Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Ah, strawberry season. The best time of the year!  Time for strawberry shortcakes, strawberries in my Greek yogurt and homemade old fashioned strawberry jam.  Last time I was thumbing through my Great Grandmother’s old recipe box I noticed her hand-written strawberry jam recipe and just knew I needed to give it a try. And so I did. And now I will never go back to any other recipe…this one is the “berry” best out there!

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe was amazing. It was so easy to make, and had a perfect texture. Plus it doesn’t use Pectin!! Did you know you don’t need to use pectin in homemade jam making? Neither did I until now. Pectin isn’t necessarily bad for you but I would way rather make it the old fashioned way and let the natural pectin in the fruit do the work. Plus I prefer a softer jam to a more gelatinous one.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Have you noticed that all jam recipes always call for an insane amount of sugar? I’ll admit that is shocks me every time.  This recipe does have all that sugar too, but the ending result is worth every sugary spoonful. I love the 3 simple ingredients  – fresh strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Doesn’t get much simpler that that.

This recipe is my new favorite strawberry jam recipe. Why? Because I am a huge fan of freezer jam, and this tastes just about the same, like fresh strawberries. It has the same consistency of freezer jam but I don’t have to store it in my freezer. I need all the freezer space I can get for my freezer meals. This strawberry jam is canned using the hot water bath canning method, so I can store it in my pantry.

Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam Without Pectin

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

First you will want to wash your jars and lids in some hot soapy water. Place the center lids of your jars in a small saucepan and cover with water, bringing it to a simmer without boiling.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Next wash and remove stems from strawberries and puree them or mash the up depending on the consistency of jam you like. I went ahead and pureed mine. Stir in sugar and let sit for 2 hours.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Add strawberry mixture to a large pot and bring to a slow boil over medium heat, stirring often. Turn heat up to medium high and  let strawberries boil rapidly for 5 more minutes.

Update: Some of you have mentioned in the comments about the jam being runny. Gene, a happymoneysaver reader emailed me and said that if you take the boil to 220 degrees F using a candy thermometer it comes out perfectly set.  Haven’t tried this myself…but wanted to let you know this may be a great thing to try.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Add in lemon juice and stir. Boil for 5 more minutes and remove from heat.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Pour the delicious strawberry jam into the clean jars, making sure to wipe the rim with a wet washcloth to remove any jam that may prevent the lid from sealing. Or just grab a spoon and start digging in…it is so very tempting. 🙂

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Remove center lids from simmering water and add to the tops of the jars then place on lid rings and set aside. At this point you can add jars to a large water bath canner and boil for 10 minutes.

For small batch canning like salsa, syrups and jams, etc. I prefer to use my Ball® Home Canning Discovery Kit. This little contraption is so nice because I can use a large pot instead of pulling out my gigantic canner. The little basket that it comes with it can only do 3 jars at a time but for small batches it’s perfect. It is especially perfect for the beginner canner. I have been very happy with it.

Just place jars in the basket, lower basket into a pot of boiling water, put the lid on the pot and boil for 10 minutes.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjamThis old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

After 10 minutes is up, using the handle of theBall® Home Canning Discovery Kit, pull basket out of water, place jars on a counter away from small hands, and let cool.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

If jars seal, you will hear a loud popping sound. It’s pretty much my favorite part about canning. I don’t know why. All you canners out there, you understand don’t you? If a jar does not seal, put it in your fridge and eat it up in the next couple weeks. This recipe made about 10 half pint jars for me.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

Thank you Great Grandma Munn for this wonderful recipe. I will be making this one for many years to come.

This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe has no pectin and tastes like fresh strawberries. #vintage #recipes #strawberryjam

 Below is the printable version of this recipe for you!

4.1 from 10 votes
Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins

Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam is wonderful for ever! 

