Small Batch Strawberry Jam Recipe

This easy to prepare strawberry jam recipe calls for smaller amounts of fruit and sugar. Cooking it in a wide pan speeds up the gelling process, so no pectin is needed. The jam has a soft set, a bright color and a full fruit flavor. It is just right for spooning onto toast or muffins, but may not be stiff enough for a peanut butter sandwich.

See the companion video story: Preserving Food and Friendship.


  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced (about 1½ pint baskets or 4 cups whole berries or 1 pound)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Option: Add a tablespoon or two of diced candied ginger


  1. Chill a small plate or bowl in the freezer or over ice water.
  2. In a 10 or 12-inch wide skillet, bring fruit, sugar, and lemon juice to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly and skimming foam as necessary. Cook about 8-10 minutes, until mixture begins to look syrupy and thickens slightly.
  3. Spoon ½ teaspoon of the hot fruit onto the cold plate and let it rest for 30 seconds. Tip plate to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is thin and runs down side of plate, the gel is too soft. Return skillet to heat and cook jam 1 to 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and repeat test.
  4. Cool jam to room temperature before serving. Because a minimum amount of sugar is used, the jam needs to be refrigerated to prevent mold from forming. Refrigerate 2-3 weeks.
  5. For longer storage, freeze or process hot jam in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.**
  6. **Option: If jars are sterilized (heated in boiling water for 10 minutes) it’s possible to use the inverted method to preserve jam: Pour hot jam into hot sterile jar leaving 1/8 inch head space. Wipe rim and apply prepared lid and ring. Screw ring on firmly. Invert jar and leave for 5 minutes. Turn jar right side up and let cool 12-24 hours. The heat from the jam will destroy mold spores. This method is not foolproof, so if you are preparing a lot of jam, process the jam in a boiling water canner.

Yield: Makes 1-1/2 cups

Recipe by Marjorie Braker, PRESERVE


    • says

      I reached out and asked Marge’s canning partner, Harriet Fasenfest (, and she said you can add balsamic vinegar, but you would forego the lemon. She also added, “You can replace balsamic for lemon juice in jam but not in other things calling for lemon juice like tomatoes because of the required ph that canning tomatoes in a water bath requires. Berries are already high enough in acid so adding balsamic instead of lemon juice is a taste choice and won’t effect the safety. Well, the acid in the balsamic is playing a chemical role in the jam making process but not a safety one. Tomatoes are different. Substituting balsamic for lemon juice for a fruit that sits on the ph fence – like tomatoes do – is not safe IF you intend to can them in a boiling water canner. If you’re going to pressure can them no problem. If you’re going to freeze them, no problem. But then again, if your are doing either of those things you don’t need to add acid at all. “

  1. Karla says

    I made this today and it was wonderful! I used frozen strawberries and had about 5 cups, so I adjusted the sugar and lemon juice accordingly. It took longer to cook but it turned out great! My family all loved it and it will be expected from now on at family meals when I make yeast rolls!

  2. Jennifer says

    Can pectin be used in this recipe for more thickening? if so, how much would you recommend and how? By the way thanks for this fantastic video!

    • says

      Glad you liked it, Jennifer. I’m not the expert here (Marge is), but if you want to use boxed pectin, follow their directions. You might want to eliminate the lemon too, which is a natural pectin. Good luck!

  3. Kate says

    I know this is supposed to be small batch, but does this recipe scale well? Has anyone tried to double or triple it? Thanks!

    • Joel says

      I quadrupled it and had to cook it down for a long time to thicken it .next time I’m going to use one cup less water, and a touch more cinnamon. You should do fine,just have to cook down longer.

  4. says

    It might change the overall flavor a bit, but I think it’s a good idea. Let me know how it worked out for you. Speaking of using what is available, has anyone ever tried using some fresh squeezed orange juice?

  5. Lauren says

    Would there be any difference in using lime juice instead of lemon juice? I live outside the US where lemons aren’t available. Thanks!

    • Crystal says

      I love this recipe small batches are perfect for me. I didn’t have any lemon juice so I used lime juice instead. Turned out great.

  6. treemama says

    thanks for this, i also saw this method in one of my new cookbooks and we are jamming this weekend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *