Fun

How to Make Strawberry Jam

Today we’re gonna bottle summer, y’all.

I am not exaggerating when I say this: This strawberry jam is one of the best things you’ll ever taste. No lie. You will never, ever want to eat jam from the store again. Not only is it way better for you, because it’s fresh and doesn’t have horrible things in it like high-fructose corn syrup and weird artificial dyes, it also makes a fantastic, super-cheap, seriously impressive gift. Why? Because people love jam and, for some reason, everyone thinks making it is really hard. In reality, all you have to do is remember the number two, and you can make jam from scratch from memory forever!

You’ll need:

  • One big, deep stew pot (like a two-gallon pot)
  • One big, deep saucepan
  • Two medium-sized glass jars with metal lids or three to five smallish jars. These can be any kind of jars: old salsa jars, old jelly jars, pickle jars, anything at all. (Because I’m a hoarder, I scour garage sales for vintage canning jars, which look extra authentic and adorable when you give jam as a gift.)
  • Two pounds of fresh strawberries
  • Two cups of sugar. White or raw sugar works best.
  • One lemon

1. Wash your strawberries and hull them (cut off the green part on top, so nothing but fruit remains).

2. Dump them all in your blender. Add about a cup of water.

3. Blend on high until you have liquid strawberries.

4. Pour the liquid strawberries into your saucepan. Add the two cups of sugar and the juice from one lemon. (You can squeeze the lemon by hand.)

5. Turn the stove on medium heat and boil the mixture for 30-45 minutes. Stir this often—you don’t want the jam to burn to the bottom of the pan! As you’re stirring, a strange pink foam will form on top of your jam. It tastes delicious, but you don’t want that in your jam, ’cause then it won’t be gorgeously translucent. Use a spoon to continually scoop the foam off the surface of the boiling jam, flinging it into the sink. (This is always strangely satisfying.)

6. While you’re stirring and skimming foam, wash your glass jars and lids. Fill your big stew pot with water almost to the top. Put the stove flame on high, drop your jars and lids into the water, and boil them for 10 minutes in a rolling boil. This is so we can sterilize the jars, keeping nasty things like mold from spoiling your jam.

7. You’ll know the jam is nearly ready when the color changes from light pink to a rich, deep red and the boiling noises start to sound a little…different. Instead of the wet noise of strawberry juice boiling, you’ll start to hear the jam go “blorp” and “pop.” The jam is getting thicker and losing liquid, so it’s making grosser noises. Keep stirring!

The jam is done when it’s a little more runny than you think jam should be. It’ll be slightly thinner than jam from a store—still a liquid, still pourable. We’re going to put it in the fridge later and it will set and thicken, so don’t worry.

10. Carefully take the jars out of the boiling water. Don’t touch the inside of the jars or the inside of the lids, that’s how bacteria/mold gets in! You can dump out the water into the sink and wait for the sides of the jar to be cool enough to grab and lift out, use tongs, or use a clean, folded paper towel to handle. And pour the hot jam into the jars. Fill them almost completely up to the top. Leave about a half-inch of room.

11. Put the lids on really, really tight, then flip the jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel for 10 minutes. This seals them.

After 10 minutes, put the jam jars in the refrigerator, right-side up. Your jam is ready when it’s cold, and you are going to freak out because it’s so delicious! Note: this jam will keep for about two weeks in your fridge. It will not keep on a shelf, unrefrigerated, like regular jam. We are only making fresh jam to eat, not preserving it for the winter, which is a more involved process.

Once you’ve got jam-makin’ down pat, you can screw around with the ingredients: mess with the sugar levels, add a box of blackberries, put in a bag of blenderized frozen mango slices (my favorite), add three sprigs of fresh lavender, shred up some fresh basil…you get the idea.

Get ready for the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of your life, you guys. Also: this jam is AMAZING on ice cream. There are really no words. But there are pictures.

My personal taste-testers. Clockwise from top: Jen, Kelly, and Ellen.

49 Comments

  • mayaautumn June 8th, 2012 7:08 PM

    woahwoahwoah. it looks so yum + fun + scrum :)

    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  • chasen June 8th, 2012 7:26 PM

    This is the BEST. My mother used to make strawberry jam for us and it was my favourite thing in the world (and the only thing I could ever handle putting on toast). Now I can make a whole bunch of jars for her and surprise her with them! Thank you!

