Monday, April 29, 2024

Easy Strawberry Jam Without Pectin Canning Recipe

Learn how to make a strawberry jam without pectin canning recipe.  This is easy recipe for beginners, and it can be safely canned or frozen to preserve your jam.  

No Pectin Strawberry Jam Recipe

We go through a lot of strawberry jam.  A lot.  Two of my kids will only eat strawberry jam, and it's my favorite type of jam for toast or bagels.

Since pectin has jumped in price and is now harder to find for me locally, I started making some pectin free strawberry jam.

Pectin can be finicky to work with, especially for beginners.  Strawberries are low in natural pectin, so this no pectin strawberry jam won't set as hard as a recipe made with pectin.

You can preserve your jam by canning it or freezing it for later.  I love freezer jam because it seems to get sweeter as it sits in the freezer.  However, I have more shelf space than freezer space, so we can our jams and jellies.  

For more jam and jelly recipes, check out these posts:

Keep track of your canning journey and favorite recipes with my printable canning journal binder.  Use it year after year and take notes as you make things.

Why Make Strawberry Jam Without Pectin?

Pectin has gotten more expensive, at least in my area.  A box is now $4-5 just to make one batch!  I usually use a low sugar pectin, and that version is even more expensive.

Pectin hasn't been easy to find.  I live in a rural area with a lot of Amish and homesteaders.  Almost everyone cans here, so it's not for lack of buyers.  Making a no pectin strawberry jam lets me make my favorite jam even if I can't find pectin.

Buying pectin in bulk helps cut the cost, but I haven't been able to find a low sugar pectin in bulk.

Pectin can be finicky to work with.  You need to be exact with your measurements or it won't set up right.  

Jams made with pectin get thicker than a pectin free strawberry jam.  I don't mind it for toast, but for using it in dessert recipes I'd rather have a softer jam.  

Can You Make Canned Jam Without Pectin?

Yes, per the USDA, pectin is not needed for a safe canning recipe.  The pH and consistency are fine for canning without the pectin.

Is Strawberry Jam Better With or Without Pectin?

It's personal preference, but I like both versions for different things.  Canned jam with pectin is firmer than no pectin strawberry jam.  

I save the no pectin version for making desserts or mixing with cream cheese for my bagels.

What Thickens Strawberry Jam Without Pectin?

Strawberries are a low pectin food, but they do have some natural pectin.  Pectin is a soluble fiber.  When it's heated and you add acid (lemon juice) and sugar, the pectin fibers form a mesh that holds liquid and keeps the fruit in jams suspended as it cools.

Lemon juice helps pectin work, both when you use a box of pectin or using the natural pectin found in foods.  It lowers the pH, so it allows the natural pectin in the berries to work.

You can also simmer your jam to reduce the water to thicken it.  You'll also be simmering this easy strawberry jam recipe to help thicken it.

You can also try this small batch blackberry jam without pectin for a different flavor.

You can also thicken jam with chia seeds.  Learn how to make chia seed jam from any fruit.  This is not a safe canning recipe, so this is best for a small batch.

Why Use Bottled Lemon Juice?

Normally, I would suggest using fresh lemon juice in my recipes for the taste.  However, for making jams and jellies, you should use bottled lemon juice.

Fresh lemons can vary in how ripe they are and thus the acidity level.  Lemon juice is more consistent in the acid level, so it will give you better results.

Choosing the Best Strawberries

I'll grab berries from the store all year round, but I only use in season berries for canning.  They have a better flavor and will yield a better product. 

I get mine from local strawberry farms.  I want to grow strawberries, but my chickens eat them before I can get to them.  It's on our (long) to do list to try again, but it hasn't happened yet.

Here are more strawberry recipes you can try:

Can Strawberry Jam Be Water Bath Canned?

Yes, you can safely can this pectin free strawberry jam in a water bath.  I am strict about only sharing safe and approved recipes here.  

Here is more information about canning and safety::

How to Make Pectin Free Strawberry Jam

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Makes 2 cups


  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)


Step #1

Wash and hull the strawberries.

Step #2

Place the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a medium sauce pan.  Heat over medium low heat.  Stir regularly.

Step #3

Once the sugar has dissolved, mash the berries into small pieces.  Bring the jam to a low boil and reduce heat.  Let simmer until it reaches the desired thickness.

Step #4

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  You can now store it in the fridge for up to three months or freeze it.  

To can it, fill a jelly jar with 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rim and add a lid and fingertight ring.

Place the jars in a water bath with at least one inch of water covering the jar.  Process for 10 minutes (add 2 minutes per 1.000 feet above sea level).

Once they are done, remove from the water and set on a heat proof surface.  Let cool for 24 hours.  Check the lids to ensure that they sealed.  Remove the rings and label.

I hope you enjoy this easy strawberry jam recipe as much as we do!

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