Canning & Preserving: Strawberry Jam Recipe (Pectin-Free)

After the kids & I picked our strawberries from the berry farm, I knew I wanted to make some strawberry jam.  I decided I would try out a recipe without pectin as well as wanted to try one without using sugar and honey instead.  Although I don’t find this recipe to be as thick as a recipe with pectin, it is delicious and firm enough for our liking.

This recipe makes about 8 half-pint jelly jars.  First collect the supplies you will be needing-your jars, lids, rings, large stockpot or hot water canner, ladle, magnetic lid lifter, funnel, a non-metallic bubble remover, jar lifter and clean towels.

Ingredients Needed

  • 2 Quarts of Fresh Ripe Berries
  • 6 Cups of Sugar


To begin you will want to make sure your jars are washed and clean.  Next they need to be nice and hot for the Jam to go into so you can place your 8-9 jars on a rack in your hot water canner. Fill the jars and canner with cool water, making sure that the water covers over the top of the jars by about an inch. Cover the canner and warm on medium heat.  You are not trying to sterilize them but rather bring them up to a warm temperature.  I always prep at least one extra jar because I occasionally end up with more than I accounted for whatever reason.

Next you want to prepare the lids. This is very easy to do.  If you are using traditional lids, place them in a small sauce pan and cover with water.  Bring the water to a simmer on medium heat.  Again, you do not need to boil them, this is preparing the seal.  Keep the lids at this temperature until you are ready to use them. Have the bands close by but they do not need to be prepped, just make sure they are clean.

  1. Depending on when you picked your berries, you may have done the prep work the day before.  If not, wash your strawberries and drain them well.  Remove the hulls/stems.
  2. Next you want to crush your strawberries.  For the best results, do this in small batches.  You can either use a potato masher or pulse once or twice in your food processor.  Add them to a deep stainless steel sauce pan as you go along.
  3. Add your sugar to your stockpot.  (It is a lot of sugar).
  4. Bring your strawberries and sugar mixture to a boil, slowly.  Continuing stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Cook rapidly to a gelling point.  This may seem to take a little while but be patient.  As the mixture thickens, be sure to continue stirring, to prevent sticking.  You can test it out to see the consistency by using a spoon and dipping it in your mixture.  You should be able to tell if it has a good thick gelling or if it may need a bit longer.  Avoid overcooking as this can cause the breakdown of the pectin and cause a softer gelling.
  5. Remove your canner from the heat and skim off any foam.
  6. Remove one jar at a time from the canner with your jar lifter and empty the hot water back inside the canner.
  7. Place your jar on your countertop that has been covered by a clean towel.
  8. Insert your canning funnel in the jar and ladle your hot jam into the hot jar.  Make sure you leave about 1/4 inch headspace.
  9. Remove any air bubbles by sliding a non-metallic spatula down between the jam and the inside of the jar and circling the jar while using an up and down motion once or twice. Add more jam if needed after any air bubbles have been removed.
  10. Wipe the jar rim with a clean damp cloth to remove any food residue on the rim, otherwise it won’t seal properly.
  11. Using your magnetic jar lifter, lift a hot lid from the water and place it on the jar.
  12. Put a band on the jar and tighten just enough to be firm.
  13. Using your jar lifters (as the jar will be hot) return the jar to the canner rack and repeat this until each jar is full.
  14. At this point, make sure you have enough water in your canner to cover over the jars by at least an inch.
  15. Put your lid on your canner and bring the water to a full boil. You will want to process the jars (at a full boil) for 15 minutes.
  16. After the 15 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Let your jars set for 5 minutes and then remove the jars.  Try to lift the jars straight into the air and resist the urge to tilt them to empty off any water on the lids.  Place them upright on a towel in a draft-free area that they can remain undisturbed for 24 hours.
  17. After 24 hours, you will want to check your lids to ensure you have a good seal.  Press down on the center of each lid with your finger. If there is no movement, then the jar has sealed properly. If there is movement you may want to try to reprocess the jar or refrigerate it to be used in the next two weeks.

For the jars that have a good seal, I remove the rings and them wipe down the outside of the jars.  Place labels or dates on the lids to ensure you know when the batch was made!  Enjoy!

12 thoughts on “Canning & Preserving: Strawberry Jam Recipe (Pectin-Free)”

  1. I love canning! I also tried going pectin free this time and like it even more, mine firmed up quite a bit, I was pretty surprised. I’ve never been to a farm though, really want to try that out!

    1. It is firm enough that we enjoy it. For someone used to preserves with thick chucks just don’t mash the strawberries as much. My kids prefer it pretty smooth and it is so good!

  2. I’ve never canned before but have contemplated making some blackberry jam, I will bookmark this page for when I decide to. Thanks for the info

  3. This is so fun! I have never seen how jam was made. Maybe one day, I’ll attempt it myself! (Bookmarking this, just in case 🙂 )

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