Servings: 10
Calories: 415 kcal
Author: Karrie
  • 2 quarts strawberries
  • 5 cups heaping sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  1. Wash strawberries and remove the stems.
  2. Chop, mash or puree strawberries and stir in the sugar. Let sit for 2 hours.
  3. Add strawberry mixture to a large pot and cook slow over medium heat until it boils, stirring often. Then turn up the heat to med-high and boil fast for 5 more minutes or until candy thermometer says 220 degrees F.
  4. Add in lemon juice and stir. Boil 5 minutes longer.
  5. Pour jam into clean jars and add lids. Place in a hot water bath canner and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool to room temperature. Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
Recipe Notes

Jars that don't seal correctly can be placed in the fridge to be eaten within the next couple of weeks.
Makes about 10 half pint jars of jam.


Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam was last modified: March 7th, 2017 by Ashleigh

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  1. Janette says:

    I am an avid canner and I have to admit, I like the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit as well because sometimes you just don’t feel like bringing out the big canner. I have to confess this year I bought the Ball Automatic Jam and Jelly maker. I t has such great reviews I cannot wait to try it. Uses pectin though, but I think they probably make it from apples (convinces self it is almost a natural product). Love your site.

  2. Heather says:

    Thank you for the lovely old-fashioned recipe…can’t wait to try it later on today! I am all out of pectin and didn’t know you didn’t need it 🙂 I bought a half flat of strawberries on Sunday and most of them are very ripe or just about too ripe, so this will be perfect. I, too, have little to no space in my freezer so this is a perfect solution for us as well! Zaycon overtaketh…ha!

    • Hi, just ran onto your blog when I was looking for laundry soap recipes. If you want to use natural pectin instead of store bought, there are quite a lot of fruit that are high in pectin which gives you the gelling for jams and sauces, examples are apples, citrus fruits, and one of the highest is cranberries. In apples it’s in the peel and in citrus the pectin is in the skin, not the peel. Though I think citrus is not as high as apples and cranberries. I am really enjoying your blog. Thank you.

  3. Misses Tee says:

    Thank you for the wonderful looking recipe! 🙂 Do you know if using Stevia instead of sugar would work as well?…

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      I haven’t tried stevia in this recipe before so I am not sure. If you make them let me know how they turn out!

      • Stephanie says:

        Stevia how much I should use instead of sugar?

        I cut my strawberries in half not into smaller pieces ( Did not mash or puree ) and this made a nice jam but it was Way to Sweet. Maybe next I will try 3 cups instead unless someone has tried the Stevia to replace the sugar.

        Has anyone tried using Brown Sugar instead of white??

  4. Does the jam turn out thick like jam or thinner like a syrup? I tried another recipe that is similar to this but it didn’t thicken…it did make a delicious syrup though!

  5. Lisa P. says:

    Do you think you could use other berries, like raspberries or blackberries? I know blueberries have a hard time because of their low natural pectin.

  6. Celeste says:

    Could you freeze this instead? I don’t have canning jars.

    • I haven’t tried this as a freezer jam but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Give it a try!

    • I’m a big fan of freezer jam; please let us know what happens if you try it!!!

    • I have been making jams for over 45 years. I don’t make freezer jam and I never use pectin and make regular jams, berries and sugar. Many years ago I got a little lazy and didn’t want to bother with the bottles. So I freeze all my jams (strawberry, raspberry, strawberry & rhubarb, peach, blueberry). I actually use chip dip containers. They freeze beautifully and will last two or three years in your freezer and no worry about the seal being secure on the bottles. Also, if the jam is too runny perhaps it hasn’t cooked enough. Put a saucer in the freezer, after the allotted time put some jam on the saucer and put back in freezer for a few minutes to cool If it hasn’t thickened to your liking, return to the heat and continue to cook. Try again until you get the right consistency.

  7. MomZilla says:

    I tried making a batch with Stevia & was not happy with the results. Not sure if it’s something I did or didn’t do but it never set. Made good syrup though

  8. Lillian says:

    I made the jam last night but it didn’t set up. Is there something I can do without adding pectin to have it set? I did find a fix with another source using pectin and reboiling.

