strawberry jam canned in the background with a plate of toast topped with homemade strawberry jelly

Easy Beginner Canning: How to Make The Best Strawberry Jam


Strawberry jam making for the beginner, how to make it and process it (can it) so you can enjoy that fresh strawberry flavor year round.

There is just nothing better than visiting your local strawberry farm and picking fresh, local strawberries by the bucket. And it is incredibly satisfying to turn them into your own homemade jam. Strawberries picked at the peak of freshness during strawberry season increases their nutrient content and gives you a chance to talk to the farmer that raised them. Aim for organic or no spray if possible, but I am not one to throw shame on anyone for doing what they can with what they got. I know budgets and access varies a lot and I’m proud of you for wanting to learn a new skill! Way to go with trying your hand at making your own jam recipes!

Strawberry jam is a great place to start experimenting with canning your first batch of produce.

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a jar of strawberry jam on counter surrounded by strawberries

Why So Much Sugar?

This recipe uses simple ingredients and upon first glance the amount of sugar may seem like a lot, but sugar acts as a preservative. If you choose to find a low sugar jam recipe instead or one with less sugar, just know that the shelf life wont be as long as a full sugar version. 

I personally like this easy homemade strawberry jam recipe because it is quick cooking. Because of the addition of lemon juice and added pectin it only needs to be processed in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. The low cook time helps keep a lot of the fresh picked strawberry flavor in the jam, and that’s what I am looking for in a good jam recipe. 

woman measuring strawberry jam headspace for canning

Equipment Needing for Water Bath Canning Strawberry Jam

Before we get the actual recipe started, let’s make sure you have the necessary equipment first. You will need:

  1. Large, heavy bottomed stock pot for cooking the jam in. (At least 8 quarts or larger, heavy-bottomed saucepan).
  2. Water bath canner
    • Alternatively, You can use a large, deep saucepan or stock pot that is at least 3 inches deeper than the height of the jars when inside the pot.
    • There are also electric water bath canners available. Ball EasyCanner Electric Water Bath Canner
  3. The jam will double or triple in size during the “rolling boil” so make sure there is plenty of space for it to do so.
  4. Glass jars: You can use 8, 8 ounce canning jars or 4 pint sized canning jars with lids and bands.
    • Make sure they are clean. If they are brand new, wash them.
  5. New canning lids. If you bought new jars, you’ll have lids. But if re-using canning jars, it is best practice to always use new lids for the best seal. I love to get mine from ForJars.
  6. Jar lifter, Canning funnel, bubble remover, kitchen timer.
  7. Ladle
  8. Wooden spoon or silicon spatula.
  9. Head space measurement tool or a ruler.
  10. Clean towels or paper towels.
  11. Water bath canner or large stockpot with a rack.
  12. Colander
  13. Strawberry huller (optional, can also use a potato peeler or a knife.)
  14. Potato/ Wire Masher
Overhead shot of strawberries, lemon juice, sure jell pectin and organic sugar.

Ingredients Needed to Easily Make Delicious Homemade Strawberry Jam

8 cups whole, fresh, unblemished, ripe strawberries (approximately, you will also measure them once crushed for more accurate measurements.)

7 Cups granulated sugar

4 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled lemon juice is necessary for consistent ph levels rather than fresh lemon juice.)

6 tablespoons pectin ( Ball Classic Fruit Pectin or use one package of Sure Jell)

bright strawberry jam on counter with strawberries on counter

Prepare Your Canner and Work Space

  • Wash jars, ( eight 8 ounce jars or 4 pints).
  • Also wash lids and canning bands in hot soapy water, rinse and set aside until ready to use.
  • Place jars in water bath canner.
  • Fill water bath canner with warm water as well as filling up the jars inside it. Water should be to the top of the jars.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon white vinegar into canner. (This helps your glass jars not get cloudy from sediments in your water.)
  • Place on stove top burner and bring to a simmer. (Do not boil yet.)
  • I set out 1 very big bowl for the strawberries that have had the hull removed, 1 medium bowl to set the colander of strawberries into and 1 smaller bowl for the hulls/ green tops to be collected into.
  • Place a small plate into the freezer at this time to test how the jam has set later.

Measure out 7 cups of sugar and set it aside so it is ready when needed. This makes it easier to add it all at once when the time comes.

hulled strawberries in bowl

Making the Easy Strawberry Jam Recipe

  • Prepare the fresh strawberries: place a colander in the sink and add the strawberries.
  • Gently wash the strawberries under cool running water.
    • Let them fully drain so they don’t absorb any excess moisture.
  • Hull the strawberries, remove the green leaves.
    • If you need a video as how to do this, check out this video here by Cooking Guide.
  • Place a single layer of stemmed strawberries into a flat bottomed dish. (Like a pie plate or, I use the stainless steel pot insert for my Insta Pot.)
  • Crush the strawberries with a potato masher.
  • Then pour the crushed berries into a liquid measuring cup.
    • Do not be tempted to use a food processor here as it slices the strawberries rather than mashing them. And it also adds more air than desired.
  • Place the crushed strawberries into your heavy bottomed stock pot.
  • Repeat until you have 5 cups of crushed strawberries in your stock pot.
2 cups crushed fresh strawberries in liquid measuring cup
crushing fresh strawberries with a potato masher in deep stainless steel pot.

