Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Light & Runny Strawberry Jam

When I first started making jam many years ago, I was a little confused with the many suggested ways to do jam. Some talked about cooking it until it’s done, some said not to use pectin, the recipes called for too much sugar . . . you get the idea.
Being a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn’t just wing it and have the jam turn out a little different every year. I wanted it to be exactly right … not too sweet, not too hard, not too runny. . . so I've worked on it over the years and got it to where our family likes it, runny enough to use a spoon to spread a scone or fill that little hole on a Zwieback for Sunday Faspa.

  • blender or immersion blender
  • good quality, large stainless steel pot
  • wooden spoon
  • canning funnel
  • clean jars and lids
Suggested amounts of ingredients needed for 24 - 30 cups of jam (12 - 15 pints):
  • 1 15lb flat of strawberries
  • 4 kg sugar (10 lbs)
  • pkgs. Certo light brand pectin OR 4 pkgs (other) regular pectin crystals
  • 4 tsp margarine

Ahead of time:  Wash jars and rings. While  jam is cooking, sterilize jars by heating in a 225 F oven for 10 minutes and keep warm until needed. Heat rubber lids in a small pot of boiling water and keep hot.

Berry Prep: Wash berries before stemming. Crush about 3 cups of berries at a time. With a good blender, pulse for 5 seconds, stopping to shake fruit to the bottom so as not to over-blend OR  fill an ice cream pail - a third full - and use an immersion blender to crush. If berries are very ripe you can use a potato masher. Pureed berries should still be of a thick and slightly chunky consistency. Collect crushed berries in a lard bowl or ice cream pails until done. I usually do this in the evening and refrigerate the berries to cook the next day.  (15 lbs of berries will make 4 batches - or about 30 cups jam)

Measure and set aside seperately:
  • 6 cups mashed berries
  • 4 1/4 c sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Certo light OR 1 pkg regular pectin crystals mixed with ¼ cup sugar
To cook:
  1. Place fruit and pectin crystals mixed with 1/4 c sugar into a large pot. (Pot should only be about 1/3 full.) 
  2. Place over high heat on an element that keeps the most consistent heat,  and stir constantly with wooden spoon, until it comes to a bubbling boil.
  3. Stir in remaining sugar. Continuing to stir, add 1 tsp margarine to keep the foam down and cook until mixture comes to a full, rolling boil again. (you can hear it) Set timer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat down slightly if it splatters too much, but keep the boil. 
  4. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes until clear and shiny. Crush any large floating berry pieces with a fork against the side of the pot if needed. Ladle hot jam into jars until 1/2 inch from rim. Cover with lids and screw rings to seal.

* The jam will be runny until it's completely cooled.
* Important note: Freezing the jam (once it's cooled) keeps it fresher tasting and it’s not necessary to seal the jars. Even keeping sealed jars refrigerated keeps the flavor fresher tasting than just having it sit in the pantry.
* You can freeze blended berries in 6 cup proportions, ready to cook in the winter, but you will need a bit more certo. (I freeze in 9 cup proportions, add 6 cups sugar and 1 pkg pectin with thawed mixture. This makes about 12 small jars)


  1. well, I for one. . thank you for this tutorial. . i have over the years had jam too hard, and then jam too runny, This year, I'm going by the book. . I mean the Mennonite Girls Can Cook book. . .smile. . Thanks Anneliese.

  2. Hi Anneliese, thank you for this recipe, a long time ago when I was not working I picked strawberries by the pail full(13)and made strawberry Sunday Sauce not jam,,, I will have to pick again this year and make jam instead. We all love Faspa, except Jen, and jam and buns are a must.

  3. Hey..this is great! Thanks. I just said to Betty r the other day...I wonder when the jams and pickles will come 'on stream'. These area areas I have NO knowledge or experience in. And just in time too...with strawberries aplenty. Beautiful shots too...wonderful. Thanks Anneliese. You are becoming excellent at these posts. And the jam recipe is going to be a winner! I just know it!

  4. Thank you Anneliese for posting this jam recipe..Trish has been waiting..I was going to post it but there seemed so much to type(hehe) so I'm glad you did!

  5. Oh, I remember the hours making stawberry jam and it not working out.
    Maybe I'll try some again.
    I've been working on making blackberry jam over the last years.
    It's just a nice change.
    But your Havarti cheese and buns and jam? That's a must in any Menno home.

  6. This is definately a must in our how......will you consider sending us some jam to the pararies......smile....ok i won't be lazy..and do it myself. lecker.

  7. i should really check my spelling before i post...oops, sorry

  8. Oh that looks OH so delicious.

    Good thing I still have some of that special US-made Mom jam in my freezer! We will be sure to transfer it in the move this weekend too...can't go without Mom's jam!!!

  9. Hi,
    I just found your blog and happy I did! I must take time to scroll down and take a look at all of your recipes!
    Your strawberry jam looks wonderful! My hubby's mom makes freezer jam ~ love it.
    Your Havarti cheese, buns and jam sounds delish!

  10. Sunday afternoon Vaspas bring back such fond memories. And your jam looks wonderful too. I'm still waiting for my strawberries to ripen up.

  11. hello Trish!!!
    That all looks yummy. Thank you for your commnts. i don't know what I was thinking. When I write my poetry I sort of leave the world if you know what I mean. Well bye.


  12. I always freeze our jam after it's cooled. It really keeps it lovely and fresh - and I have the room in our large freezer.

    Our strawberries are just about ready - I have 7 bags of sugar waiting :)

  13. YUM! My husband likes his cherry preserves sort of runny so he can pour it over his pancakes.

    I hope to get another recipe up this weekend.


  14. Thank you once again. The perfect jam, year after year.

  15. Mennonite guys can cook too:)
    I don't remember my mom ever crushing the berries before cooking...but her jam was a little lumpy..
    I'm gonna try the "mom"...i will let you know....

  16. I wish all these yummy & Delish recipes didn't use so much sugar for the diabetics in my family (myself and my young daughter)

  17. Hi Lynda, I thought I should let you know that you can use equal amount of Splenda instead of regular sugar for a diabetic version. Sugar is needed for thickening and preserving the jam. Be sure to use a light version of pectin (such as certo light), which allows for the less sugar than berries ratio. You can use a whole pkg of pectin for 6 cups mashed berries and lessen the sugar to 4 cups, but I would not go less than that. I hope that helps.