Small Batch Strawberry Jam: How to Make It Like a Pro

Even if you’ve never canned before, this Small Batch Strawberry Jam Recipe is the perfect starting point. And if you’re an experienced canner, you’ll still love the simple beauty of this strawberry jam. 

It’s easy to make and delicious, perfect for spreading over toast or adding to your morning yogurt. 

3 half pint jars of strawberry jam

Homemade Small Batch Strawberry Jam

A simple recipe for strawberry jam that makes just the right amount. Canning instructions included, but it can also be frozen or just eaten quickly! Makes 4 half-pints.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serving Size 28 servings

Equipment

  • Water bath canner and accessories
  • Five (half pint) mason jars with lids and bands
  • A large deep skillet or saucepan

Ingredients 

  • 5 cups halved strawberries about 2 1/2 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice bottled
  • 3 tablespoons pectin
  • 3 cups granulated sugar

Instructions 

  • Prepare the jars and canner. If canning, fill the water bath canner with water and place it on the stove to bring it to a boil. Then, place the rings and lids in a small saucepan filled with water and bring them to a simmer. Keep the clean jars warm in the oven set to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or hot water.
  • Make the jam.  Combine the halved strawberries and lemon juice in a large saucepan, mashing the berries slightly. Gradually sprinkle the pectin over the berries, stirring well after each tablespoon to prevent clumping. Bring the mixture to a full boil over high heat. Once boiling, stir in the granulated sugar. Return to a hard boil and maintain the boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly to make sure the mixture does not scorch.
  • Assemble jars. Remove the jam from the heat. Skim off any foam with a spoon. Then, ladle the jam into the prepared jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace at the top. If any jam remains that does not fill a jar, transfer it to a smaller jar or container and refrigerate to use first. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Securely place the lids and screw on the bands until they are fingertip tight.
  • Process the jam. Carefully lower the filled jars into the canner's boiling water, making sure they are completely submerged. Then, cover the canner and process the jars for 10 minutes. After processing, remove the jars using jar lifters and place them on a clean tea towel on the counter to cool. Leave the jars undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seals; the lid should not flex when the center is pressed.
  • Store or Serve. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Any jars that do not seal properly should be refrigerated and used first.

Notes

If you prefer not to preserve the jam for a long time, just fill the jars, let them cool in the fridge, and transfer them to the freezer after 12 hours.
Give your jam a unique twist by adding 1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest and sugar.
If you live more than 1000 feet above sea level, see this guide for processing times at high altitudes.
For the best flavor and texture, use fresh, ripe strawberries that are firm and free of bruises. Overripe strawberries can be too mushy and might not set as well during the cooking process.
Don’t forget to wash and cut your berries before you begin.
 

More Tips

You do need pectin for this recipe, and it’s an excellent option for those who are new to making jam. It will make sure that your jam sets perfectly.

To avoid burning the jam, use a pot with a thick bottom that can distribute heat evenly, reducing the risk of the sugar sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Place a small plate in the freezer before cooking to check if the jam has been set properly. Then, drop some jam on the cold plate and put it back in the freezer for a minute. Push the jam with your finger; if it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s still runny, continue cooking and check again in a few minutes.

Foam can accumulate on the surface of the jam during boiling, which is common but can make the jam look cloudy if not removed. Use a spoon to skim it off as it forms, just before you pour the jam into jars.

half pint mason jar of homemade strawberry jam

Serving Suggestions

This homemade strawberry jam pairs well with freshly baked scones, cream cheese on toast, pancakes or waffles, yogurt parfaits, peanut butter sandwiches, or vanilla ice cream.

About the Ingredients

Here are some simple substitutions for your strawberry jam recipe:

  • Strawberries: Use an equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or a combination of berries.
  • Lemon Juice: Use lime juice instead of lemon juice to add a bit of tanginess. 
  • Granulated Sugar: Replace with honey or maple syrup for natural sweetness (use 3/4 cup for every cup of sugar as they are sweeter).
cutting board with sugar, pectin, fresh strawberries, and lemon

Remember that these substitutions will affect the flavor and texture of your jam, so it’s best to experiment to see which version you like the most!

Storage Instructions

If you have preserved the jam and all the jars are properly sealed, keep them in a cool and dark place, preferably in your unheated basement. If not, you can store them in a cabinet or pantry on the main level. 

Any jars that didn’t seal properly or the residual jam that couldn’t fit into the jars should be placed in the fridge. Remember to use the refrigerated jam within 3 weeks.

cutting board with slice of toast spreading on strawberry jam

You only need a few things to make your very own small batch of strawberry jam right at home. It’s super easy, and with these simple steps and tips, you can enjoy your very own homemade jam any time of the year!

Small Batch Strawberry Jam: How to Make It Like a Pro

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14 Comments

  1. Hi, I’m planning ahead for this summer and am looking forward to getting back into canning after a few years. I used to heat up my jars directly in the water bath canner – is that a decent method? When you heat them in an oven, do you need to have them in a shallow water bath, or are they ok on their own? Our family goes through quite a lot of jam though haha, so I might make this more than once when it’s strawberry PYO season. Great way to take advantage of fresh produce!

  2. 2 stars
    I went with the weight instead of the amount of cups as suggested in an earlier comment and unfortunately it did not set at all. It was way more than 5 cups but I measured the weight exactly, followed the rest of the recipe to a T. Tasty, but unfortunate 🙁

    1. 3 stars
      Definitely remove the foam-it also impacts the texture if you leave it in.
      My berries weren’t very sweet so some will like it, some won’t. If I make it again I’ll definitely use riper berries.

  3. 5 stars
    This was the perfect recipe for me to find today. A kind friend went strawberry picking and brought us some of her bounty.
    Thank you, I now have five jars of tasty jam!

  4. I think something is wrong with this recipe. It says 2.5 lbs approximately 3 cups of strawberries. I bought 2 lbs of strawberries and after hulling and halving, I have 4.5 cups.

  5. Quick question- my 2 1/2 pounds of strawberries is a lot more than 3 cups. Which should I go with? I know that accurate measuring of the fruit affects how the jam sets. Thanks for the recipe!