On the Stove Top

  • Now that you have 5 cups of crushed strawberries in your stock pot, add the 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and pectin to the pot and stir it in.
  • Whisk until the pectin is dissolved into the strawberry mixture.
  • Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring often as to prevent burning.
  • Once the strawberry jam is at a rolling boil, add all the sugar at once. Stir constantly.
  • The sugar will cool the mixture down a bit so once it returns to a rolling boil, boil it hard for 1 minute.
    • A hard boil is when you cannot stir it down. As you stir, it is still boiling hard. Be careful to not get splashed or have your mixture overflow.
  • After the 1 minute, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Use a spatula or large slotted metal spoon to skim off foam. (See tips for more info.)
  • At this point you can do a plate test, to see if the jam set.

How to Do a Plate Test For Jam Set: How to Test if Jelly is Set

  • Take out the plate you had previously placed in the freezer.
  • Scoop a spoonful of cooked jam out of the pot and drop it on the plate.
  • You can either run your finger through the center of the jam or tilt the plate at a 45 degree angle.
  • If the jam slowly spreads when moved, it is set. If it runs quickly, continue to cook for an additional few minutes and then repeat the test.
  • Once you are happy with the set of the jam, continue with processing jam into the jars.
woman pouring strawberry jelly into hot pint jars for canning

How to Process Strawberry Jam with a Water Bath Canner

  • Filling one jar at a time, remove a jar from the water bath canner, emptying the hot water back into the canner. (Do not dry the jar.)
  • Place the jar onto a wood cutting board or use a towel on the counter.
    • (This is to help with temperature shock if you have stone counter tops.)
  • Using a canning funnel, ladle the hot jam into hot jars .
  • Leave 1/4 inch (.5 cm) of headspace. I like using this headspace measuring tool.
women measuring headspace for canning jam
  • Use a non metallic utensil to release any bubbles stuck between the sides of the jar and the jam. Slide the utensil down the side two or three times to release bubbles.
women debubling jam for canning
  • Double check headspace as it will most likely have changed some. Top off with more jam if necessary to have the correct 1/4 inch headspace.
  • With a damp clean towel or paper towel, wipe the rim and threads of the jar to remove any jam residue.
  • Center your canning lid on to the jar and place canning band onto jar.
  • With your fingers, screw the band down onto the jar to “finger tip tight”. (See tips)
  • Return glass jar to canner and repeat until all jam is used.
  • If the last jar does not have enough jam to fill it to 1/4 inch headspace, you can still fill the canning jar to not waste the jam. But put it into the refrigerator and do not process it if it is not full enough.
  • When all the jars are filled and placed into the canner, lower the canning rack if you have one.
4 jars of strawberry jam in canner covered with water
  • Ensure that all jars are completely submerged and covered by at least 1 inch of hot water (2.5 cm).
  • Cover canner lid and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.
  • Once the water gets to the roiling boil point, start timer for 10 minutes.
  • Once the 10 minutes has passed, turn heat off and remove the canner.
  • Carefully remove canner lid and set timer for 5 minutes. (This helps with temperature shock.)
  • Then remove jars with a canning lifter, careful to not tip jars.
jars on wooden cutting board to cool
  • Place jars upright on a towel or wood cutting board in a draft free spot to cool, undisturbed for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours at room temperature, check the lids to make sure the seals are secure. 
  • Take all the bands off and gently press down in the center of the lids. Lids will be concave, curving downward to the jam and should not move. There should be no bounce/ or pop to the lid.
  • If any jars have not sealed properly, place them into the refrigerator or reprocess.
  • Wipe jars clean and label them with date and what is inside.
  • Store in a cool, dry and dark spot.
strawberry jelly on toast homemade canning

Enjoy Your Small-batch Strawberry Jam Recipe Success!

This jam is so good that you can think outside the regular peanut butter jelly sandwiches. It is also really delicious on top of ice cream or atop of pancakes and waffles.

Tips for Successful Canning

Vinegar Hack: How to Not Have Cloudy Mason Jars when Canning

When filling up your canner, add 1 tablespoon white vinegar into the canner. This helps your glass jars not get cloudy from sediments in your water.

What To Do For Foam While Making Home Made Jam

Foam will accumulate on the top of the surface when making soft spreads, like strawberry jam. It is the air being released from the fruit during cooking. To help reduce foaming add up to 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to the recipe before cooking. This helps reduce the surface tension which reduces the build up of air bubbles or foam in the jam.

What is Finger Tip Tight?

