Strawberry Jam Days

This is my mom. She worries that people of my generation (and younger) have forgotten or simply did not learn how to make jams and preserves. (She’s right.) About a week ago, on a gorgeous mid-July day, she gave my niece and me a refresher course.

So, in the spirit of keeping jam-making alive, here is my mother’s tried-and-true recipe.

strawberry jam
– Approximately 5-6 cups of strawberries (The amount needed will depend on the size of the berries. Your goal is to have 3 3/4 cups of mashed berries when they are hulled and mashed.)
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 7 cups white sugar
– One packet of liquid Certo or Pectin (Please check the best before date on the box.)

1. Hull (take out the stems) and mash strawberries until you have 3 3/4 cups.
2. Mix strawberries, lemon juice and white sugar. Put ingredients in a large pot on your stove top.
3. Bring to a boil while stirring frequently so that substance doesn’t stick to bottom of pot.
4. Add one packet of liquid Certo. Bring this to a full rolling boil for a minute to 90 seconds. (A full rolling boil occurs when nothing disrupts the boil including your stirring motions with a wooden spoon.)
5. Take pot off stove and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
6. Remove top layer with a spoon and place it in a bowl. This layer will be lighter in colour. (My mom calls this the scum and we always eat it on our toast the week that she makes strawberry jam.)
7. Make sure that your bottles are sterilized with boiling water. Then fill the bottles with your jam.
8. Melt parafin wax in a tin can in a double boiler.
9. Pour enough wax on top of jam to seal it from the air. This layer is quite thin – perhaps half a centimetre.

Makes 5 small bottles of jam.
To make jam with other berries, use 4 cups of mashed berries and leave out the lemon juice.
My grandmother said that you should never make jam when it is raining. (I’m just saying…)

What is the most useful thing that you learned from your mother?


  1. When I was a teenager, my Mom's oldest sister taught me how to make the shortbread recipe that all of the women on my Mom's side of the family make. In December, when on some days I am a mini shortbread factory, the tradition and history and continuity wrapped around that recipe make me feel closer to all of these women – past, present and future… CJ

Leave a Reply