This Strawberry Apple Jam is sweet and fruity with just a hint of tartness from the apples and lemon juice. Made without pectin, this easy homemade jam recipe is perfect for using up your summer strawberries.
Intimidated by making your own jam from scratch? Don’t be!
Homemade strawberry jam is a special treat I look forward to every summer. Nothing is more rewarding than harvesting fresh strawberries from the garden and using them to make something delicious.
This strawberry apple jam recipe, in particular, is one of my favorites. Not only is it pectin-free, but it also requires just four ingredients.
Plus, it can be preserved using the water bath canning method (or not, that part is totally optional!)
Today, I’m walking you through how to make the best strawberry apple jam, including which ingredients to use, tips that guarantee it turns out right the first time, and how to preserve it using the water bath canning method.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- No Pectin- This easy strawberry apple jam makes use of the natural pectin found in apples. It’s the perfect recipe for beginners just learning how to make jam.
- Only 4 Ingredients- Just strawberries, apples, sugar, and lemon juice!
- Balanced Flavors- The sweetness of the strawberries is balanced with the tartness of the apples and lemon juice.
- Texture- Keeping the diced apples whole gives this jam a wonderful texture.
- Preservation- If you grow your own strawberries, you know how abundant they can be during the summer. Making and canning jam is a fantastic way to enjoy them beyond the summer season.
- Great for Gifting- Home-preserved jam is a lovely edible gift you can share with family and friends.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Strawberries- Strawberries are typically in season during the late spring and early summer months. For the best-tasting jam, use fresh, in-season strawberries.
- Apples- Tart apple varieties, like Braeburn, McIntosh, or Granny Smith, are good choices because they help balance the sweetness of the strawberries. Additionally, apples are naturally pectin-rich, which helps the jam set.
- Sugar- Sugar not only sweetens the jam but also acts as a preservative and helps it set.
- Lemon Juice- Opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor. Lemon juice is essential for balancing the sweetness of the jam as well as helping the jam set properly.
🌱 Sustainability Tip: Grow your own strawberries or seek out locally-grown strawberries at the farmers’ market to reduce the environmental impact of food transportation.
How to Clean Strawberries
To clean strawberries using vinegar, start by mixing 2 cups of water with ½ cup of distilled white vinegar in a bowl. Submerge the strawberries in the mixture and let them soak for 20 minutes. This solution helps remove any pesticides or residue.
After soaking, give them a thorough rinse under cold water before using them to make jam.
Substitutions and Variations
- Strawberries- Frozen strawberries can be used in place of fresh strawberries. You can also swap strawberries for different types of berries, such as raspberries or blueberries.
- Apples- Substitute apples with pears for a softer, sweeter alternative.
- Granulated Sugar- I’ve made this jam successfully with both granulated sugar and raw cane sugar. However, I can’t speak on using honey, maple syrup, or any other sweetener.
- Lemon Juice- Replace lemon juice with orange juice, lime juice, or apple cider vinegar.
- Reduced Sugar- Feel free to reduce the sugar if you prefer a less sweet jam. However, since this recipe is already lower in sugar, reducing it further may decrease its shelf-life.
- Mixed Berries- Swap one pound of strawberries for one pound of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cherries.
- Spiced- Add spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg, to give this jam a warmly spiced flavor.
- Vanilla- A splash of vanilla extract or some vanilla beans can add an aromatic warmth to the jam.
- Lemon Zest- Add a bit of lemon zest to give the jam a brighter, more citrusy flavor.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Large Saucepan- Use a saucepan large enough to accommodate the fruit and prevent it from overflowing during boiling.
- Mason Jars- This recipe makes enough jam to fill two pint-sized mason jars. Be sure to use new lids if you’re planning to can your jam.
- Water Bath Canner- A water bath canner with a rack is ideal for canning because it’s large enough and deep enough to fully submerge the jars.
- Jar Lifters- Jar lifters are essential for safely removing hot jars from the water bath canner.
- Canning Funnel- While not necessary, a canning funnel makes it easier to fill the jars without making a mess.
- Thermometer- Using a thermometer to watch the temperature of the jam ensures it reaches its proper setting temperature.
How to Make Strawberry Apple Jam
Here is how to make strawberry jam with apples.
Step 1: Prepare the fruit. Start by cleaning and preparing your strawberries. Remove the stems and dice them into small pieces. Similarly, peel and dice the apples into ¼-inch cubes.
Step 2: Mash the strawberries. In a large saucepan, combine the diced strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Over low heat, dissolve the sugar while gently mashing the strawberries with a wooden spoon or potato masher. This helps release their juices.
Step 3: Add the apples. Once the strawberries are well-mashed and the sugar is dissolved, add the diced apples. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil.
Step 4: Cook the jam. Allow the mixture to boil, stirring frequently. Use a thermometer to check for the setting point temperature of 220°F (104°C). If you don't have a thermometer, check if the jam easily coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat. The jam will continue to set up as it cools.
Note: At this stage, you can store your jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
How to Know if Your Jam is Set
There are several methods to determine if the jam has reached its setting point:
- Thermometer- Use a food thermometer to monitor the jam's temperature. It should reach 220°F (104°C) for optimal set.
- Spoon Test- Dip a cold metal spoon into the hot jam. If the jam forms a gel-like consistency and easily coats the spoon, it's ready.
- Plate/Wrinkle Test- Place a small amount of hot jam on a chilled plate. Allow it to cool slightly, then push it with your finger. If it wrinkles and forms a skin, it's set.
Water Bath Canning
Here is how to preserve your apple strawberry jam using the water bath canning method.
