My Mother's Strawberry Jam

By • June 11, 2013 32 Comments

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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 teaspoons 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 (32) Questions (2)

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about 1 month ago Panfusine

I'm making a double batch with 8 cups of fresh picked strawberries and 2 cups of finely chopped Kumquats. Can I cut the amount of sugar to a total of 4 cups or will that affect the setting of the jam?. (I've also tossed in the kumquat pips tied up in some cheesecloth to extract the pectin)

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3 months ago pamela

can you double the recipe?

Cbfb27ea-071f-4941-9183-30dce4007b50.merrill

3 months ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You can, yes, but smaller batches of jam typically set better, so if you have time to make two separate batches I'd recommend it.

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3 months ago pamela

can you double the recipe?
thank you.

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3 months ago Chrysanthia Kong Manuel

I just made a triple batch for a friend's birthday. It smelled so yummy while cooking.

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3 months ago soupcon

Equal weights of sugar to strawberries plus the juice of a lemon for every kg of fruit will produce a set jam. There is no need to water bath the jam after pouring hot jam into the sterilized jars and applying sterilized lids and rings, nor does the jam need to be refrigerated. Sugar is a preservative and as long as the jam is sealed (the lids will pop in just as if they were processed indicating a decent seal) and refrigerated after opening there should be no spoilage. Any jars with lids not indented after cooling are prone however to spoilage and should be refrigerated and used within a reasonable length of time.

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5 months ago brothercadfael

Can you use frozen strawberries with out affecting the set?

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11 months 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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11 months 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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about 1 year 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?

Cbfb27ea-071f-4941-9183-30dce4007b50.merrill

about 1 year 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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about 1 year 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!

Cbfb27ea-071f-4941-9183-30dce4007b50.merrill

about 1 year 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.

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almost 2 years ago Wendi Kavanaugh

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

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almost 2 years ago Cheri K Falk

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

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almost 2 years 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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almost 2 years 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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almost 2 years ago Joy Caamano

Thanks so much!

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almost 2 years 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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almost 2 years ago Joy Caamano

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

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almost 2 years 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 2 years ago Nyeer

The butter should be added to prevent foaming.

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about 2 years ago Carolyn plourde

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

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about 2 years 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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about 2 years 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.

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about 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Great tip!