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Homemade Strawberry Jam Without Pectin

Homemade Strawberry Jam made with only 3 ingredients and without any pectin.
You can’t beat a good Homemade Strawberry Jam, it’s so much better than any store bought.
All you need are fresh juicy strawberries, lemon juice and a bag of sugar. Making Strawberry Jam couldn’t be easier !

From a cooking perspective, I’ve been really fortunate since setting up our Kitchen Shed. I’ve had time to experiment with all sorts of recipes, in particular my love for making jams and chutneys. I’ve enjoyed working on requests for particular jams and it’s been great meeting people at food fairs around our neck of the woods in Brittany.

Why Homemade Strawberry Jam without pectin ? Even though strawberries are low in pectin, I’ve used lemon juice to boost gel formation instead of adding commercial pectin. Besides aiding the jam’s set, lemon brings out the full flavour of the strawberries and balances out the sweetness.

Jars of fruit preserve with fresh strawberries.


In under 30 minutes, you can have 4 jars of Homemade Strawberry Jam done and dusted. This includes fruit preparation, weighing out ingredients and potting up.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with the amount of lemon juice to use. Too little and your jam won’t set but use too much and you’ll get a strawberry and lemon jam that still might not set.
This strawberry jam is a softer set than you’d get if you were to use pectin but we love it. And so did our customers, English and French alike. We even had people saying this was the best strawberry jam ever !

Jars of jam with fresh strawberries and a jam topped scone.

Try some on homemade scones with clotted cream or simply on a slice of crusty bread and butter.

Each year I always looked forward to our strawberries ripening. We started our strawberry plot with just 6 Gariguette strawberry plants and eventually we had 3 plots. This year we aren’t in France for the summer so I’ve bought a tray of beautiful British strawberries.

What equipment do I need ?

  • Preserving pan – nice and wide so liquid can evaporate and your jam can set. If you make a lot of jams and chutneys it’s worth investing in a good solid preserving pan. I use an 8.5 litre Penguin Home Professional pan.
  • A couple of tea plates or saucers placed in the fridge before you start making the jam.
  • A jam funnel – definitely something I wouldn’t be without as it saves a lot of mess and waste.
  • Sterilised jam jars – at least 4 x 350g jars with lids.
  • Jam thermometer – a quick and easy way to check the setting point of jam, it should be around 104C / 220F.

How to sterilise jars

Clean jam jars placed in the microwave to sterilise.

Sterilise your jars shortly before they are to be used. This minimises the time in which the jars might pick up new bacteria and ruin your strawberry jam. Make sure your jars are dry when you come to fill them.
I like to sterilise jam jars in the microwave. Simply clean your jars as normal and rinse but whilst they are wet, pop them in the microwave for two minutes on full power.
Remember the jars will be very hot, so remove with care.
Alternatively, wash jars in the dishwasher on a hot cycle.

What ingredients do I need ?

A bag of sugar with a fresh lemon and a box of fresh strawberries.
  • Strawberries – ripe dry strawberries in season will give the best flavour. Strawberries have very little pectin so it’s better not to use over ripe fruit because it has even less pectin. If anything, you could say, it’s better to use slightly under ripe fruit.
  • Lemon – the juice is used in the recipe to add acid and help the jam set.
  • Sugar – I used granulated sugar.

How To Make Homemade Strawberry Jam Without Pectin

Hulled strawberries in a cutting board with hulls at the side.
  • Prepare your strawberries by hulling and then halving or quartering any large ones.
Cutting strawberries on a chopping board with a knife.
  • Soften your fruit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and stir.
  • Check the sugar has completely dissolved, the syrup should be free of any sugar granules.
  • Add lemon juice – lemon juice is added after the sugar to avoid damaging the pectin formation.
A collage showing strawberries in a pan, adding sugar to the pan, adding lemon juice to cooked strawberries.
  • Bring to a gentle rolling boil and cook until setting point. The surface of the jam should be covered with tiny bubbles.
  • Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up too high as your jam might catch and burn on the bottom.Setting point is reached when the jam thermometer reaches 104℃ or 220F.I also like use the wrinkle test to check for a good set.
  • Remove your pan from the heat and drop a little jam onto a cold saucer. Return the saucer to the fridge for about a minute so the jam cools. Now gently push through the jam with your fingertip – if the jam crinkles, setting point has been reached. Because it is a soft set jam you may not get a crinkle but you can see that the jam doesn’t close the gap.
A collage to show jam boiling in a pan, temperature of 104 C, wrinkle test on a plate and potting up of jam.
  • Leave to settle for about 10 minutes before potting. This will help distribute the strawberries in your jam more evenly.
Pots of jam with a funnel next to a preserving pan.

Strawberry Jam FAQs

Is strawberry jam better with or without pectin?

Better ! So often with added pectin you lose the true strawberry flavour and the texture is affected.
Although strawberries are low in pectin, I’ve used lemon juice to boost gel formation instead of adding commercial pectin.
You get a really nice set with pieces of strawberry suspended in a deliciously smooth jam.

