Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam

A jar of spring flavors, made the old fashioned way with less sugar and no pectin. Just like in the good ‘ole days.

Yield: 10 Jelly Jars

Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam

canned jars of old fashioned strawberry jam on wood table with strawberries in background

A jar of spring flavors, made the old fashioned way with less sugar and no pectin.


  • 8 cups strawberry puree
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)


  1. Clean and hull your strawberries. You can use your strawberry tops for this delicious syrup! Blend berries until you have 8 cups of puree.
  2. Place puree, sugar and lemon juice into a deep, heavy bottomed pot. Begin heating on medium heat on stove, stirring every few minutes to keep the bottom from burning.
  3. Cook down until the jam reaches 220 degrees F. This is very important. If it does not reach the 220 degree mark, which is the gel point, it will not set up correctly. This will take about an hour. If it starts to foam, toss in a tablespoon or two of butter.
  4. Once the jam reaches 220 degrees, immediately add to clean jars.
  5. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, the freezer for a few months or canned and at room temperature for a year or longer.
  6. To freeze, fill only 3/4 of the way in a jar or container and place in freezer. To can, waterbath for 10 minutes.

Is strawberry jam better with or without pectin?

This is purely preference. Without pectin uses less ingredients and keeps the ingredients very simple. With pectin saves time. It truly depends on what you need and like!

Why add lemon juice when making strawberry jam?

Lemon juice adds the acidity needed to keep home canned items like this old fashioned strawberry jam safe at room temperature. It is for safety measures.

What thickens jam without pectin?

Time and heat! Without pectin, there is not an agent in the jam to thicken it. So cooking it for longer to reach the correct temperature (220 degrees) and cook out any extra liquid is very important when you do not use pectin.

Why add butter when making jam?

Jam foams on the top when heated. This foam can be stirred back in, or skimmed. Stirring it in may make your jam cloudier in color but does not affect the taste or safety of the final product. Butter reduces the foaming and gives the best of both worlds!

What happens if you don’t put lemon juice in jam?

The final products safety when sitting at room temperature could be compromised without the acidity added with the lemon juice.

What did people use before pectin?

Again, time and heat! Pectin just speeds up the process of thickening and isn’t actually necessary when the jam is cooked long enough to reach the proper temperature that allows it to gel up naturally. Apples also have a lot of natural pectin that was and could be used to help thicken any jams.

Should you stir jam while it’s boiling?

Yes! Be very careful because jam reaching these temperatures will burn and hurty you and it does pop. But without stirring, you may have scorched jam on the bottom of your pot. And that would just be sad.

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe