sterilize the jars by washing them in soapy water and then dropping them in boiling water in a canning pot. (I don’t have a canning pot, so I use my deepest stock pot.) Make sure you use a canning rack on the bottom.
  7. Place the lids and rings in a boiling water and turn the heat off. Don’t boil the water with the lids, as it reduces the quality of sealing rubber.
  8. Pour the jam into sterile jars, leaving about ¼ in left from the top.
  9. Run a knife along the inside edges of the jar to remove any air bubbles, trapped in the jam. Be careful not to touch the bottom of the jar if using metal utensils.
  10. Clean the edges of the jars with a wet towel, or paper towel. Place the lids on and tighten the ring around them, but not too tight.
  11. Place the jars into a boiling water in a canning pot with a rack on the bottom. Make sure the jars are covered with at least 4 inches of water. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the jars sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  12. As the jars cool down, you should hear popping sounds. It’s a sign that the jars are being sealed.

For step-by-step photos and additional notes, read the post above.

Feel free to double the recipe, if you plan on canning it.
Store uncanned jams in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Store the sealed jars at room temperature for up to 1 year for best quality.
All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory by Shinee

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All photographs and content on Sweet & Savory by Shinee is copyright protected, unless otherwise noted. Please do not use any of my photos without my authorization. If you would like to share my recipe, you may re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the full directions. Thank you for your cooperation!

This post was originally published on April 8, 2013.

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73 comments

  1. I made this jam with my kids. It was a easy, rich and tastes great. We substituted half brown sugar and half caster sugar.. We all love it. Thank you 🙂

    Rating: 5
  2. Hi. Followed instructions carefully and used fresh strawberries. Had only 23 ounces (9 oz.short of the 32 ounces required) thus I used 1 3/4 cup sugar and all the 1/4 c lemon juice from fresh lemon. It finally thickened about 25 minutes in… and I think the key to thickening is not to stir TOO frequently… I wait about 20-30 seconds in between to give it good boil periods. Great tasting and much appreciated! Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  3. This jam was quite good. I had about a pound of strawberries that needed to be used. I adjusted the sugar to 3/4 Cup, and it was plenty sweet. I did let it boil a little longer than intended, and the jam is thicker than your picture. I had 1-8 ounce jar that will be great for breakfast this week since school has started back. I will make again and also try it with other berries. Thanks for a fun recipe.

    Rating: 5
    • So glad you made and enjoyed the jam! Thank you for your feedback.
      P.S. The sugar amount is not only for the sweetness, but it’s also for preserving the jam longer. In your case, reducing sugar amount is fine as it’s a small batch.

  4. Mine didn’t thicken, already boiled in jars, can I reopen jars & boil longer or should I throw it out?

    Rating: 2
    • Hi, Loulou. Sorry yours didn’t thicken enough to your liking. Yes, you could re-boil the jam and reseal. Or you can keep it as is and pour it over pancakes. But whatever you do, please don’t throw it out, because I’m sure it still tastes good.

  5. I learned to make jam with my mom and grandma, have never done the boiling water, I’ve always put a layer of wax on top, will this still work?

  6. i tried this today and itd not thickened went step by step what i do wrong

  7. First time making jam without using pectin. Consistency is perfect. Jam is delicious. I cannot taste the lemon. I am definitely impressed!

    Rating: 5
  8. First time I’ve made jam without adding pectin. I am impressed! Consistency was perfect. Jam was delicious. It did take more time, because I had a difficult time getting the temperature to 220.

  9. Hi, this recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it. Can I substitute lime juice for lemon juice?

    • Hi, Alfredo. I’ve never tried with lime juice, so I’m not sure. I think it’ll be fine, as long as you’re ok with a little bit of lime flavor in your jam. If you try it, let us know.

