Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Light & Runny Strawberry Jam

When I first started making jam many years ago, I was confused with the many suggested ways to cook (or not to cook) jam. Mom would say to cook until done, some advised not to use pectin, others used  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 new lids
Suggested amounts of ingredients needed for 24 - 30 cups of jam (12 - 15 pints):
  • 1 - 15 pound flat of strawberries
  • 4 kg sugar (10 pounds)
  • packages Certo light brand pectin OR 4 packages regular pectin crystals
  • 4 teaspoons soft 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. Bring rubber lids, covered in water, to boil in a small pot.
Turn off heat but keep lid on to keep them 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 in between 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 large 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 separately:
  • 6 cups mashed berries 
  • 4 1/4 cups sugar, separated
  • 3 tablespoons Certo light (or 1 package 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,  using a wooden spoon, stir almost constantly, until it comes to a bubbling boil.
  3. Stir in remaining 4 cups sugar. Continuing to stir, add 1 teaspoon margarine to keep the foam down and cook until mixture comes to a full, rolling boil again. (you can hear it) Set timer for 3 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 minute or two until clear and shiny. Ladle hot jam into jars (using funnel) to 1/2 inch from rim. Cover with lids and screw rings until just barely tight. Cool completely at room temperature. (24 hours)

* The jam will be a pourable thick liquid while hot, but just barely move when you tilt the cooled jar of jam.  If you find it too runny ( different stoves, pots, pectin, can all have an influence) you can salvage it by pouring it into a large pot, bring to boil and cook two minutes. Next time use an extra tablespoon of pectin or cook 1 minute longer. 
* Important note: Freezing the jam (once it's cooled) keeps it fresh 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, Later add 6 cups sugar and 1 package light pectin (or 1 1/2 pkgs regular pectin)  with thawed mixture. This makes about 12 half pint jars) To cook this proportion you will need an extra large pot. 


  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 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. 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 :)

  12. 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.


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

  14. 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....

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

  16. 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.