Step 1: Sterilize the jars. Place two pint-sized mason jars in a large stockpot or water bath canner. If you don't have a canning rack, use a clean kitchen towel to prevent the jars from touching the bottom. Ensure the jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Fill the jars. Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars and place them on a clean kitchen towel. Fill the jars with the finished strawberry apple jam, leaving ½ inch of space at the top. If you don't have a canning funnel, wipe away any residue on the jar mouth before sealing.
Step 3: Boil the prepared jars. Secure the lids onto your jars and place them back in the hot water bath, ensuring they're covered by 1-2 inches of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Let the jars boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Step 4: Cool completely. After 5 minutes, remove the jars from the hot water and place on a kitchen towel. Allow them to cool, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours. You should hear a popping sound from each jar, indicating a successful seal.
Strawberry Apple Jam (Video)
Tips for Success
- Always follow proper canning guidelines. Whenever you're preserving your own food, always follow proper canning guidelines to limit the growth of harmful bacteria and ensure it's safe to eat.
- Dice the apples small. Dicing the apples into small, uniform pieces (about ¼ inch) ensures they cook through and blend well into the jam.
- Use a large saucepan. Choose a larger saucepan than you think you’ll need to prevent the jam from spilling over while boiling.
- Stir frequently. Keep a close eye on the jam as it boils and stir it frequently to prevent the sugar from burning.
- Sterilize the jars properly. Ensure jars and lids are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to prevent contamination and extend the jam's shelf life.
- Keep safety in mind. Always handle hot jars, lids, and jam with caution. Use jar lifters or oven mitts to prevent burns.
- Label and date. Don't forget to label your jars with the contents and date so you know when to use them up by.
- Runny/Not Set- If your jam is too thin, it may not have reached the proper setting point during cooking. Continue cooking the jam until it reaches 220°F (104°C).
- Too Thick- If your jam is too thick, it may have been cooked for too long or at too high a temperature. Try adding a bit of water to thin slightly.
- Grainy Texture- A grainy texture indicates that the sugar likely crystallized. To prevent this, make sure that the sugar is fully dissolved before bringing the jam to a boil.
- Jars Didn’t Seal- If jars don't seal, you can reprocess them or store the unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use them within a few months.
What to Serve with Strawberry Apple Jam
Strawberry apple jam is more than just a breakfast spread. From yogurt to meat marinades, this homemade jam can add a little sweetness to a variety of dishes.
Like most jams, this strawberry jam with apples pairs well with all of your favorite breakfast foods. Some of my favorites include sourdough bread, zucchini carrot muffins, strawberry zucchini bread, pancakes or waffles, and French toast casserole.
Finally, transform this strawberry and apple jam into another condiment, such as a marinade, glaze, salad dressing, or dipping sauce.
How to Store
- Room Temperature (Canned)- If your jam is properly sealed, it will last up to 12 months in a cool, dark place. Once opened, it will need to be stored in the refrigerator.
- Refrigerator (Not Canned)- Store opened jam or jam that wasn’t canned in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
- Freezer- Freezing is another long-term storage option. Use a wide-mouth mason jar or freezer-safe container to store jam for up to 12 months.
🎁 Edible Gift Idea: This homemade strawberry apple jam without pectin makes a thoughtful and delicious edible gift for loved ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you can reduce the sugar, keep in mind that it may affect the jam's texture and shelf life. Consider using a low-sugar or no-sugar pectin if you're looking to reduce the sugar content.
Strawberries are naturally low in pectin and don’t set up well on their own. Apples, on the other hand, are naturally high in pectin. The addition of apples in this recipe ensures a well-set jam.
Lemon juice is added to this strawberry apple jam for two reasons: flavor and jelling. The acidity of the lemon juice helps to balance the sweetness of the sugar. Additionally, acid helps the pectin set up properly.
I love using Braeburn, McIntosh, and Granny Smith apples in this jam because their tart flavor balances out the sweetness of the s strawberries and sugar.
Strawberry Apple Jam
- 2 pounds strawberries
- 2 medium apples
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Make the Strawberry Apple Jam
- Start by cleaning and preparing your strawberries. Remove the stems and dice them into small pieces. Similarly, peel and dice the apples into ¼-inch cubes.
- In a large saucepan, combine the diced strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Over low heat, dissolve the sugar while gently mashing the strawberries with a wooden spoon or potato masher. This helps release their juices.2 pounds strawberries, 3 cups granulated sugar, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- Once the strawberries are well-mashed and the sugar is dissolved, add the diced apples. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil.2 medium apples
- Allow the mixture to boil, stirring frequently. Use a thermometer to check for the setting point temperature of 220°F (104°C). If you don't have a thermometer, check if the jam easily coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat. The jam will continue to set up as it cools.Note: At this stage, you can store your jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Water Bath Canning (optional)
- Place two pint-sized mason jars in a large stockpot or water bath canner. If you don't have a canning rack, use a clean kitchen towel to prevent the jars from touching the bottom. Ensure the jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes.
- Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars and place them on a clean kitchen towel. Fill the jars with the finished strawberry apple jam, leaving ½ inch of space at the top. If you don't have a canning funnel, wipe away any residue on the jar mouth before sealing.
- Secure the lids onto your jars and place them back in the hot water bath, ensuring they're covered by 1-2 inches of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Let the jars boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- After 5 minutes, remove the jars from the hot water and place on a kitchen towel. Allow them to cool, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours. You should hear a popping sound from each jar, indicating a successful seal.
- Quick Tip: Make sure the saucepan or pot you choose to use is large enough to accommodate all of the fruit, liquid, and foam that forms while the mixture is at a steady boil. I always recommend using a larger pot than you think you’ll need.
- Storage: Water bath canned jam can be stored for 12-18 months at room temperature, as long as it remains sealed. Once opened, the jam can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or in the freezer for up to 12 months. Don't forget to date your jars!