  10. This looks delicious!  Does white sugar have to be used? Would honey or brown sugar work?

    • Hi, Kristi. Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for sugar in here. Sugar is here not only for proper set, but also as preservative. Now, if you were making just a little bit of strawberry sauce that you’ll use up quickly, you can use honey, like I did in this raspberry sauce. As for brown sugar, I’m clueless. I’ve never seen jam made with brown sugar, and never experimented. I think it’ll add molasses flavor, which doesn’t seem would be a great addition to jams.

  11. Can frozen berries be used for this? I have several bags of fresh picked and frozen strawberries that I’d like to can somehow. 

    • Hi, Shirley. I’ve never tried making jam with frozen fruit, but I think it’ll work. My only concern is water content, and it might take longer cook time to reach the right temperature. I think it’s worth a try. Let me know how it turns out, if you give it a try.

  12. Hi Shinee! This jam looks and SOUNDS fabulous!! I love that it isn’t a super thick one, it’ll make it so much easier to spread on toast mmm! I am doing a round-up of strawberry recipes for my blog and would love to feature this! I would link back with a photo <3

    • Hi, Melissa! This jam is delicious, I just made it again (my 3rd batch so far this summer!) and hope you give this a try. And thank you for featuring it on your blog. 🙂

      • I will say that this is a decent recipe. However, I have followed it to a T, twice now, and it took close to 2 hours to reach 220. It’s pretty frustrating, and very much turning me off to the idea of making my own. I think I’ll stick to spending 2.99 on a store bought jar. This is not worth the hassle.

        • Hi, Linda. Thanks so much for your feedback! You had to cook for 2 hours? That seems a bit too long, I agree. Did you double the recipe by chance? Also, if you ever end up with too many extra fresh strawberries and decide to make another batch of jam, I’d suggest to increase the heat. It may help.

  13. Question! First time canning and I don’t want to mess it up. Do I start timing the 25-30 min AFTER the temperature reaches 220 deg? Thank you!!

  14. My grandmother has a similar recipe and I freeze it and it is perfectly fine. Keeps forever.

    • Interesting! I’ll try freezing when I don’t feel like canning. Thanks for letting me know, Mary Fran. Quick question… Do you freeze them jam in ziplock bags? Or plastic container?

      • I also have frozen strawberry sauce / jam using freezer safe containers or I have even saved jars from other store products; washed, sterilized and repurposed them. For freezer; I leave at least an inch of headspace for expansion.
        Note: After cooking your strawberries and to desired consistency; pour into jars, let cool completely, put the lids on and place in the freezer.

  15. Does adding lemon help with making it thicker? Trying to figure out this whole canning thing. I made preserves yesterday using 50/50 strawberries/sugar and it turned out very yummy. I was wanting a jam consitancy, trying your recipe now….I can’t wait to see the difference!

  16. Would it be ok if I use my already frozen strawberries from the garden?

    • Hi, Carole. I honestly never tried making jam with frozen fruits. I think it might be a bit watery, but if you cook it to 220°F it should be fine. Let me know how it turns out if you try it.

  17. I made this yesterday and was all excited to try it out today and I noticed there was condensation that formed on the lids inside of the jars and it wasn’t thick at all, pretty much made strawberry syrup.

    • Hi, John. Sorry to hear your jam didn’t turn out. Hope you didn’t decrease the sugar amount and made sure to boil the mixture to the correct temperature, as those two things are the most important to proper set.

  18. You are aware that pectin is naturally occurring in fruit? So even if you don’t add liquid or powder pectin, it still has naturally occurring pectin it. Adding more pectin just makes the jam thicker

    • Yes, that’s why I don’t find the need to add more pectin as strawberries are already rich in pectin and thickens to my liking. But thank you for stopping by and leaving the info, Katherine.

  19. Can you double the recipe and follow the same directions?

  20. I am not sure where to store the jam I’ve made. Concerned my pantry will get too warm in the summer, would our basement stay cool enough I wonder? Can you freeze them? I’ve seen there are basically cooked canned jams and then freezer jams…wondering if this could be a cooked freezer jam?

