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Basic No-Pectin Berry Jam

Nathan Congleton / TODAY


  • 1 pound fresh organic berries (about 5 cups) such as strawberries, blueberries or blackberries (or a mix of them)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chef notes

    This simple, no-pectin jam recipe can be made with your favorite berries or even a combination. Made with simple ingredients you already likely have at home; you can enjoy fresh homemade jam in less than an hour from start to finish. This small-batch jam is meant for short term storage and should be kept in a refrigerator and consumed within 3 months (sealed) or 2 weeks (once jars are opened).

    Technique tip: Add flavor to your jam by adding in vanilla bean seeds, simmering the fruit with a cinnamon stick or even a pinch of chile flakes.

    Swap option: Though a great way to preserve fresh summer berries, you can also make this recipe with frozen berries off season.

    Special equipment: Mason jars with lids and rings (about 16 ounces total; use your preferred jar sizes).



    Rinse berries. Hull and halve strawberries (if using).


    Place a small ceramic plate in the freezer.


    Combine the prepped berries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a large heavy-bottom saucepan. Mix well, then use a fork or potato masher to mash slightly. Let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has started to release its natural juices.


    Place saucepan over medium heat and bring up to a boil, stirring frequently, until the fruit has broken down and the mixture has reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes.


    Test the jam for doneness by placing a small spoonful of jam onto the frozen plate and tilting the plate. If the jam thickens and holds, it's ready. If it still remains thin and runs, allow the jam to cook an additional 5 minutes or until it reaches your preferred texture.


    Once ready, transfer into sterilized Mason jar(s) and cool to room temperature. Seal and store in refrigerator or freezer. Once open, use jam within 2 weeks.