  9. t portlock says:

    New to canning so this recipe is simple enough for me to try. Thank you for sharing it. I will try it and then tell you how I did. My project is making homemade baskets for Holidays, so I am practicing now.

  10. First time canning… Hope the method of just covering a boiling pot works. I only got just under 6 half pint jars… Don’t know what I did wrong 🙁

  11. Do you think I can substitute with some raspeberries

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      I haven’t tried raspberries but I think it could work! Try it out and let me know what you think!

  12. Heather says:

    Can you use less sugar? What effect would it have?

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      Since it only has three ingredients I would be hesitant to try using less sugar. But if you try it and find it successful let me know!

    • You do not need to use sugar or any added sweetener. Half the lemon juice (use only 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice) whisk together with 2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot powder and 2 Tablespoons of water. After adding the strawberries and letting it come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and continue stirring occasionally until it thickens (about 40-50 minutes). Use a thick bottomed pot, heat diffuser, or even better a double boiler (smaller pot set inside larger one will work) to prevent sticking. Jam will thicken more as it cools. If it is too thick add a Tablespoon of boiled water. Proceed as above.

      see also http://www.healthycanning.com/sugar-free-jams-and-marmalades/
      The above site has basic knowledge for safe and healthy canning

      • Please note low sugar or pectin jams need to be processed longer please see above link for important information on canning (some rules have changed).

  13. Danielle says:

    I made this yesterday and it did not get thick like I thought that it would. It is definitely thicker, but should I be expecting it to be as thick as typical jam?

  14. I just made thisrecipe, and boiledthem in a pot. How will I know if the cans are sealed or have “popped”??

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      Here are three ways I do it. Press on the center of the lid. If it’s solid and concave means a good seal, movement means no seal. 2. Tap on the lid. Tinny means sealed, hollow means poor or no seal. 3.Unscrew the band you used to hold the lid in place during processing. Now attempt to pick your jar up holding onto nothing but the lid. If you have a good seal, you should be able to do this easily.

  15. Christine says:

    I’m attempting to make this strawberry jam today. I cut the strawberries into small pieces then mashed it up while stirring in the sugar. I tasted it and it seems fine. I’m happy with the consistency so far. This will be my first time doing this type of jam. I plan to put this jam in the freezer using plastic lids. This will be the first year doing strawberry jam. Last year, I had my hands full doing apple and peach jam. I used pectin for the peach jam. However, I only used sugar and lemon juice and no pectin for the apple jam. Both jams turned out fine for freezing so I’m assuming this will be fine as well!

  16. This is first time I have ever tried to can. I am a total novice. I don’t even know what pectin is. I am at point that I have first 4 jars out of boiling water and I am hearing popping. Does the pectin help with the thickening as mine is not too thick or is it just used to preserve. Thanks and want to try to can some peaches next

  17. I am trying not to use refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. I would love a recipe that I could use honey instead. I have some home grown blue berries that I would like to use for jam.

  18. I have never done anything like this but I am intrigued! Here’s my question; when you put the filled jars in the pan and boil them for 10 minutes, is this step simply for sealing the jars or is it part of the jam making process? I’m asking because I have a Food Saver that has an attachment that seals Mason Jars and I’m wondering if I can use it and not boil them. This is probably a silly question but I’ve never canned anything before.

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      I like boiling the jars to make sure that there is no chance of bacteria surviving so I would say it would be important to keep that step in. I haven’t used that attachment before so it might be helpful to call the manufacturers and ask them directly on what they recommend. If there are any users with experience out there, please comment away!

    • Christel Schindler says:

      If the jars are washed in a “sani” cycle on your dishwasher (the water needs to be VERY HOT), and you put the jam in the jars and the lids on when it is very hot, I have found that the jars seal themselves without putting them in a hot water bath.

      Have every thing very clean and hot. I have never had a problem with jam spoiling. Strawberries and lemon juice have enough acid in them to prevent bacteria from growing.

