Naturally Sweetened Strawberry Jam.

Just because preserving food in the Deep South has almost no purpose, for some reason, the habit of food preservation just won’t leave me.

But Shaye! There is no need in Lower Alabama! There is delicious, local produce available year round!

I know, self. But I just can’t help myself. What if when November rolls around, girlfriend starts craving strawberries? Or figs?

Plus, let’s face the facts here. 98% of our country isn’t blessed with year-round local produce and goods. Because, ya know, it actually gets cold other places (I know, I know. Hard to imagine.).

So when I was out picking berries last week in super-hot sunshine, sweating all over, and covered in sticky red dirt, I thought about all those cold souls out there in the rest of the country.

I knew I must persevere. And preserve.

For you, my dear friends, a naturally sweetened strawberry jam. The whole cane sugar adds just a the teeniest taste of molasses into the jelly – a delicious depth of sweetness. Get to the back of the line, white sugar. You’ve got no place in my jelly.

Are you ready?

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.


Naturally-Sweetened Fresh Strawberry Jam
You will need:
– 10 pounds freshly picked strawberries, washed and stemmed
– 2 cups (or more, depending on the sweetness of your berries) dehydrated cane sugar, rapadura, or sucanant
Mason jars, lids, and rings (I used about ten jelly jars)
Water canner




Step One: Add the washed and stemmed strawberries into a large pot. Turn head on low and allow the strawberries to heat up slowly. As they begin to warm up, they will begin to sorta “melt”. Use a potato masher to squish them all around into little bits. This step took us about a half an hour (we ignored them, for the most part, while we ate cheese and crackers).


Step Two: After the strawberries are warm, squishy, and resemble jam, add in the cane sugar. Bring to a very low simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Step Three: In the meantime, wash and sterilize your mason jars (use whichever size you wish!) and lids. Bring the water in your water canner up to a boil.

Step Four: When the jars are sterilized, carefully pour the hot jam into the sterilized jars. Wipe off the edge of the jar with a wet rag and add on the lid and ring. Place in the water canner. Repeat with remaining jars.

Step Five: When the water canner is full, submerge the jars into the water bath, making sure there is at least an inch of water above the lids. Put the lid on the water canner, maintaining a boil, and process the jars for 15 minutes.


Step Six: Remove (CAREFULLY!) using of these and place on a towel to seal and cool.

Boom. Bam. KAPOW! That’s how we do strawberry jam, baby.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of super sweet jams. It kills me when I read recipes that are like, “2 cups of berries and 4 cups of sugar, please!”.

And then I’m like, “PEOPLE! Just stick your head in a bin of sugar and chomp away! Why even try and disguise it as jam!”

And then they’re like, “Shaye! We like sugar! Back off!”

And then I’m like, “Fresh strawberries are naturally sweet! Why overpower them?!”

And then they’re like, “Because we want to!”

And then I go tell them to sit in the corner and think about what they’ve done to the poor strawberries.

They’ll come around.

Especially after they eat this naturally-sweetened jam slathered on top of a buttery biscuit.

Dear me.



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  1. An Appetite for Color says

    Yes, it is snowing here in Wyoming today. Thanks for thinking of the rest of us and soaking up all that sunshine and those berries because you can:) Can’t wait to try this jam, I have always wanted to try and make it without all that processed sugar. Thanks!

  2. says

    So simple and sounds delicious! I have never canned before, but I know my mother-in-law uses fruit pectin in her jams. Is it necessary? I’d like to keep canning as simple as possible for when I finally start.

  3. John and Kelli Lane says

    I almost expected you to break out into Beyonce’s Bootylicious with the line, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.” I’m a regular reader, and while I enjoy reading your foodie posts, I find your ‘pun-iness’ hilarious. Keep it comin’, girl. – – kelli

  4. Carrie @ LPOHH says

    Did the bunnies enjoy the berry tops? I love tossing stuff like that to our chickens. I know they eat it up! Your jam looks super good. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Jennifer says

    I made your jam tonight. I’ve canned plenty before, but never jam. It turned our very tasty, but not at all thick. I guess I’ll use it as syrup. Is it supposed to thicken without pectin? Do you think that I did something wrong? Thanks!

  6. Cynthia Lopez says

    Can you use this recipe for other fruits. I want to make grape, apple, pear, plum, and the strawberry. How much strawberries do you need to make 52 pints?

    • says

      It should be fine to substitute other fruits. You will have to play around with the recipes in order to find what works well. I would estimate for 52 pints around 100 pounds.

  7. Barbara says

    I just stumbled across your blog. I am also in the part of the country where we have produce all year around! ( So Cal) I went looking for information on using cane sugar unrefined to make jams. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am blessed that I have access to strawberries from a local organic farm. They have asked me to make jam out of their strawberries. I had commercial pectin left over from making Bearss Lime jelly and thought I would give a try with the strawberries. But like you I am shocked as to how much sugar is used to make jam. Since my berries are picked riped and sweet I want to scale back on the sugar and try your recipe when I get 10 pounds of strawberries from the farm.

    In the meantime, like the person before me, does the mixture firm up without the pectin? What the consistency one should expect with your method? Thanks!

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