Homemade strawberry jam is actually really easy to makeand only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. It’s a great way to use up any extra strawberries you may have at home that are about to go bad. Homemade jam is so much nicer than any store bought jam and I cannot stress this enough! It’s less sugary, it’s fruitier and you can taste the freshness of the strawberries. This super quick and delicious strawberry jam recipe requires no special equipment.
In no time at all, you can have a sweet and simple homemade strawberry jam. You can spread it on your toast, crumpets or croissants at breakfast or you could also have it for your afternoon treat with a scone and some clotted cream. Why not use some of this jam to make my Viennese Whirls, Jam Tarts or Chocolate and Strawberry Teacakes!
There are many recipes out there for homemade strawberry jam and they all use different proportions of sugar and strawberries. The standard ratio is 1:1, which means that for every 100g of strawberries you will need 100g of jam sugar. I don’t like using so much sugar because it makes the jam very sweet and it can cause the jam to set quite hard. So because of this, I tend to use less jam sugar when making my jam. I also like to add the juice of a lemon as the acidity of the lemon balances the sweetness of the strawberries and the sugar. This results in a jam that is not overpoweringly sweet and is set perfectly. There is nothing worse than your jam being very runny and having to pour it onto your toast rather than spoon it.
What is pectin and why do we need it to make jam?
The key to making the perfect jam is pectin. Pectin is a fibre that is found in fruits and acts as a setting agent. The more acidic the fruit, the more pectin it is likely to contain. As strawberries are quite sweet they don’t contain a lot of pectin, which isn’t great for jam making.
No need to worry though as there are a few ways to increase the amount of pectin that goes into your jam. The main thing is to use jam sugar. There are several recipes out there that use granulated sugar but I think this is risky as you could end up with a runny jam. Jam sugar contains pectin so it’s a really easy way of increasing pectin. I also use the juice of a lemon or a lime if I don’t have any lemons at home. Lemon juice is a natural pectin source that helps the jam set and it also helps prevent the growth of bacteria, which is an added bonus!
Texture of the jam
I don’t like my jam to have seeds or strawberry pieces in it. To make sure that my jam is smooth, I chop up the strawberries into small pieces and then put the chopped strawberries with the sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan. I then use a wooden spoon to mash the strawberries up a little bit. As a last step, I pass the hot jam through a sieve before pouring it into my jars.
Yes, this takes a bit longer but it ensures I end up with a smooth strawberry jam. If you like your jam to have pieces of strawberries and you don’t care about the seeds, then cut your strawberries into larger pieces, don’t mash them up with a wooden spoon and don’t pass them through a sieve. Simple!
Do I need a sugar thermometer to make homemade strawberry jam?
I don’t use a thermometer when I make jam.
The way that I know my jam will set is by making sure the jam has boiled for 4 minutes. This does not mean 4 minutes from the second you start to heat the jam. It will take a few minutes for the jam to reach boiling point. Once it reaches boiling point your jam will start to bubble a lot and will rise up the saucepan. It’s from this point that you want to time your 4 minutes. Make sure that you stir continuously when the jam is boiling.
What do I do if my homemade strawberry jam hasn’t set?
When your jam is hot it will always be runny. You will not know if your jam has set until it has completely cooled. I always pour my jam straight into a jar and allow it to cool for a few hours before moving it into the fridge.
There have been a few times where my jam hasn’t set in the fridge. If you’ve let the jam to set overnight and it’s still runny, then it’s most likely not going to set. When this happens it’s because you haven’t added enough jam sugar or because you didn’t boil the jam for long enough.
It’s quite easy to rectify this situation though as all you need to do is spoon the jam out of the jar and back into a saucepan. Add a little bit more jam sugar and heat it up again until it reaches boiling point and then stir for 2-3 minutes. I’ve found that doing this always helps it set.
Do I need to sterilise the jars before I pour the homemade strawberry jam in?
This depends on how long you’re planning on storing your jam for.
If you’re making your jam for the filling of a Victoria Sponge, for example, and it’ll be used within one-two days then there’s no need to sterilise your jars.
However, if you’re planning on storing your jam for longer, then I would recommend you do.
I know that sterilising your jars involves a few extra steps but it will remove all the bacteria from the jar and will help preserve the jam, making it maintain its freshness.
Sterilising your jars is pretty straightforward and this is how you do it:
1. Heat your oven to 140C/ 120C Fan/ 285F/ Gas 1.
2. Wash the jars in hot water with soap and rinse them well.
3. Place the jars on a baking tray and then put them in the oven so that they can dry completely.
Note: if your lids have rubber seals then boil them rather than placing them in the oven. Placing rubber seals in the oven could damage them.
4. Pour the hot jam into the jar. Make sure the jam is hot when you pour it into the jar, if not the jar can crack.
5. Place a waxed disc on before putting on the lid.
I got this information from this BBC Good Food article and it was pretty helpful.
How long does homemade strawberry jam last in the fridge for?
The jam will keep in the fridge for 1-2 months.
Can I use other fruits with this recipe?
You can replace the strawberries with raspberries or loganberries.
If you want to replace with any other fruit, then you will need to take into account the sweetness of the fruit that you are going to use. Fruits that aren’t very sweet and are more acidic are likely to contain more pectin so you will need to use less jam sugar. If you want to use a sweeter fruit, then you will need to add more jam sugar.
What can I do with the leftover jam?
There are so many ways that you can use this jam!
I love using this strawberry jam to make my jam tarts recipe! It’s a really quick and easy recipe. All you have to do is make the sweet pastry, which takes around 5 minutes, then fill them with your jam filling and lastly pop them into the oven. I also like to fill them with some of my easy homemade lemon curd, but you can fill then with whatever you like!
You could also make some Viennese Whirls. This strawberry jam makes for a great filling for my viennese whirls recipe. They’re so crumbly and they melt in your mouth!
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