Why is my homemade strawberry jam runny?

The set on Strawberry Jam can sometimes be tricky. A runny jam is often down to one or more of the following:
Too little sugar – sugar plays an important part in setting and preserving jam.
It’s all to do with pectin chains forming to make a gel. Sugar binds to the water leaving the pectin to get on with forming chains.
The usual rule is equal weights of sugar and fruit. If you don’t use enough sugar you can end up with a runny jam.
Too little or too much acid – lemon juice is essential in strawberry jam to help the pectin chains bond. Too little lemon juice and your jam won’t set. But too much lemon juice can damage the pectin, thereby limiting the jam’s set.
The amount of lemon juice in my Strawberry Jam recipe is tried and tested and gives a good set.

Temperature too low – jam needs to be heated to between 104 to 105 ℃ or 220F to achieve setting point. Heat the jam up again and use a jam thermometer to check the temperature.

Why do you add lemon juice to strawberry jam?

Strawberries are low in pectin and acid which are essential for setting jam.
Adding extra acid in the form of lemon juice boosts the gel formation in the jam. It also balances out the sweetness and brings out the flavour in the strawberries. For me, when it comes to preserved food in a jar, there’s nothing worse than a cloyingly sweet jam.

How long will it keep ?

Your Homemade Strawberry Jam will keep for up to a year. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Once opened, refrigerate and use within 4 weeks.

A note on canning and the water bath method

Here in the UK, we don’t generally use the water bath method to make jams and jellies.

Jars and lids are sterilised before filling and once sealed the lids on jars of hot jam form a vacuum seal during cooling. Within the airtight jar, the sugar and acid content is high enough to preserve the jam or jelly.

If you do wish to water bath Strawberry Jam, follow your jar manufacturer’s instructions.

How to use Strawberry Jam

Jar of jam with a loaf of bread in the background and slices of bread, butter and jam.

More Fruit Jam and Jelly Recipes

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Jars of jam with fresh strawberries and a scone topped with jam.
Jars of fruit preserve with fresh strawberries.

Homemade Strawberry Jam Without Pectin

Homemade Strawberry Jam made with only 3 ingredients and without any pectin.
You can't beat a good Homemade Strawberry Jam, it's so much better than any store bought.
All you need are fresh juicy strawberries, lemon juice and a bag of sugar. Making Strawberry Jam couldn’t be easier !
5 from 46 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Jams, Pickles, Chutneys, Sauces, Dips & Spreads
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 68
Calories: 48kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • Preserving pan – I use an 8.5 litre Penguin Home Professional pan.
  • 2 Tea plates or saucers – placed in the fridge before you start making the jam.
  • jam funnel – definitely something I wouldn’t be without as it saves a lot of mess and waste.
  • 4 350 g Sterilised jam jars and lids
  • jam thermometer

Ingredients

  • 1 kg ripe dry strawberries
  • 1 kg granulated sugar
  • 150 ml fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Hull strawberries – halve or quarter large ones.
  • Add strawberries to your preserving pan and cook on a gentle heat for 5 to 10 minutes to soften the fruit. Shake the pan a couple of times to prevent fruit sticking to the pan.
  • Add the sugar, stirring gently to dissolve it.
  • Check the sugar has completely dissolved before increasing the heat to medium.
  • Add lemon juice and stir.
  • Bring to a gentle rolling boil and cook for 12 minutes and test for setting point.
  • Setting point is reached when the jam thermometer reaches 104℃ or 220F.
  • Alternatively, use the wrinkle test: Remove your pan from the heat and test for setting point by dropping a little jam onto a cold saucer, return to the fridge and leave to cool for a minute. Push the jam gently with your fingertip, if the jam crinkles, setting point has been reached. If not, reboil for a couple of minutes and repeat until setting point is reached.
  • Leave to settle for about 10 minutes before pouring into warm, sterilised jars and seal.
  • Store in a cool, dry place out of the sunlight and use within 12 months.

Notes

The recipe makes approximately enough to fill 4 x 350g jars. Serving size is based on one tablespoon (approx 20 g)
Your Homemade Strawberry Jam will keep for up to a year. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Once opened, refrigerate and use within 4 weeks.
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.003g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 0.3mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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Recipe Rating




Kushigalu

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Nothing better than homemade jam. This strawberry jam looks so delicious.

Sarah James

Monday 25th of July 2022

Thanks Kushi.

Andrea

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

What a quick and simple strawberry jam recipe. I had no idea it was this easy. Will be making often.

Sarah James

Monday 25th of July 2022

Thanks Andrea, it is a quick turnaround to get a few jars of strawberry jam made. Happy jam making.

Cara

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

I really loved the texture of this jam - I had no idea how much pectin made a difference. Definitely making it without from now on.

Sarah James

Monday 25th of July 2022

Thanks for getting in touch. Pleased to hear you're happy with your strawberry jam.

Jacqueline Meldrum

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

I love homemade jam and strawberry has to be my favourite too.

Gina

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Wow! Only 3 ingredients! I love easy recipes and strawberry jam is amazing on a hot biscuit!