  • Claire June 8th, 2012 7:29 PM

    This looks awesome. And it reminds me of when I was little and my dad discovered there were grapes in the alley behind our house – we crept out one night with flashlights to pick them, and then we made about a zillion jars of mediocre jam. Oh, memories…haha

  • Moxx June 8th, 2012 7:33 PM

    GLORIOUS!

    ;^;

  • KinuKinu June 8th, 2012 8:01 PM

    YUMMY,My mom is gonna love this. Can’t wait!!

  • Mona V June 8th, 2012 8:05 PM

    I love making jam too! It’s so satisfying to make things like that yourself. And it’s particularly handy with dumpster-dived fruits that need to be used… Thanks for sharing the love of jam making!

    Mona

    http://anoceaninthecity.tumblr.com/

  • katrinaexplainsitall June 8th, 2012 8:16 PM

    OH MY GOD. I’m totally making this over the summer. n___n

    http://www.katrinaspice.blogspot.com

  • MissKnowItAll June 8th, 2012 8:18 PM

    om nom nom…

  • Megann16 June 8th, 2012 8:39 PM

    YUMMMMMMM!

    Thanks! I was Literally just thinking about making jam yesterday which i have never considered before in my life and then THIS!? Literally the whole Rookie community are brain twins.

  • anisarose June 8th, 2012 9:42 PM

    That’s most adorable/perfect for summer tutorial!! And I love that Rookie articles are always all over the place.

    http://anisarose.blogspot.com/

  • Claudia June 8th, 2012 11:29 PM

    Interesting! Sounds really good! I’ll have to try this :)

  • Adrienne June 9th, 2012 12:27 AM

    YUMM. This looks so good, oh god jam is my jam… haha..

    http://theaverageasiangirl.blogspot.com

  • bronny June 9th, 2012 1:01 AM

    Yum! I made strawberry jam as Christmas gifts last year and everybody loved it. Homemade strawberry jam on homemade scones with whipped cream = seriously amazing.

  • eireann June 9th, 2012 1:10 AM

    Rookie :) Such brain twins right now…this will be happening soon! Thanks for being awesome.

  • marit June 9th, 2012 1:42 AM

    YUM. i agree this would make a great gift… i can’t wait to try it sometime!

    faux style.

  • Susann June 9th, 2012 2:22 AM

    That’s really great! I can imagine that being a nice gift!

    Fashion in Pepperland

  • gloomyflamingo June 9th, 2012 2:53 AM

    I’d recommend not blending the strawberrries and just cutting them up. That leaves you with delightful chunks of fruit later in the jam.

  • GlowintheDark June 9th, 2012 6:14 AM

    This is so cool. :D I always imagined that jam is hard to make, so thanks!

  • katiecustard June 9th, 2012 8:07 AM

    If you have any scrap material at home you can make cute little jam pot covers too! Just cut a circle out slightly bigger then the lid of the jar and tie it on with a ribbon.

    I bet your strawberry jam would be amazing with scones and whipped cream. Perfect for a little english tea party :D

  • maddy417 June 9th, 2012 11:37 AM

    i have to try this! this looks so good. homemade jam is the BEST. thanks for the recipe!

    faux style.

  • Eliza June 9th, 2012 12:40 PM

    Can we follow this same method for making other fruit jams? Thanks!

    • Krista June 10th, 2012 8:01 PM

      You totally can!! It works beautifully with peaches, pears, cranberries, apricots, blueberries, raspberries – you name it!

  • maddzwx June 9th, 2012 4:37 PM

    Can’t wait to do this! Perfect summer day activity!

  • katiebell929929 June 9th, 2012 4:39 PM

    This looks so yummy!!! Can’t wait to try this! Jam + croissants = AMAZINGNESS

    http://www.fallingintofashion.wordpress.com

  • Skelett June 10th, 2012 4:14 AM

    I’m a rookie cook myself but I think I will attempt this! The truly great thing about jam is that even though it does take a while to make it lasts FOREVER.

    • Anaheed June 10th, 2012 11:19 AM

      Be careful — this isn’t the kind you can keep forever!

      • Skelett June 11th, 2012 5:07 AM

        Ah, I see- all the more reason to use it all straight away then!

  • cherrywhip June 10th, 2012 7:01 AM

    This is a pretty different recipe to how most people in the UK make jam. Is it common for jam in the US to not be set?

    When I make jam I use equal quantities sugar and fruit, I just use chopped strawberries and I boil it until it sets when a small amount it dropped on a cold saucer.

    • Anaheed June 10th, 2012 11:20 AM

      We do it that way too — Krista’s way is just a faster, easier way, and the jam has to be refrigerated and doesn’t last very long!

