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There’s nothing quite like spreading made-from-scratch jam over a freshly toasted piece of bread. It’s a decadent yet delicate breakfast, leaving you with a fruity satisfaction that fuels the rest of your day. 

But how do you make this spreadable treat? Making homemade jam is actually quite simple and shouldn’t be intimidating for even the most novice home cooks. Here, we’ll map out a step-by-step guide to making jam, with and without pectin, and discuss how to store it properly. 

jam on toast
Toast with strawberry jam sitting deliciously on a cutting board could make anyone’s mouth water.

What Ingredients Do You Need?

Jam is a tasty treat that’s created when pectin from fruit melts down and combines with sugar, transforming its texture to a jelly-like state. But what is pectin? Pectin is a gelatinous substance that occurs naturally in fruit, and it’s also often added to jams to create that thicker texture we all know and love. 

(Side note: Have you ever wondered about the difference between jam vs. preserves? Preserves are chunkier in texture and have pieces of whole fruits in them, while jams only have crushed pieces of fruit.) 

Now, here’s a list of equipment you’ll need to make these satisfying jam recipes: 

  1. Jars with lids that can tolerate high heat
  2. A large mixing bowl
  3. A large pot and spoon for mixing your jam 
  4. A spoon to ladle your jam into the jars
pot of boiling food
Skillshare instructor Kelly Geary stirs a pot of steaming pear jam in her class, Let’s Jam! Making Your Own Small Batch Preserves

Steps to Making Jam of Your Own

Ready to learn how to make jam? First, for all fruit jam recipes, you’ll need to sterilize your jars to make sure that you’re practicing food safety and storing the jam properly. To do this, put the jars (without their lids) on a large cookie sheet, and heat them in the oven at 250℉ for 15-20 minutes. You can do this while you’re making jam—multitasking at its finest.

Note that some fruits have pectin in their skins, and others don’t, so you’ll sometimes need to add commercial pectin to your jam to ensure its thick, spreadable consistency. 

Strawberry Jam 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb strawberries 
  • 1.5 cup sugar 
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice 
  • ½ tsp lemon zest 

Instructions: 

  1. Wash and chop strawberries into bite-size chunks. 
  2. Add strawberries to your pot and mix in the sugar. 
  3. Stir continuously over medium heat and bring the strawberries to a boil.
  4. Once it’s boiling, add the lemon juice and zest.
  5. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until the jam reaches a temperature of 220℉.
  6. Pour into a sterilized jar and allow to cool before storing in the fridge.

Blueberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups blueberries, washed
  • 2 cup sugar 
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 3-oz pouch of liquid pectin 

Instructions: 

  1. Add about ¾ of the blueberries to a pot over medium heat. Mash them as they heat. 
  2. Once boiling, add the additional berries, sugar, and lemon juice. 
  3. Add the pectin and stir constantly until combined.
  4. Carefully pour or spoon the jam into sterilized jars. 

If you’d like to use this recipe without pectin, simply omit the ingredient. This will result in a slightly thinner jam, but it’ll still be tasty and spreadable. 

Peach Jam

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs fresh peaches
  • 1 package of pectin (approx. 1.75 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 cup sugar 
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 

Instructions: 

  1. Remove the skin from the peaches and crush them. 
  2. Add peaches, lemon juice, and pectin to a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Add sugar and cinnamon and bring back to a boil for about a minute. 
  4. Remove from heat and skim any foam off the top. 
  5. Spoon into sterilized jars, seal them, and let them cool before storing in the refrigerator. 

You can also omit the pectin from the recipe for a thinner peach jam.

Blackberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups blackberries
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice 

Instructions: 

  1. Add the blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar to a pot over medium-high heat. Do not overcrowd the pot.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the mixture has a jam-like consistency. 
  3. Remove from heat and spoon into sterilized jars. Allow cooling before storing in the refrigerator. 

If you’d like a more gelatinous jam, try adding 1-2 oz of pectin to the mixture during step one. 

Need a Hand With Your Jam?

Let’s Jam! Making Your Own Small Batch Preserves