How To Make a Single Jar of Fruit Jam

updated Jun 14, 2019
How To Make a Single Jar of Fruit Jam
Learn how to make a single jar of jam, a weekly ritual that will make the most of your fruit purchases.

Makes1 cup

Cook20 minutes

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Six months ago, I stopped buying jam and solved a fresh fruit waste problem that has plagued my kitchen since I had children. No, I did not go cold turkey on my jam and biscuit pleasures. Instead I made a weekly ritual of putting last week’s fruit to its best end by making a single jar of fruit jam.

We often thinking of jam making as a long, arduous process that requires our full attention. The single jar of jam is just the opposite — something you can prep and put on the stovetop while you put the groceries away or make lunches for the week.

The Single Jar of Jam: A Solution for Wasted Fruit

Here’s how my journey into the single jar of fruit jam began: Every week my daughter would ask for a quart of strawberries from the grocery store, and every week, she’d eat a few berries and I’d find the berries, shrinking, sullen in the back of the fridge during my Friday fridge clear-out session. One week, jam ran out at the same time these berries were pulled from the fridge, so I set my sights on a single jar of jam.

Then, each week I found pleasure in throwing whatever reasonable fruit was wasting away in the fridge into the jam pot. And because the resulting jar of jam was petite in size, I found we easily ate it within the week and could start the ritual all over again.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

For Your Information

  • This jam calls for just two cups of chopped fruit. This is about one pint of berries, four to six peaches or plums, or eight small apricots.
  • This jam makes just one (eight-ounce) jar. Make sure it’s clean and dry before you begin.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How to Make a Jar of Jam in Less than 30 Minutes

  • Chop or mash the fruit. Rinse the fruit and chop larger fruit into small pieces. Combine the fruit with the sugar in a small pot and mash the fruit with a wooden spoon. This helps the fruit release some juices and begins the jam process.
  • Bring the jam to a boil. Bring the jam to a boil, but once boiling, reduce the heat slightly and keep a steady simmer. This will allow you to cook the jam without scorching while you putter around the kitchen, making lunches or cleaning.
  • Cook the jam until thickened. Continue to cook and stir the pot of jam as it thickens and becomes jammy. It will take about 20 minutes for the jam to reach the desired thickness. Then you can move it to the jar for refrigerator storage.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Storing and Serving Your Jam

Because this jam isn’t canned, it must be stored in the fridge or freezer. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks (although I’ve never had it last that long) or freeze for one month and defrost in fridge overnight before using.

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Wash and cut the fruit. Wash and hull the fruit as needed. Cut large strawberries into quarters, peaches into bite-sized pieces. (Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How To Make a Single Jar of Fruit Jam

Learn how to make a single jar of jam, a weekly ritual that will make the most of your fruit purchases.

Cook time 20 minutes

Makes 1 cup

Nutritional Info


  • 2 cups

    chopped fruit, such as strawberries and raspberries

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • Medium saucepan

  • Wooden spoon

  • Measuring cups and spoons


  1. Wash and cut the fruit. Wash and hull the fruit as needed. Cut large strawberries into quarters and peaches into bite-sized pieces.

  2. Combine the fruit with sugar and mash. Combine the fruit with the sugar and lemon juice in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gently mash with a wooden spoon until the fruit is juicy and most of the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Cook until jammy. Cook over a medium heat, continuing to mashing down on the fruit with a wooden spoon. Bring to a rolling boil and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the jam is thick and darkened in color, about 20 minutes.

  4. Transfer the jam to a jar and refrigerate. Carefully spoon into a very clean (8-ounce) jar and let cool to room temperature. Seal the jar and refrigerate.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The jam can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator if frozen.