This small-batch homemade strawberry jam with lemon juice is so quick and easy, anyone can make it. I have made this jam many times now, and each time, it turns out so good, it finishes up in no time at all.
The jam is sweet, just like how all jams are. But the plus point about making your own homemade jam is that you get to adjust the sugar that goes into it and so after many rounds of making this homemade strawberry jam, I have set on the right amount of sugar that makes a really great tasting jam.
This classic strawberry jam is super simple – why would it not be if you only need 3 simple ingredients to make, right? Yes, you read it right, I only used 3 ingredients to make the jam – strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. And since there is no butter required, this makes an excellent vegan strawberry jam too!
What is Pectin?
Most commercially made jams contain a special ingredient called pectin. Pectin is basically a substance that is naturally present in fruits and it is this substance that helps fruit jams and jellies set. The amount of pectin in fruits differs by the type of fruits and the level of ripeness of the fruit. This is why, in commercially made jams and jellies, pectin is added as a stand-alone ingredient to ensure consistency in the jams and jellies.
While there is no harm in adding pectin to your homemade jams, it is not something that everyone would readily have at home unless they are into large scale jam making. And that means a jam recipe that does not require pectin as a stand-alone ingredient is definitely something that most people who want to make their own homemade jams in small batches for personal consumption would find very useful.
Not wanting to use pectin in your jam recipes means there has to be an alternative jelling agent, which is where the lemon juice comes in handy.
Having said that, not all jams require pectin. When making jams with fruits high in pectin, neither the pectin nor the lemon juice is required. In the case of strawberries, however, these fruits do require the help of pectin so since I choose not to use commercially packed pectin, I opted for lemon juice.
How to Make Small Batch Homemade Strawberry Jam Without Pectin
Check out my video full video on how to make your own homemade strawberry jam:
Homemade strawberry jam ingredients
All you need to make this jam are 3 basic ingredients:
- Fresh or frozen strawberries – hulled and cut into small cubes
- White sugar
- Lemon Juice
Choosing and preparing the strawberries
- The process of making this jam starts with getting the strawberries ready. And that means hulling and washing them. In choosing the strawberries, I personally prefer the ones which are not too ripe. That way, the fruits themselves are not too sweet. And when mixed with the sugar in the recipe, the jam does not become overly sweet.
- If you are using frozen strawberries, let them thaw and then drain the liquid before chopping the fruits.
- Next is cutting the fruits. It is a matter of personal preference as to how you wish to cut your strawberries. I like to have chunky strawberries in my jam rather than a smooth jam. So I chose to cut mine by halves (for small ones) and quarters (for the large ones).
Cooking the jam
- Once the fruits are ready, add them into a small saucepan. Since this is a small batch recipe, a small saucepan would suffice. Add the lemon juice in.
- Let the fruits simmer in their own juice over very low heat until they have softened slightly.
How to know if the jam is done?
- Once the strawberries appear soft and mushy in the saucepan, add the sugar. Let the fruits simmer in the sugar until the sugar is all dissolved and the mixture starts to thicken.
- If you are not used to making jams, it can be a little tricky to decide when the jam is really done. This is because the jam, while on the heat can be quite runny. But once it cools down to room temperature, it will thicken noticeably. The best way to deal with this is to get a candy thermometer.
- Clip the thermometer to your saucepan (making sure it is not touching the base). As soon as the temperature reaches 105 degrees Celsius, remove your jam from the heat.
- If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can check if the jam has set by spooning the jam onto a chilled plate. Push the jam with your finger and if the surface of the jam wrinkles, the jam is ready.
- Remove the jam from the heat and let it cool to room temperature before storing.
How to store homemade jams?
- There are 2 ways in which you can store your jams – in the pantry or in the refrigerator. If proper canning process is observed, the jam can be kept out in the pantry. Otherwise, it needs to be refrigerated.
- The canning process is a little too complicated for me, so I always store my jams in glass jars in the refrigerator. This jam can even be frozen, which is why I sometimes refer to my jam as a freezer jam. If stored in the freezer, it needs to be thawed in the fridge before using it.
- But before spooning the jam into the jars, heat them up slightly in your oven. Too much heating can result in cracked jars. So it is important to keep a tab of the jars in the oven.
- Alternatively, place the clean jar in a pot filled with hot water. Let it sit there for a few minutes (make sure the hot water does not get into the jar when doing this). Once the jar is warmed up, pour the jam in. Place the lid on, and store the jam in the refrigerator.
Small Batch Homemade Strawberry Jam Recipe
Here is the full printable version of my homemade strawberry jam recipe:
Small Batch Homemade Strawberry Jam
- 200 g strawberries
- 140 g white sugar
- 5 ml lemon juice
- Wash and hull the strawberries. Weigh the prepared strawberries to 200 grams. Cut them into halves and quarters as you wish.
- Place the cut strawberries into a saucepan and add lemon juice. Let the fruits soften and simmer in their own juice for about 5 minutes, until they have softened.
- Add in the sugar and stir gently over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Continue to simmer the fruits in the sugar syrup until the mixture has thickened slightly. If you are using a thermometer, let the jam boil until it reaches to a temperature of 105 degrees Celsius and remove the pan from the heat.
- If you are not using a thermometer, once you notice the mixture thickening, spoon some onto a chilled saucer and let it cool. Push the cooled jam with your finger. If the surface wrinkles, the jam is ready. If not, continue to simmer a little longer and repeat the test.
- Let the jam cool to room temperature before storing.
- This amount makes about 230 grams of jam.
And that is pretty much my small batch homemade strawberry jam recipe.
Here are my other strawberry based recipes you might want to check out: