Strawberry jelly captures the luscious flavor of strawberries in a smooth homemade jelly. Without strawberry seeds, this simple strawberry jelly is flavorful without distractions.
My little ones love all things jam and jelly, especially strawberry preserves. When strawberry season rolls around in Vermont, they’re on duty full time in our strawberry patch picking berries. We plant two main varieties, the standard summer bearing early strawberries and everbearing strawberries.
Unlike June Bearing varieties, everbearing strawberry plants produce berries all summer and into the fall, though they don’t bear huge crops at any one time. Summer-bearing varieties produce big crops all at once in late spring and early summer, enough to pick bucket loads at a time for strawberry preserves off all kinds, including strawberry jelly.
While I love having a huge canning crop all at once, I also love having a steady trickle of berries all season long. That means I get to see my little strawberry loving munchkins marching off to the garden, bucket in hand all summer long.
I have this simple recipe for low sugar strawberry jam that’s my go-to way to preserve strawberries. It’s perfect for my palate, which doesn’t want a lot of sweet. The little ones though, they want all the sugar.
It’s not just the sugar though, it’s about the texture. While I love a barely sweet jam with a lot of chunks and even the occasional whole strawberry mixed in, they’re all about smooth fruit jellies.
I’m happy to make strawberry jelly for them because it’s actually easier to make than strawberry jam in some ways. There is a straining step, sure, but the cooking time is much shorter. All I have to do is cook up the berries, get them into the jelly bag and then I can be back outside playing in the sun with the littles.
How to Make Strawberry Jelly
As with any homemade preserve, it all starts with good fruit. It takes about 3 1/2 cups of hulled strawberries to produce just one cup of juice, so it’s important to start with a good quantity of berries.
That said, I’ve written this strawberry jelly recipe to be adaptable. Regardless of the number of strawberries you start with, just measure the juice produced and scale the recipe from there.
Hull the strawberries, no need to chop, and place them in a saucepan with a bit of lemon juice or water.
Mash slightly with a potato masher and cook them over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they release their juices.
The next step is straining out the solids for a clear strawberry juice. A jelly bag really helps with this, and it’s a pretty minimal investment if you plan on making jellies regularly. Otherwise, use dampened cheesecloth lining a colander or fine mesh strainer to drain the cooked strawberry mixture.
Strawberry jelly needs to strain for 2 to 4 hours, but preferably overnight. The longer you leave it, the higher the yield.
It’s important to resist the temptation to squeeze the fruit while it’s hanging straining in a jelly bag or cheesecloth because that’ll cloud that jam. It’s cosmetic, but we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths and a bright red strawberry jam just looks tastier!
Once the strawberry juice has strained, measure it.
If you’re using standard pectin like sure gel, a “batch” of strawberry jelly requires 4 cups of strawberry juice. I tend to keep low sugar pectin (Pomona’s Pectin) on hand in my pantry, and that type allows you to be more flexible with batch sizes and the amount of sugar used.
With Pomona’s pectin, there are two parts. Powdered pectin that’s mixed in with the added sugar, and calcium water that’s mixed in with the strawberry juice.
The calcium activates the pectin, rather than sugar in regular pectin. That means you can make a very low or no sugar preserve if you want.
That’s not what I’m doing here though. I’m making a regular full sugar jelly for sweet tooth toddlers. Still, I love that it’s flexible on batch sizes.
With Pomona’s pectin, add 1 teaspoon of both pectin powder and calcium water for each cup of strawberry juice. Along with about 1/4 cup of sugar, this “micro batch” will yield a single 8oz jar.
Scale the recipe up or down as you need, adjusting to your total juice yield.
While I generally use standard 8oz jelly jars, I’ve been experimenting with canning jars with re-usable lids. These beautiful canning jars have a rubber gasket and glass lid that can be re-used again and again.
Thus far, I’m very happy with them and they really make for a beautiful presentation. I’m hoping to use them as fancy gifts this holiday season, but in the meantime, they’re holding strawberry jelly.