  • Mariana June 10th, 2012 2:41 PM

    It seems so tasty!!! I’ll definitely try it when I finish my diet.

  • Yani June 11th, 2012 2:22 AM

    oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! looks delicious on ice cream ! : ) great tutorial. it is pretty different from how I make jam too.

    I have a question. do americans now call jelly, jam? or is jam, jelly? I don’t get it. at all. what are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? using jam or jelly? and what is jelly?

    thanks for the answer in advance :)

    oh I also want to say that putting hot jam in the fridge raises the fridge’s temperature and makes it work harder to cool down (wears down fridge/wasteful of power). I usually wait a an hr-a couple hrs before putting it into colder slumbers. some ppl put the jam into ice cold water.

    this also looks like it could go into jam doughnuts mmm.

    • poppunkgurrrlx June 19th, 2012 8:36 PM

      hi =) i’m not entirely sure if i’m right, but i think that jam is a bit easier to spread and in jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit (and is less stiff than jelly as a result). In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice. PB&J sandwiches are just that–two slices of bread with peanut butter and jelly on them :) but you can also use jam instead of jelly if you prefer it!

  • Ingi June 11th, 2012 5:20 AM

    This looks like really tasty jam! We make “jam” at home, but we just chop a bunch of strawberries (and clean them) and stir them together with the same amount of sugar as strawberries, really jummy:)

  • alesssurprise June 11th, 2012 1:53 PM

    i’d love to try to make it :D

  • Abby June 12th, 2012 4:38 PM

    OMG. I made it, and it was DELICIOUS. Seriously. Best thing EVER. But I think I’m going to double the recipe next time, because it wasn’t as much as I would’ve liked (it’s that good lol). Thank you so much for the easy and delicious recipe!! I think I’m going to start making this for gifts!

    • Abby June 13th, 2012 2:38 PM

      I also put in on some ice cream. She’s right, you guys… there are NO WORDS.

  • zoe16 June 14th, 2012 9:13 PM

    I loved this recipe! My mom told me to ix in pectin to make it thicker and “jelly-ier”. I used sure-jell and it worked pretty well. Tonight I am going to try it on ice-cream!

  • beesknees June 14th, 2012 11:32 PM

    This recipe is so superb! Thank you so much!

    But instead of scooping the pink foam into the sink, I collected it in a bowl and used it to make delightfully sweet strawberry milk. It’s just a little less wasteful and tastes marvelous.

  • danny13 June 26th, 2012 4:00 PM

    Omg this jam is so delicious… maybe its nasty but I saved the foam yuhr supose to throw out and put it on bread it tastes delicious² thank you sooo much

  • definitelynotpatty July 5th, 2012 9:10 PM

    That’s so down! I hope to try this soon. :)

  • annadee August 7th, 2012 1:48 AM

    I work for a lady who made her own strawberry jam and if you pick them at the perfect time you dont even need sugar :) Just strawberries plus a bit of pectin! But I’d love to try this recipe anyway :3

  • matwell0927 September 24th, 2012 7:16 PM

    I just love jam I just want to know why British people Just HAVE to have TEA at 4 O’clock!!

  • Andrea Greene April 5th, 2013 6:15 PM

    This jam is fun and delicious! I am in love! :)

  • crystal clark-bennett April 9th, 2013 9:37 AM

    How long does the jam last before it goes bad? I only made one pound’s worth but it’s my first time making it so I wanted to see what the shelf life would be. FYI–this jam is amazing! i have received raves about it!

  • Margo Kidd May 13th, 2013 3:11 PM

    Any idea how long this lasts in the fridge? And do you know if you could can it using a water bath for it to be shelf stable?

  • comedic1 May 30th, 2013 9:33 PM

    If you add a tablespoon of butter you won’t have to skim the foam.

  • SparklePuggle June 7th, 2013 11:17 PM

    I’m allergic to lemon. Do you know of anything that could be substituted for the lemon?

  • jeneralities June 21st, 2013 1:34 PM

    Toss the foam?!? I don’t remember many of the details from helping my mom make jam as a kid, but I do remember that she saved the foam as the to-eat stuff — she just put it in a container in the fridge and it was gone within a day or two (fresh warm homemade bread with fresh homemade jam is one of the best things I have ever tasted!). She canned the rest but the foam was just as yummy.

  • Bink123 June 23rd, 2013 11:07 AM

    After the jars are cooled, can they be put into the freezer? (Very much a rookie here!)