Learn how to make fresh strawberry jam for the refrigerator-freezer without pectin and without a water bath with this quick and easy recipe.
This quick and easy recipe for Fresh Strawberry Jam is one of my favorites and can be made on the fly without the use of pectin and without having to use a water bath. Best of all you can store your homemade jam in the fridge up to 10 days or in the freezer for three months.
One of my favorite jams has to be strawberry and being as it’s strawberry season here in Wisconsin, I can’t get enough of this seasonal fruit.
Besides the obvious spreadability of this fruit, strawberries lend themselves to instant gratification when making jam because it’s so quick and easy to make.
And, it’s especially so, when wanting to make refrigerator or freezer jam.
Even so, there are a lot of myths to making jam just as there are tips and ideas. The important thing is to understand the how’s and why’s of jam making and follow best practices in order to be successful, each and every time.
Fresh or Frozen Strawberries?
Not all folks have access to fresh strawberries all year long, and to be perfectly honest, depending on the time of year, sometimes the fruit is a bit off and not very sweet to my liking.
So the long and short of this answer is that you can use either fresh or frozen strawberries for this recipe. That being said, if you use frozen strawberries, you will need to allow the fruit to thaw completely before cooking.
In addition, you may find that you have some fruit juice as a result of this thawing and my suggestion is to strain the strawberries before using them for jam and set the juice aside to use in smoothies or to infuse water, as a refreshing drink. Then, follow the rest of the recipe per instructions below.
Water Bath or No Water Bath?
The reality is that you can make good jam without having to can, i.e. using a hot water bath or pressure cooker. And, you don’t have to use pectin either.
The reason is that this recipe for jam will be refrigerated or frozen after processing, which means that by following the time maximums for storage in the fridge or freezer you will have yourself fresh jam but without any extra steps for preservation.
However, if you want to store your homemade strawberry jam sans refrigerator, then you will need to follow a more in-depth process that will ensure that your jam won’t mold and that it can be safely stored for months to come on your pantry shelf. Here’s how:
Pectin or No Pectin?
And, as for pectin, well, strawberries thicken well enough when paired with sugar, so you won’t need to add this ingredient to thicken the jam. It does it naturally on its own.
When giving this Fresh Strawberry Jam as a jarred food gift, be sure to instruct the receiver to keep the contents refrigerated or frozen until use.
But, you might be wondering about the amount of sugar. First of all, sugar is actually a necessity for thickening the jam, as well as being a sweetener.
You do have the option to reduce the amount of sugar but this will affect how long you store the jam, and increase the cooking time.
Old Jars or New Jars and Lids?
I’m also a firm believer of using fresh jars and lids. Now, some folks feel comfortable with reusing canning jars but if you do this, use new lids, again boiled for sanitation purposes. It’s really not a good idea to use priorly used lids, as you might find that the old seal will fail upon re-use.
Besides, new seals don’t cost a lot and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Boil Jars or Not?
My preference is to err on the sanitary side, so I would say, yes, to boiling your jars and lids prior to using for this recipe.
It only ensures the fact that you’ll have little chance of contamination when the hot jam hits the sterile jars and when you seal it.
To prepare your jars for jam, boil jars, rings and lids for at least 3 minutes.
Then, remove everything from the water while your jam is cooking and allow these to drain on a clean cloth until ready to fill.
This recipe only requires three ingredients: fresh strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.
As with all fresh fruit, be sure to rinse your strawberries well to remove any dirt or debris.
For each strawberry cut off the green stem and slice lengthwise. If you like your jam smooth or less chunky, chop your fruit up into smaller pieces prior to cooking.
You will need three cups of fresh cut strawberries for this recipe.
When juicing your lemon, be sure that there’s no pulp or seeds.
Then, place the strawberries in a saucepan, along with the sugar and fresh lemon juice. Use a larger saucepan than you think you’ll need to prevent splatters or boil-overs.
You will need two tablespoons of lemon juice.
Heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Keep stirring until the strawberry mixture is thick, approximately 7-10 minutes.
Use a candy thermometer or a good food thermometer to let you know that you’ve reached 215 degrees F.
Remove from heat and ladle into a clean pint canning jam jar.
Make sure to allow at least a 1/4 of an inch from the top of the jam to the top of the jar lid, to allow for expansion of both the hot contents and when freezing.
Cover with a lid and screw on ring. Hand tighten, but not too tight. Then, allow the jam to cool at room temperature.
You can invert the jar (Method 1) if you’d like or allow the jar to cool upright (Method 2) until you hear the seal pop.
When the jam has fully cooled for about an hour and place in the refrigerator.
This recipe makes 1 3/4 cups of jam, enough to fill one pint jar and with some leftover.
How to Use Your Strawberry Refrigerator-Freezer Jam
This recipe lends itself to a host of recipes from desserts to side dishes. You can use it as you would any other jam or jelly, including:
Slathered on Homemade Baking Powder Biscuits.
Use it as one of the layers for a Cheesecake Parfait.
You can even use it as part of the base for Strawberry Ice Cream, or the topping, for that matter.
Or, with Peanut Butter and Jelly Crescents.
As you see, there’s so much culinary deliciousness awaiting you when you know how to make strawberry jam. Enjoy!
And, for more delicious fruit desserts and cooking tips, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Cooking Section.
Fresh Strawberry Refrigerator-Freezer Jam
- 3 cups fresh strawberries greens removed and sliced lengthwise
- 1 cup sugar granulated
- 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh
- Place the strawberries in a saucepan, along with the sugar and fresh lemon juice.
- Heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Keep stirring until the strawberry mixture is thick, approximately 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and ladle into clean small canning jam jars.
- Cover with lid and screw on with ring and hand tighten, but not too tight.
- (Method 1) You can invert the jar to fully seal or (Method 2) allow the jar to cool upright until you hear the seal pop. Either way, allow the jam to cool at room temperature.
- Once the jam is fully cooled, approximately 1-2 hours place jar in the refrigerator.
- Sealed jars can be stored in refrigerator for about 10 days or freezer for approximately 6 months.
If you like your jam smooth, chop your fruit up into smaller chunks prior to cooking.
Any leftover jam can be used to top ice cream, part of a parfait, or slather on baking powder biscuits.
Use a larger pot than you need to prevent splatter.