The flip-top is actually easier for my kids to manage on their own than a standard screw-top jar, but I’m always worried they’ll drop that glass lid. In truth, it’s no riskier than them just dropping the whole jar on the floor.
Canning Strawberry Jelly
Regardless of the canning jars you use, leave 1/4 inch headspace and process strawberry jelly in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off the canner and leave the jars in the hot water for another 5 minutes before removing them to cool.
Check for seals, and store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator for immediate use.
Alternately, just store the whole batch in the fridge or the freezer and skip the canning step altogether. It won’t be shelf-stable, but if you’re not into canning and you plan to use it up quickly it doesn’t much matter.
Strawberry Jelly Recipe Variations
Since strawberry jelly uses strawberry juice, it’s easy enough to add in other liquid flavors into the batch.
The canning book Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin has a recipe for strawberry balsamic jelly that adds balsamic into the strawberry juice, which might be a good option if you’re short on juice at canning time. Similarly, I’ve seen recipes that add in a bit of wine or champagne in place of part of the strawberry juice.
The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving has a Roasted Strawberry Chamomile Jelly that starts by roasting the strawberries on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes. While the strawberries are roasting, you’re brewing chamomile tea on the stovetop. The berries are then cooked in the chamomile tea (tea bag removed), and then strained through a jelly bag and finished just like any other strawberry jelly.
This recipe is just a beginning, and feel free to add in other fruit juices, herbal teas, wine, or most any other flavoring that suits you.
This simple strawberry jelly has an incredible strawberry flavor without the seeds in a standard strawberry preserve.
- 4 cups strawberry Juice (From 4 pounds strawberries, see note)
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1 package powdered fruit pectin (Sure Gel)
- 4 cups sugar
- Wash and hull the strawberries, and place them in a saucepan with a splash of water and lemon juice (if using). Mash with a potato masher and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they've released their juices.
- Strain the strawberry pulp through a jelly bag or dampened cheesecloth for at least 2 hours, preferably longer for a better yield.
- It takes roughly 4 pounds of strawberries to make the 4 cups of juice needed for this recipe. If you're a bit short for any reason, add water or fruit juice.
- Bring the juice to a boil on the stovetop and add the powdered pectin. (Don't add the sugar yet.) Return the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to distribute the pectin, and boil hard for about a minute.
- Add the sugar, and return to a boil. (This is important, don't add the sugar until last or the strawberry jelly may not set.)
- Boil hard for about 1 minute, and then pour into prepared canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Store in the refrigerator, or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the jars to stand in the canner for an additional 5 minutes before removing them to cool.
- Check seals and store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator for immediate use.
For a low sugar strawberry jam, use Pomona's pectin instead of sure gel pectin. With Pomona's pectin, there are two parts. Powdered pectin that's mixed in with the added sugar, and calcium water that's mixed in with the strawberry juice. The calcium activates the pectin, rather than sugar in regular pectin.
With Pomona's pectin, add 1 teaspoon of both pectin powder and calcium water for each cup of strawberry juice. Along with about 1/4 cup of sugar, this "micro-batch" will yield a single 8oz jar. Add anywhere between 1/4 and 1 full cup of sugar per cup of juice.
More Strawberry Canning Recipes
Looking for more creative strawberry canning recipes? Read on my friends…
- Wild Strawberry Jam
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam
- Canning Whole Strawberries
- 30+ Creative Ways to Can Strawberries
I just found your site and I think I’ve found a kindred spirit. Plus I’ve got green beans coming out my ears, and this sounds like a delicious way to eat them up. Thanks!!
Hi, Nice article thank you. Do you know why strawberries need to be hulled? What happens if the leaves are left on when the fruit is going to be strained through a jelly bag anyway?
You know, that’s a really good question…and I’d honestly never thought about it. I have a friend who uses the strawberry hulls to make a tea, and strawberry leaves are edible in general. I imagine cooking them with the greens would put some strawberry green flavor into the finished jam, but that may not be a bad thing.
