Strawberry Jammin

Strawberry Jammin' With The Perfect Strawberry Jam Recipe

Posted by Catherine Seiberling Pond on May 15, 2024

Looking for the perfect strawberry jam recipe to preserve the season's garden or roadside stand harvest? Kentucky farmwife Catherine S. Pond shares her favorite recipe along with strawberry musings and other strawberry preservation tips.

May is strawberry season in Kentucky, a bit later than in the deeper South.

The first image I took on my very first smartphone was one of Joel Wilson’s plump, juicy strawberries. You have not experienced a strawberry until you’ve tasted one like those grown in the acidic Kentucky soil of Wilson's Cedar Point Farm in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

They are sweet and delicious and have spoiled us on ever buying imports from elsewhere. Like heirloom tomatoes, the best strawberries are not made for travel.

Every year we buy them by the gallon — for about a month or more — and put plenty in the freezer. And I'd say we can easily eat a good quart in the car on the way home, and their stand is only five miles from our farm!


Here’s the great news. For such a sweet and delicious treat, strawberries are loaded with great health benefits

  • They are low-glycemic, despite their sweetness;
  • They are full of fiber;
  • Just eight medium strawberries provide 160% of your daily recommended dose of Vitamin C;
  • They boost brain function and can reduce cognitive decline.
So if you binge eat them fresh like I do, in season, you are doing yourself a wonderful favor! 

For more on the health benefits of the strawberry, visit the Cleveland Clinic’s “Health Essentials” blog.

Strawberry Preservation Tips

When I put the berries up, I don't actually hull them: I just carefully remove the tops with my trusty serrated paring knife, as close to the leaves as I can get.

NOTE: strawberry tops make a nice treat for chickens if you have them. You can also add them to water to create a spa-like, naturally strawberry-flavored water.

Aside from eating strawberries fresh in a salad, in yogurt, or a smoothie or just by the handful, freezing them is one of the easiest things you can do to preserve their flavor and enjoyment year-round.

Strawberry jam is also easy to make — and jars of homemade jam make wonderful gifts.

The trick is to make jam in small batches. This recipe also has the classic 1:1 sugar ratio, which is standard for jam-making. Don't skimp on the amount of sugar, as tempting as it is, because you need it to set the jam.

 I often turn to my well-worn editions of The Joy of Cooking whenever I need an easy, tried and true recipe.

I would say that this "Red Red Strawberry Jam" is foolproof. I tend to use small to medium berries so they preserve whole, but you can also mash them up a bit to release some of the juices (or all). The addition of the lemon juice freshens and enhances the flavor. You can also steep a vanilla bean in with the jam while you are heating it.


Red Red Strawberry Jam [from The Joy of Cooking — 6th edition: 1975] 


  •     1 quart small to medium berries (cleaned, *hulled, and dried)
  •     4 cups sugar
  •     Juice of ½ lemon (optional, but enhances flavor)

*NOTE: in my kitchen, hulling is optional, but you don’t need to with fresh, local berries.

How To Make:

Step 1

Put berries in a 10” heavy pot (I used enameled cast iron) and cover with sugar.

Step 2

Stir gently with a wooden spoon (not sure why it has to be wooden, but I'm not about to argue!) over low heat until it starts to juice up. From mixing to juicy should take a few minutes.

Step 3

Once it reaches the juice stage (after the sugar melts), set heat to moderate, stop stirring, and cook until it is nice and bubbly.

Step 4 

When the mixture reaches a full "bubbling mass," set timer for exactly 15 minutes (17 if the berries are really ripe) and leave on moderate heat. Leave the pot uncovered and do not disturb it. You may run your wooden spoon back and forth across the bottom to make sure it is not sticking (another reason why a good heavy pan is helpful).

Step 5

After the timer goes off, turn off the burner and set the pan aside to cool. The jam should now coat your spoon while it is still hot. Add the fresh lemon juice, if desired. Scrape off jammy bits from the side of the pan and stir in gently. Cool.

 Step 6

When cool, stir lightly and pour the mixture into sterilized jars and seal. Can according to canning instructions or store in refrigerator.

 Makes 1 quart (or 2 pints) of luscious strawberry jam.

Strawberries on a favorite sweet biscuit

Check Out The Following Articles For More Recipes And Food Preservation Tips

Happy Strawberry season!

From City Slicker to Self Sufficient eGuide

Catherine Seiberling Pond

Catherine Seiberling Pond writes about home, place, and rural life from her Kentucky ridge farm where her family moved from New England in 2008. She is also marketing coordinator (remote and on site) for the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska and says the combination of vocations and locales is the best of all rural worlds. Find more at

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