My Mother's Strawberry Jam

By • June 11, 2013 • 25 Comments



Author Notes: My mother's trick, which I've heard about from others too, is to stir a knob of butter into the cooked jam. Don't ask me about the science behind it; supposedly the butter helps to clarify the jam and to get rid of the foam as it cools. My mother's jam is always crystal clear and foam-free, so I don't mess with the recipe.Merrill Stubbs

Makes 2 pints

  • 4 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • pinches salt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cold unsalted butter
  1. Put a small plate in the freezer.
  2. Combine the strawberries, sugar, salt and lemon juice in a medium, heavy saucepan. Set the pan over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble.
  3. Continue to cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, until a bit of the jam sets on the plate you've been keeping in the freezer (when you tip the plate, the jam should run only very slowly).
  4. Turn off the heat and stir the butter into the jam -- this will help to clarify the jam and get rid of the foam once it cools.
  5. Spoon the hot jam carefully into hot sterilized jars and either process the jars or seal and keep refrigerated. If refrigerating, use the jam within a week or two.
  6. Some sterilizing notes:
  7. Use glass jars with no chips or cracks and tight-fitting lids.
  8. To sterilize, wash both the jars and lids thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil the jars and lids (don't boil metal lids or rubber seals) for 15 minutes. Alternately, after you've cleaned the jars and lids, arrange them (lids open sides up), without touching, on a baking sheet and put them in a 175 degree F oven for 30 minutes. To sterilize metal lids and/or rubber seals, put them in a bowl, pour boiling water over them to cover and let them soak for a few minutes.
  9. Sterilize all of your additional equipment (tongs for handling hot jars, funnels, ladles, etc.) by dipping them in boiling water for a few minutes.
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Comments (25) Questions (1)

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22 days ago Ginger

I'm as interested in the jars as I am the jam. What are the names of the jars and where can I purchase them??

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21 days ago Haley Tucker

they're Weck canning jars - you can find them here or elsewhere on the internet with a quick search.

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2 months ago Maya Ruparelia

Hi Merrill - My family isn't a huge fan of the strawberry seeds - would the jam still work if I strained it? If so, when would I strain the jam?

Merrill

2 months ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I've never tried straining it, I'm afraid -- this would be a great question for our Hotline!

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3 months ago wherethetanoakgrows

Merrill - is it okay to water bath this recipe for long-term storage? Not sure if the butter negates this possibility, but I'd love to try it!

Merrill

3 months ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, and I'd just leave out the butter if you're nervous -- its main purpose is to help with foaming.

Stringio

12 months ago Wendi Kavanaugh

I'm guessing you process for 15 - 20 minutes, if I do this how long will the jam last?

Stringio

12 months ago Cheri K Falk

About two weeks in refrig., I make single jars at a time this way.

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about 1 year ago sylvia

Use a candy thermometer..cook to jelling point works for just about all jams.. temperature should be about 218 for jelling point..about 30 minutes slow rolling boil..keep stirring and don't let burn.

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about 1 year ago ChiFoodLover

Thank you very much for this delicious jam recipe! I had 2lbs of overripe strawberries that I needed to use and this was perfect for them. I'll absolutely be making this again & again.

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about 1 year ago Joy Caamano

Thanks so much!

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about 1 year ago Kristy Morrill

Buy the Pectin box for "sugar free" and you will have no problem.
Also, sometimes I use agar agar to make jelly, jam, pudding etc. It is a great natural thickener, and works well with stevia or lo-han(nectresse) as sweetener.

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about 1 year ago Joy Caamano

Is there a way to use any sugar free sweetners for at least part of the sugar?

Stringio

about 1 year ago Cheri K Falk

Have been making jam like this for years! Berries have their own pectin, something to do with the seeds I've heard. I make raspberry..takes only about 10-15 min to reduce and thicken, a multi-berry( blueberry,raspberry,blackberry ) and this also thickens faster. The strawberry is thinner than the other berries but still delish!

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about 1 year ago Nyeer

The butter should be added to prevent foaming.

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about 1 year ago Carolyn plourde

thanks for the feedback, i'll give the lemon rind a try!

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over 1 year ago Kristy Morrill

Made this with strawberries, then with blue berries, then with raspberries, too. It will be reay in 2 weeks to check out will let you know!

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over 1 year ago Pascale Beale

Lemon juice acts as the natural pectin. Once I squeeze the lemon juice into the jam I add the whole lemons into the pot as well whilst the jam cooks - I do this for all types of jam - and that helps set the jam. Remove the lemon rinds at the end just before you pot the jam. I press down on the lemons extracting all the jam that has got inside them too. Be careful as you do this as they will be very hot, but I found that the extra lemon juice helps.

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Great tip!

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over 1 year ago DebS

This is very close to a recipe I use. The butter really does work; I have no idea how or why either.

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over 1 year ago Carolyn plourde

I cooked this down well over an hour and it never set...this happens every time I fall for a recipe w/out pectin...what am i missing here?

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over 1 year ago DebS

Depending on the fruit you use jam without added pectin will be runnier than that made with added pectin. I find strawberry jam is always quite runny not matter how long you cook it.

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

It is not a very firm jam -- but I like it that way!

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over 1 year ago Erin Molnar

Do you have to make any adjustments if you are using turbinado sugar?

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I haven't made it with turbinado, so I'm not sure. Let me know what happens if you try it!