A few secret ingredients take this basic strawberry jam from great to fabulous. The really is the best strawberry jam!
Canning has become one of my favorite summertime hobbies. Few things feel as rewarding as opening a summery jar of preserved fruits or vegetables in the middle of winter, and for me it is well worth the effort.
I’ve put up all kinds of goodies— marinara sauce, berry syrup, applesauce, pie filling, whole peaches, and of course, jam. Strawberry jam was my first love, the first thing I ever canned. And it’s so easy, I continue to make it every year.
Basic homemade strawberry jam is already better than anything you can buy at the store, but this recipe has a few simple additions that make it shine above all other recipes I’ve tried.
Jam is essentially just fruit and sugar cooked until it’s nice and thick. No other ingredients are needed to produce a great tasting jam. However, I like to add two things to mine to really make it shine— vanilla bean or extract and balsamic vinegar.
Just a little of both makes a big difference. Strawberry jam is no longer a minor supporting character. You’ll find yourself putting it on anything and everything, and you’ll even want to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon.
I know, I’ve been there many times. I put up this batch just last week and already I’ve gone through one whole jar.
Oh darn, I guess I’ll just have to make some more!
baking tip:3 ways to store jam
In the fridge— You can store jam in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 month.
In the freezer— Store jam in a sturdy airtight container in the freezer for several months.
In your pantry— Process jars of jam per instructions below and store in a cool, dark place (like a cupboard or pantry) for up to 1 year. New to canning? Check out my canning tips and resources page.
The Best Strawberry Jam
- 2 pounds strawberries , hulled and sliced (900 grams)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (60 ml) (see Note)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
- 2-3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar , to taste
- 1 vanilla bean , split lengthwise or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
To make the jam:
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Periodically skim foam off of the top.
- After about an hour jam should be thick and drop from a spoon in thick drips. Cook longer if needed.
- Remove vanilla bean pod if you added one, and spoon into desired storage container(s).
To store in fridge:
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
To store in the freezer:
- Store in a sturdy airtight container for up to several months.
To process in a home-canner:
- If canning, fill sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and cover with sterilized lids and rings. Process in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Make sure the water covers the jars completely, and that it is boiling for the entire processing time.
- Let cool to room temperature before removing rings and storing.
- Canned jam will store for up to one year at room temperature.
- If you are planning to process and can this jam, bottled lemon juice is the best option as it has a consistent level of acidity which is needed to preserve the jam. If you are freezing or storing the jam in the refrigerator, you can use freshly squeezed lemon juice if you prefer.
This recipe was originally published June 2012. Photos and recipe have been updated.