EASY STRAWBERRY JAM (Without Pectin + Tips)

This homemade strawberry jam is made with only 3 ingredients! Learn how to make this delicious jam from scratch, without using a thermometer. It really is easier than you think!

strawberry jamHomemade strawberry jam is one of my favorite things to make this time of year! I never buy store-bought jam because it just cannot compete with homemade! And I’m not just talking about the intense flavor, but also the fact that there are only 3 ingredients in it and NO pectin! Also, many store-bought jams and marmalades have artificial preservatives and even dyes! 😱  Of course, you could just buy organic ones, but I find most of them way too expensive.


What is pectin?

Pectin is a substance that is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. It is used for thickening jams and marmalades.

Why I avoid using commercial pectin

There are 2 main reasons.

First, commercial pectin is often genetically modified.

Second, you need a lot of sugar when using pectin. Pectin is bitter, so in order for jams to set you need more sugar to compensate, sometimes up to 80%  more! In the end, your jam has more sugar than fruit!

So, I avoid all that and I’ve NEVER had a problem with my jams or marmalades!

The Benefits of Making Homemade Strawberry Jam

1 – 100% control over the quality & taste

When strawberries are in season, I go to the farmer’s market and pick the freshest ones possible. Fresh strawberries offer more flavor and they have a beautiful vibrant color. I can also control how sweet I want my jam to be. This gives me complete control over the quality and flavor of my homemade jam – something I never have with store-bought jam. The flavor of homemade jam is simply unbeatable when compared to commercial jams!

2 – It’s healthier

Homemade jam is definitely much healthier than store-bought jam. First of all, I know exactly what’s in my jam. There are absolutely no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Also, store-bought jams usually have a lot more sugar than fruit (probably because of the added pectin).

3 – Save money

When strawberries are in season, they are much cheaper. Making jam when they’re in season is also a great way of having it throughout the year.

4 – It’s easy

This is the best reason of all – making homemade strawberry jam is really simple! You don’t need any fancy equipment, either.

5 – It’s the perfect consistency

This jam isn’t too thick or too runny – it’s the perfect consistency. That’s why it can also be used as a simple strawberry sauce, too!

This is a tried & trusted strawberry jam recipe.

strawberry jam

Here’s what you’ll need:

Strawberries: I use fresh strawberries.

Sugar: I always use regular, granulated sugar because it dissolves easily. Most recipes use a ratio of 1:1 regarding the amount of sugar and fruit used by weight, but I find this is too sweet for strawberry jam. I always weigh the strawberries and add half the weight of sugar.

Lemon Juice: It has lots of pectin, which is needed to thicken the jam naturally.

2-3 small plates: I always put 2 or 3 small plates in the refrigerator when I start making the jam. They are needed to test when the jam has set and they have to be really cold. The reason I use 2-3 is because if I start to test the jam on a plate and it’s not ready, I’ll need another really cold, clean plate to test it again in a few minutes. So, I like putting 2 or 3 in the refrigerator when I start making the jam.

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY JAM

Cut the strawberries in half and put them in a large bowl.

Add the sugar and cover all the strawberries.

Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Put the plates in refrigerator.

Pour the strawberry mixture into a large, deep saucepan or pot. Start cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and gently bring to a boil and continue boiling steadily, uncovered, until the mixture thickens, about 30-40 minutes.

Start testing to see if the jam has set. Transfer the jam to clean, sterilized jars.

How do you know when the jam is set?

Most experts suggest boiling the jam until it reaches a temperature of 220°F (105°C). But what do you do when you don’t have a thermometer?

No worries! If you don’t have a thermometer to test the jam, here’s a foolproof method I use. Check out the photo below!

how to test when jam is set

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Use ripe, undamaged strawberries.
  • You want to keep the strawberries and sugar in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or (better yet) overnight because the strawberries release juices and dissolve the sugar, creating a thick syrup. Because the sugar is dissolved, making the jam is much faster and easier. Also, you don’t risk burning the fruit when boiling it. You could skip this step completely, but there would be extra time on the stove stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved.
  • When you start bringing it to a boil, you want to do it slowly and gently so you don’t scorch or burn the fruit. So be patient and don’t rush this step.
  • When you start testing the jam to see if it has set, make sure you take it off the heat first.
  • If you don’t like thick chunky pieces of fruit, mash the strawberries with a potato masher or pastry blender.

strawberry jam

WHERE TO USE HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM

Of course, there are lots of ways to use homemade strawberry jam besides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Here are just a few ideas:

  • spread it on plain or buttered toast
  • spoon some over Greek yogurt
  • use it to top vanilla ice cream
  • mix it with some cream cheese and spread it over sourdough bread
  • spread some over cheesecake or  brownies
  • spoon some over fruit salad
  • surprise someone and give it as a gift

Let me know how this strawberry jam turned out for you in the comments below!

I’d love to hear from you!

~Voula

EASY STRAWBERRY JAM (Without Pectin + Tips)

This homemade strawberry jam is made with only 3 ingredients! Learn how to make this delicious jam from scratch, without using a thermometer. It really is easier than you think!
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy,, homemade, strawberry, jam, no pectin, no thermometer
Servings: 2 - 3 small jars

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) strawberries
  • 500 g (2 ½ cups / 17.6 oz) sugar
  • juice from 1 lemon

Instructions

  • Wash the strawberries. Remove the stems and any bad spots.
  • Cut the strawberries in half and put them in a large bowl.
  • Add the sugar and cover all the strawberries.
  • Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Put the plates in the refrigerator.
  • Pour the strawberries into a large, deep pot. Start cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Increase heat to medium and stir to completely dissolve the sugar. Remove any foam that forms on the surface.
  • Add the lemon juice and gently bring to a boil and continue boiling steadily, uncovered, until the mixture thickens, about 30-40 minutes.
  • If you don’t like thick chunky pieces of fruit, mash the strawberries with a potato masher or pastry blender.
  • Take the jam off the heat and start testing to see if it has set.
  • Take out a plate from the refrigerator and put a teaspoon of jam on it. Put the plate back in the refrigerator for 1-2 minutes. Then take it out of the refrigerator and push the jam with the back of a clean spoon. If it crinkles and wrinkles and remains separated, it’s set (see photo in the post). If not, put the jam back on the heat and continue cooking. Test it again every 2-3 minutes until it’s reached the setting point. Be careful! It can set really fast!
  • Transfer the jam to clean, sterilized jars.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use ripe, undamaged strawberries.
  • You want to keep the strawberries and sugar in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or (better yet) overnight because the strawberries release juices and dissolve the sugar, creating a thick syrup. Because the sugar is dissolved, making the jam is much faster and easier and you don’t risk burning the fruit. You could skip this step completely, but there would be extra time on the stove until the sugar is dissolved.
  • When you start bringing it to a boil, you want to do it slowly and gently so you don’t scorch or burn the fruit. 
  • When you start testing the jam to see if it has set, make sure you take it off the heat first.
  • See the photo in the post to help you know when the jam is set.
  • You can store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 months.
© Pastry Wishes
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