  19. I made the strawberry jam last night, but it didn’t thicken will it thicken once it is opened and refrigerated? or did I do something wrong?

  20. Thanks so much for this recipe. I’m so glad to see that it doesn’t contain many ingredients.

  21. I made this recipe years ago. And in fact I was looking for it when I stumbled on to your site.

    In answer to a few questions:

    –You can use half the amount of sugar and the jam actually tastes better and comes out thicker. I’ve always wondered if too much sugar results in thinner, runnier jam.
    –Instead of canning in a bath, after you wash, then rinse your jars and lids in water that has boiled and been removed from the heat to sterilize, you can either seal the jam in the jars with paraffin (wax) or simply spoon or pour your boiling hot jam into your jars, seat your lids and quickly and carefully turn them upside down on a flat counter until they cool. The heat from the boiling jam seals the lid. You have to be fast and careful though.

    Just thought you might want to know some tricks.

  22. We went to the Strawberry Festival in Portland, TN yesterday and bought oodles of strawberries. I just made this jam (just pulled the jars out of the canner) and am listening to the “pop” of the seals! I filled 7 6-7oz jars with about 1/8 cup left, which tasted DELICIOUS! Thank you so much for this simple and easy recipe!

  23. This is the most delicious jam! I made it a couple weeks ago and it was actually really thick, I think it’s because I may have cooked it a little longer than the recipe says, for fear of it being too thin. I just picked another batch of strawberries and I’m going to try again tomorrow, thanks for sharing!

  24. Made it tonite with 2 qt s’berries and 4 C sugar. It turned out “runny” as noted (what I expected and am OK with it) but only got 6 1/2 pints (3 full pints). I like it but I’ll go back to freezer (or pectin-added) jam next time. Thanks.

  25. Momma Thankful says:

    I made this jam this morning and it turned out perfectly!!
    10 half pint jars of pure deliciousness!
    Do you think it’s safe to try the same recipe for other fruits?

  26. I just made this jam today. Like some of the people who commented before me, I got a lot less out of the recipe than indicated. I used 4 C. of sugar instead of 5 heaping C. It is very very sweet still, so I’m wishing I had put even less. I used meyer lemons for the lemon juice and added some zest to keep the jam light and summery (and to add some additional pectin). I also cooked mine longer than indicated and used a thermometer to get the jam up to 220 degrees to kill as much bacteria as possible. I made two batches back to back and both turned out the same. It seem to have set up nicely and I’m excited to try it. My jam wasn’t as thin as a syrup but not as thick as a jelly…a true jam. Delicious! Thank you!

  27. I made this pectin-free recipe yesterday & I followed the recipe except for the last step because I wanted to make freezer jam …but it’s incredibly thick, too thick to spread. Any tips?

  28. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfect! My kids and husband love it! Thanks for the recipe!

  29. When I was younger my grandma use to use this recipe but it came out thicker. This one turned out like syrup. It tastes good but I was looking for a jam recipe. Now I’ll have to dump it all out and add pecten or sure gel.
    Add a note to the bottom of your recipe that it comes out runny like syrup.

  30. Jeremi says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Hoe should the consistency be after the canning and cooled? I have a thick syrup like for my jams that I canned, but a very think consistency for the one I put in the fridge. Is this the correct consistency or did I not let it boil enough? But it taste great!!

  31. Hi! Can I use frozen strawberries for this kind of recipe?

  32. Mary Kay says:

    This is my first experiment with canning. I was only able to fill 6 1/2 pint jars with the strawberry jam: however, I only put in half the sugar. Does that account for not being able to fill 10 jar? I’ll let you know how they come out.

  33. Had a heap of strawberries from the market but no pectin! Googled, found this recipe. Had to substitute citric acid for the lemon juice, but it totally worked – runnier than store bought (as expected), and absolutely delicious, thank you! Skipped the last part about boiling the jars – it’s not going to last long … Eating it on toast right now 🙂

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