    • I store my canned jams at room temperature, and it’s been fine. My mother-in-law stores all her canned stuff in her basement. I never tried making freezer jam, nor did I try freezing this jam, so unfortunately, I have no advice on that, Kim.

  21. Just so you know, you shouldn’t use metal utensils in glass jars, especially when removing air bubbles because it scratches/scores the inside of the glass and can cause it to break when heated

  22. I tried this recipe and followed it word for word and it came out fabulous. I was kind of nervous because this was my first time canning jelly/jam but it taste and spreads perfect. Thanks for posting !!!

    Rating: 5
  23. As you stated, you are new to canning. As just a reference for you: 1) home canned products should be used within a year. 2) Technically, what you made was strawberry butter. You had a large pot of crushed fruit and then boiled the water out of it. The very definition of a butter. A jam is made with crushed fruit with pectin added to make it gel.

    • Thanks, Carol, for sharing your opinion. I agree canned goods are the best when consumed within a year, but honestly, I’ve had mine longer than a year, and it was still fine. My MIL has been canning for many years, and we’ve had some pretty old canned stuff too. Hehe (Not that I’d advise anyone to do it, but again if it’s properly sealed, it’s fine.) As for the technical name, it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m not too picky what I call them, jam or butter. I’ve never heard of strawberry butter though. Back in Mongolia, we never used pectin in any of our fruit preserves, and we call them jam. Oh well, as long as it’s spreadable on breads/crepes/pancakes and it tastes good, right? 🙂

  24. Thanks for this!  I’ve been looking for an easy jam/preserves recipe for a while and everything I’ve seen looks so complicated, but this I think I could do!

  25. Great recipe!  We love strawberry jam at our house.  Inviting you to post at our blog hop #OMHGWW

  26. I made this recipe yesterday and was hoping my jam would thicken up as it set. Can I still boil it again or is it too late? I was very surprised as it had boiled well over 25 minutes.

    • Hi, Heather! I’m sorry for late response on this. (I’ve been out of country on vacation.) I hope you didn’t reduce the sugar amount in the recipe, as it’s essential for proper consistency. Did you measure the jam with the thermometer to check if it had reached 220°F? Since every stove is difference, the cooking time might vary too.

  27. Made this yesterday..and ended up with strawberry water! What the heck!

    • Linda, I’m sorry to hear that the recipe didn’t work for you. There are couple of reasons why the jam didn’t set properly. 1. Not enough amount of sugar was used. Sugar amount is crucial in making jams and preserves, and without proper amount, it won’t set. 2. The jam didn’t get to a 220°F while boiling. or it wasn’t boiled long enough. Hope you will give it another try, or you can boil the mixture you already have now longer.

  28. i am new to canning.  When you are sterilizing the jars, you put a towel in the bottom of a pot of boiling water?  

    • Yes. You need to put something on the bottom of the pan, otherwise the jars will crack/break. Usually there is a rack that you put in, but I don’t have that.Towel works just fine. 🙂

  29. Does this thicken well without pectin? Also, can you use any fresh fruit?

  30. Hi, this looks so good. Do you know how long is the life of the jam once is opened?

    • Hi, Dani! I think you can keep the opened jar of jam in the fridge for up to 2-3 months, but it all depends on how you handle it. Less you keep it out on the counter, less you open the jar etc, longer you can keep them. Hope it helps.

  31. Hi! This looks so easy! How many jars of jam does this make? Thanks!

    • Hi Heather! This recipe makes about 5 cups of jam, so about 5 8oz jars. I just updated the recipe with this info. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

      • Your recipe calls for 2lbs of strawberries which I used and that it makes 5 8oz jars. I just made mine and it only made 2 1/2 8 ounce jars? 

        • Hi, Jennifer. When I cook my jam longer, it gets thicker and yields less. Maybe that’s what happened to you? To be honest, the amount of jam I get is always varied a little and I should have said that it makes 4-5 cups jam. But since yours is even less than that I’m thinking it was cooked a bit long and thickened more. Hope this helps.

  32. What is the shelf life of the jam once sealed in jars?

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