Finger tip tight means you have tightened the jar to a good resistance but have not needed to use your whole palm to force more pressure.

  • If rings are too loose, the lid may come off during processing releasing your goods into the canner.
  • If the rings are too tight the air can not vent from the jar, trapping it in and could discolor your food. This can also affect the shelf stability of your food.

It is best practice to only tighten to finger tip tightness when pressure canning as well as an over tightened jar could buckle the lid or break the jar.

You can watch this short video to visually see how to tighten a jar lid.

a piece of toast on a plate with strawberry jam spread on it with a bowl of strawberries near by.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is pectin?

It is a complex starch used as a thickening agent derived from fruits, like apples or citrus peels. If you’d like to dive into more of the science behind it, check out this article from Food Network.

Can I use strawberries from the grocery store or local supermarket to make fresh strawberry jam?

Yes, you can use grocery store strawberries. Just look for the deepest red and opt for organic if possible.

Can I use frozen strawberries to make strawberry jam?

Yes you can use frozen strawberries to make homemade strawberry jam. Thaw them in the refrigerator util they are just soft enough to crush. There will still be some ice crystals remaining.

image for pinterest including photos with strawberry jam in canning jars as well as spread on a piece of gluten-free toast

Easy Beginner Canning: How to Make The Best Strawberry Jam

Strawberry jam making for the beginner, how to make it and process it (can it) so you can enjoy that fresh strawberry flavor year round.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Canning, Food Preservation, Preserving
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Pints


  • Large, Heavy bottomed sauce pan at least 8 quarts
  • Water Bath Canner


  • 8 Cups whole strawberries approximately
  • 7 Cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice bottled lemon juice is necessary for consistent ph levels rather than fresh lemon juice
  • 1 package Sure Jell or 6Tbsp's Ball classic Fruit Pectin


  • Place 8 clean 8 ounce jars or 4 pints onto the rack of a water bath (boiling-water) canner.
  • Fill the canner with warm water, cover and bring water to a simmer on stove over medium heat. Do not boil yet.
  • Optional: Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to the canning water. (This helps the jars not to get a cloudy film during processing.)
  • Prepare and wash canning lids and bands with hot, soapy water. Rinse them and set aside.
  • Measure sugar into a bowl and set aside.
  • Wash strawberries under cool water in a colander. Let fully drain.
  • Hull strawberries with a strawberry huller, the road part of a potato peeler or a pairing knife.
  • Place a single layer of hulled strawberries in a flat bottomed pan or bowl.
  • Using a potato masher or wire masher, mash the strawberries.
  • Measure the crushed berries using a liquid measuring cup. Repeat till you have 5 cups of crushed berries.
  • Add 5 cups of crushed berries to a deep saucepan or stock pot.
  • Stir in lemon juice to the berries and whisk in the pectin until dissolved.
  • Bring mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  • Add sugar all at once, stir constantly and return to a full rolling boil.
  • Boil hard for 1 minute. (Meaning, you can not stir the boiling down.)
  • Remove from heat and skim off foam. (See tips)
  • Fill one jar at a time. Carefully remove one jar from the canner, dump the water from the jar back into the canner.
  • Place the jar onto a wood cutting board or towel covered counter.
  • Position the canning funnel on top of the jar and ladle hot jam into the hot jar. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace.
  • Slide de-bubbling tool down the side of the jar, between the jam and the glass. Do this 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.
  • Double check headspace and adjust if needed.
  • With a clean, damp cloth or paper towel, wipe the jar's rim and threads to remove any spills.
  • Center the lid on top of the jar, place band on and adjust to finger tip tight. (See tips)
  • Return the jar to the canner rack or into the simmering water while you repeat the filling process with the other jars.
  • Repeat filling until all jars are filled. (See tips)
  • When all jars are full, lower the canning rack if you have one. Ensure that all jars are completely covered with hot water by at least 1 inch.
  • Place cover on canner and turn up the heat to high.
  • When water is at a full rapid boil, start timer for 10 minutes. (Only start timer when water is boiling.) Adjust heat as needed to not overflow but keep a rapid boil going.
  • When timer has finished, turn off heat and remove the canner from the burner.
  • Remove the lid, carefully so the steam is away from you. Let the canner sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Remove jars, being careful to keep them upright and not tilting them. Place jars on a wooden cutting board or towel covered towel, in a cool space.
  • Do not disturb for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, check lids for seal. Remove the bands and gently press down on center of lid to check seal. Sealed lids will curve down (concave) and will not pop up at all. If you fid a jar with a lid that hasn't been properly sealed, immediately refrigerate it.
  • Wash bands and dry for storage and later use. Store jars of strawberry jam without the lids on so you can see if a lid fails during storage.
  • Label and store jars in a cool, dark and dry space.


This recipe card is the very basic recipe. If you would like a lot more detail please fully read the blog post as it is a wealth of information. 
Keyword Stawberry Jam


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