THE Best Strawberry Jam I’ve Ever Made

Posted by Wooly Dragon on

Over the years, I have endeavored to make jams & jellies; preferably with ingredients from my own garden, but also with store bought. For instance, I bought some watermelon juice at the grocery store and made some jelly with it. It definitely tastes good, but I didn’t add enough pectin. I will be able to rectify that issue by emptying all of the jars back into my jelly/jam pot and adding more pectin to it. I keep waiting for a cooler day for this, but somehow Mother Nature went from pre-heat to full blown broiler mode this summer in east Tennessee. If this doesn't work, I should be able to make some awesome watermelon margaritas with it.

Luckily, I WAS able to make some fabulous strawberry jam earlier this year and I can safely say, it was the best I’ve tasted in years. The fact that I made it in no way factors into that claim! <grin>

I was grocery shopping and noticed that the store had strawberries for sale in gallon containers and they were grown locally (~60 miles away) in Fort Blackmore, VA. I bought a bucket and went home to make some jam.

First of all, they were really good strawberries. Nothing beats home grown ones, but these actually tasted like real strawberries; not the strawberry-adjacent flavor that most factory-farmed ones seem to have. Just like tomatoes, store bought strawberries tend to taste like disappointment! After nibbling on a few…okay, 12, I started the jam making.

I gathered the jars, washed & sterilized them, along with the necessary lids & rings. I pulled the ole Weck water bath canner out of storage and got it fired up aka heating. Then I gathered my ingredients. The recipe I followed is from the Better Homes & Gardens: Can It! book (2012). I was going to post the link for it on Amazon here, but it may be out of print now. If you can find it, I highly recommend it. 

Here is the recipe I followed:


3 quarts (12 cups) of strawberries

1 pack of pectin (1.75 oz dry)

1/2 t butter

7 cups of sugar

1/2 C of ginger ale


The recipe calls for mashing the berries with a potato masher; I used a food processor. The goal is to have 5 cups of mashed berries for the recipe.

Place the crushed berries, the pectin & the butter into an 8 quart heavy pot and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add the sugar all at once. Let it come back to a boil, stirring constantly. 

Once it has boiled hard for a full minute, remove the pot from the heat and skim off any foam. Add the ginger ale and stir in thoroughly.

Ladle the jam into prepared jars; I used 8 oz jars. The recipe says it should yield 10 jars (8 oz.). I think I ended up with 8. 

Leave a 1/4” headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars, cover with lids and screw on the lid rings to finger tight.

Process the jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. (If you live at a high altitude, check for the timing that works for your area.) Remove the jars (safely) from the water bath and place them on a towel draped surface (kitchen counter, table). Allow them to come to room temperature and check that the lids sealed (listen for those pops as the jars cool and check that the center of the lid is an innie, not an outie. 

Since this is not a complete lesson on the canning process, if you are new to canning I would advise you to read a book on canning, watch a few canning videos on YouTube and/or take a class at your county Extension office.

I had a little bit of jam left in the pot, so I put it into a 4 oz. jar and placed it in the refrigerator. Of course, I had to sample some before I put in the fridge and was delighted with the results. I didn’t taste the ginger ale, but the jam did have a little something more than just a strawberry flavor. I was also surprised that it had a more jelly-like consistency than most strawberry jams usually have. Maybe because I used the food processor, instead of just mashing them?

Murphy’s Law:

After my triumphant results, I wanted to make more. I went back to the store the next week and….no gallon containers from Virginia. Just the usual flavor-less offerings from California & Florida. Boo!

My goal for next year will be to suss out a local pick-your-own (PYO) farm and buy copious quantities of strawberries, probably freezing most of the berries so I can take my time making the jam…

Or allow my existing strawberry plants to multiply and use my own fruit. This idea is problematic because the birds have been using my garden as their own PYO produce stand. But that’s a problem for another day…

I may also try to make the jam more ginger-y by either adding more ginger ale (1 cup instead of 1/2 cup) and/or grating some fresh ginger into the jam at the end.

I am also going to keep my eye out for sales on fresh strawberries and frozen ones. I want my strawberry jam year round!




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