Thursday, June 17, 2021

Classic Strawberry Jam with Apple Pectin and Stevia


When I shared the above photo on social media, I was asked, "Why apples in  your strawberry jam?" I had nearly forgotten that this wasn't normal.

My memory of my mom making strawberry jam when I was a girl is going to the grocery store for pectin (Sure Gel) and finding that other jam makers in the community had stripped the shelf bare. Sometimes we'd go to several grocery stores before finding enough pectin. 

I always enjoy learning new techniques, especially if they mean less reliance on purchased products, so when I saw a recipe in Cooks Country magazine that used an apple for pectin, I decided to try it. I loved the result and have used this recipe every year since then.

There are disadvantages of using an apple for pectin. Some of the modern kinds of pectin require less sugar and no cooking which makes jam making faster. A cooked jam does take longer and the flavor is a little different than the non-cooked type of jam. 

But if you'd like to try making jam the way your great-grandmother may have made it, here is the recipe I use. 

Classic Strawberry Jam with Apple Pectin

3 lb strawberries
3 cups of sugar (or alternative sweetener)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 1/4 cup)
2 T lemon juice

Cap, wash, and crush strawberries. I use an immersion blender. Add all other ingredients. Boil until thick. I found this took about 15 minutes of a rolling boil. Cool. Freeze.

Jam is notorious for boiling over if you walk away. This pan wasn't very full, but the jam foamed up and over the pot. You don't need to constantly stir it, just keep an eye on it and stir occasionally.

The jam will thicken as it cools so it can be hard to know when it has cooked long enough. To test when the jam is thick enough, I keep a small glass plate in the freezer. When I think the jam has cooked long enough, I place a teaspoon of jam on the plate and return it to the freezer for two minutes. I then drag a finger through the cooled jam to text its thickness. You can see here the difference that a few additional minutes of cooking did for the jam. When it is finished it will be a dark red and there will be no sign of the grated apple.

I have also used this recipe for red raspberry jam. I assume it could be used for other fruits.

I've read that Granny Smith apples have more pectin than some other apple varieties, but one year I used Ginger Gold apples in my raspberry jam and it turned out great.

I usually substitute stevia for some (or most) of the sugar. One teaspoon of pure stevia is equal in sweetness to one cup of sugar. I've done as little as 1/2 cup of sugar and replaced rest of the sugar with stevia and my family never knew the difference.

I freeze the jam and find that it keeps its color and texture perfectly even after several years. 

I'd love to hear if you have experimented with apple pectin or stevia in jam making.


  1. Oh my! That looks so delicious! I love strawberry jam and homemade is always better than store bought. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  2. I'm going to try this. I've never heard of this before. My mom always made jelly / jam during the winter. She froze the pureed fruit for jelly making later when we weren't so busy.

  3. I have just refound you. The last I knew of y’all, your husband had just been chosen minister. It is with great sorrow I read of your widowhood. I am so very very sorry. My heart is broken for you and your sweet family. I was so hoping I had read wrong.

  4. Hi Gina! I never heard of this and am so intrigued. Strawberry jam is not something I make because I havent found a healthy recipe.... Maybe this is it! :)
    On another topic... I get your blog on email. The last email I got from you was April 23rd when you said you were changing some things. Today I thought "hmm I haven't heard from Home Joys in awhile." I checked online and realized I misses quite a few blog posts. Should I unsubscribe then resubscribe hoping to be reconnected? Or is the blog no longer available on email? Maybe you wish Id direct message you? I wasnt sure what you prefer and hate to bother you at such a busy time of year...

    1. I'm sorry Diane. It seems you are not the only one who was dropped. The email service I was using quit so I had to switch to a new one. Apparently in the process, some addresses got lost. On the right side of the blog you will see a place to sign in with your email address again.
      Sorry for the bother.


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