I’m going to make it without hulling them this coming year when strawberries come back into season and see how it tastes. That sure would save a lot of work!
I am so glad to have found a good strawberry jelly recipe. I am of the same mind as you where most recipes are entirely too sweet. It overpowers the flavor of the berries. I don’t want to put 4 cups of sugar so what would you recommend, maybe backing off to 3 cups? Have you tried less sugar with this particular recipe? Thank you!
If you are wanting to make a jam with low sugar, feel free to try this one. https://practicalselfreliance.com/low-sugar-strawberry-jam/
Great! Would I follow the same steps in this jam recipe for a jelly recipe? I have ordered the Pomona’s Pectin and jelly bag you mentioned and should receive today!
Yes you can follow those same steps.
I would suggest that you taste the jelly as you add sugar. It’s always worked for me. The sugar, lemon juice and pectin all work toward the gelling point. Add sugar to taste and then add your lemon and pectin. I have always found the cold spoon method of reaching a gell point to be a great indicator. Don’t cook fast. Have patience and let chemistry do its job. You will be well rewarded. Signed: A retired chemist.
I followed all your instructions on making strawberry jelly, but it didn’t my set,it remained a syrup. Why! Should I have cooked it longer and if so which step.
Did you wait until the end to add the sugar?
Always use the cold spoon test. You will get real good at it and always pick the best gell point.
I made jelly for the first time yesterday It actually took me two days. One day to decap 8 quarts of berries, cook them down, puree them with a hand blender, and filter the puree through jelly bags. I clothspinned the bags to the top of 1/2 gallon Mason jars for the whole day. I then combined all the juice and placed it in the fridge. The yield was 6 cups pure strawberry juice.
My wife and I calculated there would be approximately 12 cups yield. I heated the juice and began adding the sugar slowly while constantly stirring. We determined the amount of sugar by taste. When we agreed it was sweet enough I stopped adding sugar.
My water bath canner wasn’t going to hold 12 jelly jars so I substituted two pint jars. When the sugar was all dissolved I added 3/8 cup of lemon juice and then 3 bags liquid CERTO. The jelly was boiling but not heavily. I used the cold spoon method to test the gell point. It took about half an hour and reached a temperature of 118 degrees F. I was removing the foam the entire time. At gell we began filling the jars which had been sterilized in the water bath. The yield was exactly 10 cups. Right to the shoulder on every jar. Two pints and eight jelly jars. I love it when a plan comes together.
Today I removed the rings and tested the seals. All is good. I tipped the jars and it looks like a soft spreadable jelly. I can’t see through the jars but they are obviously free of seed and pulp. Yes, with some extra effort and time you too can make jelly. Good Luck.
I would like to know how to use apple seeds, etc. to make jams/jellies without added pectin. Would you put the seed in some kind of porous bag? and how many seed to how much juice or fruit?
Here is an article that talks about using citrus seeds for pectin. https://practicalselfreliance.com/citrus-pectin/ I am not sure about using the apple seeds in the same way but apples are used frequently. There is a link in the citrus seed post that talks about using apples to make pectin but it uses the whole apple and cooks it down to extract the pectin rather than just using the seed.
Thanks a bunch!
Can you use frozen strawberries with this recipe?
Frozen strawberries should work just fine.
Can this recipe be made with frozen strawberries? If so – are you aware of any alterations that would need to be made (perhaps additional pectin)?
Frozen strawberries should work just fine.
Can you turn the leftover strawberry pulp into Jam once you’ve drained the juice??
I haven’t ever tried it before but I did find a recipe from Mother Earth News with a recipe. https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/jam-from-jelly-pulp-recipe-zerz1807zpop/ Let us know if you give it a try.
I made this recipe abs followed the instructions to a T. My jelly didn’t set right and my pectin just globbed up into chunks inside my jelly. I’m not sure what I did wrong 😞
I’m so sorry that happened. It sounds like there was definitely an issue with the pectin. Can you tell me what kind of pectin you used?