5 Ingredients or Fewer

My Mother's Strawberry Jam

June 11, 2013
13 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Makes 2 pints
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

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Pinch 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° 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Panfusine
  • soupcon
  • Ginger
  • wherethetanoakgrows
  • Wendi Kavanaugh
    Wendi Kavanaugh

37 Reviews

Shannon G. July 6, 2019
This recipe is terrific. I keep coming back to it. I do reduce the sugar slightly (1.75 cups to 4 cups of berries vs. 2.25). This seems to help the lemon taste - very subtle - burst a bit. The butter works to remove the foam, mysteriously. And baking the jars to sterilize them is foolproof. NB: if you run out of time or don't have a full day to make jam, you can process through to simmering the fruit briefly and then leave overnight. Simply pick up the next day where you left off and cook the jam until it doesn't run on the frozen plate and sterilize per usual. I've done this twice and it's been fine.
Sarah February 2, 2018
I have made jams and jelly and used traditional jars and lids (mason) I really like the weck jars and lids with the rubber rings. Those will preserve the jam for long term storage?
Carolina August 12, 2017
Is it possible to freeze this recipe?
Panfusine June 5, 2015
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)
pamela May 13, 2015
can you double the recipe?
Merrill S. May 13, 2015
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.
pamela May 13, 2015
can you double the recipe?
thank you.
Chrysanthia K. May 11, 2015
I just made a triple batch for a friend's birthday. It smelled so yummy while cooking.
soupcon May 2, 2015
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.
Jenna M. June 23, 2017
My mom was just telling me that that is the same method she and my grandma use - no water bath. She just said make sure the jam is hot; the lids will pop. I'm about to make my first attempt at canning with Merrill's recipe. Can't wait :)
brothercadfael February 26, 2015
Can you use frozen strawberries with out affecting the set?
Ginger August 24, 2014
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??
Haley T. August 25, 2014
they're Weck canning jars - you can find them here or elsewhere on the internet with a quick search.
Maya July 14, 2014
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 S. July 14, 2014
I've never tried straining it, I'm afraid -- this would be a great question for our Hotline!
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 S. June 5, 2014
Yes, and I'd just leave out the butter if you're nervous -- its main purpose is to help with foaming.
Wendi K. September 27, 2013
I'm guessing you process for 15 - 20 minutes, if I do this how long will the jam last?
Cheri K. September 27, 2013
About two weeks in refrig., I make single jars at a time this way.
sylvia September 12, 2013
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.
ChiFoodLover September 11, 2013
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.
Joy C. August 10, 2013
Thanks so much!
Kristy M. August 9, 2013
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.
Joy C. August 9, 2013
Is there a way to use any sugar free sweetners for at least part of the sugar?
Cheri K. August 9, 2013
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!
Nyeer July 3, 2013
The butter should be added to prevent foaming.