Canning Strawberries: Step-By-Step


Interested in canning strawberries, but aren’t sure where to start? This tutorial will show you the step-by-step instructions for preserving your harvest! Along with recipes for making strawberry jam, you can also make home canned strawberry pie filling, and if you’re extra, strawberry-rhubarb jam to round out your pantry shelves with all things strawberry.

canning strawberries: an easy tutorial

This is the time of year when strawberries are abundant. Ripening in the garden, on sale in farmer’s markets – everywhere. The perfect time for getting your water bath canner out and preserving the peak flavors of the season.

What to do with canned strawberries

When I was a tween growing up in a large family in an Amish community, I remember the back-breaking work of tending a strawberry patch through an entire season of growth before seeing fruit the next year.

But it was worth it. All those strawberries fresh from the garden – unbeatable.

Of course in those times, we didn’t have a freezer, so we canned our strawberries to use throughout the year.

We used these canned berries to make strawberry syrup to put on pancakes and waffles.

Another delicious way we used them was to make strawberry delight, using the strawberries to make a filling rather than using fresh strawberries.

They also make a delicious topping for cheesecake, oatmeal, or mixed in with gelatin, or any other fruity desserts.

How to select the best strawberries

As always, the best is always best – sweet, perfectly ripe, freshly picked, mid-sized berries are perfect. But also as always, use what you have!

If you scroll down to the video, you’ll see I’m canning culls – huge strawberries that are usually hollow in the middle. These culls are so big they have to be sliced up to fit into the jars. And that’s fine too! They may be slightly softer after they’re canned, but they’re still full of flavor.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You may be thinking that’s obvious – strawberries! And you’re right, but there’s also more.

Ingredients needed to can strawberries

You’ll need:

  • Strawberries
  • Sugar
  • Lemon Juice

Do you have to use sugar? No. You can skip it, but it makes the difference between juicy, sweet and flavorful berries, and low flavor mush.

Keep in mind that consuming any food is all about balance.

Why use sugar?

In this recipe we’re going to macerate the berries in sugar. Then, we’ll can them in their own juice. This does two things: Makes them more flavorful, since you’re not diluting them with as much water, and this extraction of the juice helps them retain a firmer texture during the canning process. This is similar to what we do when we make apple jam. The apples retain their integrity instead of turning into apple sauce in the process!

Alternative Processes

Do you have to macerate the berries in sugar? Strictly speaking, no. You can can them in a light syrup made with sugar or maple syrup. As discusses above, this does affect the flavor and texture, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

You can also try macerating berries in maple syrup or agave. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t comment on the result.

Canning Equipment

For canning strawberries, you’ll need a water bath canner. This is just a large pot with a lid, and a rack inside to keep your jars from having direct contact with the heat source. I have this one, which is my favorite because it’s durable, and has a glass lid. I also have a graniteware kettle, and it it works just as well.

In addition to the kettle, you’ll need jars and lids. I use a variety of jar brands, picking them up here and there over the years, mostly at the end of the season when they start to go on sale. Ball, Golden Harvest, and even Walmart’s house brand are all pretty dependable, though with that last brand, the lids may or may not seal, so I typically just throw them straight out and move to Denali canning lids.

For lids, with reputable jar brands, I use the lids that come with them, then switch to Denali thereafter. They have a guaranteed seal, and so far, haven’t failed me, so I love them!

A canning funnel is also nice to have, though not strictly necessary. It just helps get the food in without getting anything on the rim that you have to wipe off later.

Any other canning equipment such as special tongs, magnetic lid lifters, etc. are all superfluous in my opinion, and I don’t currently have any of those things.

How to Can Strawberries

  1. Cap and cut berries as desired (i.e. leave them whole, half, quarter, slice, etc.)
    strawberries on a cutting board with a knife
  2. Mix with sugar and lemon juice and cover
  3. Let stand for 6-8 hours, or refrigerate overnight
    strawberries in a bowl with sugar
  4. Prepare jars, lids, and canner
  5. Fill jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Pack strawberries down lightly, maximizing space in the jar, but don’t squish them.
    filling jars with strawberries using a canning funnel
  6. Divide the juice left from the strawberries between the jars, and top off with cool water as necessary to cover the berries. Use a butterknife to stir out any air bubbles if necessary
    jars full of strawberries
  7. Wipe rims, and screw down lids and rings.
  8. Place in water bath canner, and cover the jars with water to an inch over the tops.
  9. Place lid on canner, and heat to a rolling boil.
  10. Boil quarts for 20 minutes, or pints for 15 minutes processing time.
  11. Remove from heat and let canner cool.
    pint jars with a bowl of fruit
  12. Remove hot jars from canner when they’re cool enough to handle, or wait until canner is completely cool, and wash if necessary (hard water can cause a mineral build up on the jars), then set out of the way for 24 hours.
  13. After the 24 hours, check for seals, and store out of direct sunlight

Frequently Asked questions

jars of berries with a bowl of strawberries next to it.

Why do my canned strawberries float?

This is very common, and it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. If the strawberries are lighter than the juice, they’ll float. They’ll also shrink a bit during the canning process, which makes the floating look worse than it is. You can reduce it by making sure your jars are as full as possible. Mine often float, but it doesn’t really affect the taste or texture.

Why are my strawberries so discolored?

Your strawberries may look light pink after they’re canned, rather than deep red. This usually happens with larger berries, berries grown hydroponically, berries that aren’t quite ripe, essentially any berry that isn’t fully deeply red all the way through. Again, it’s not inherently bad.

Can you use frozen strawberries for this?

Yep. Hopefully I’m not the only one who sticks things in the freezer when I’m super busy and comes back to can them later, but because of that, I can tell you that you can, indeed, can frozen strawberries. The steps are the same as with fresh – stir the sugar in, let them macerate for several hours, then proceed with canning. I think the strawberries come out a little softer than fresh do, but it still works very well.

How long will canned strawberries last?

For best quality, use them within the first year. After that, they do start to fade.

Other canning recipes to try:


Canning Strawberries

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A simple tutorial for canning strawberries with a sugar maceration.

  • Author: Elise New
  • Yield: 5 quarts 1x


  • 6 quarts of strawberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Equipment needed:


  1. Cap and slice strawberries to your preference
  2. Place in a large bowl and stir in sugar and lemon juice
  3. Set aside to macerate for six hours, or refrigerate overnight
  4. Pack berries into canning jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace, and divide leftover liquid between jars
  5. Top with water as needed to cover strawberries
  6. Wipe rims and screw down lids and bands firmly
  7. Place in prepared water bath canner, making sure water level covers jars by at least an inch
  8. Heat canner to a rolling boil, and boil quarts for 20 minutes, or pints for 15 minutes
  9. Remove from heat, and let canner cool until jars are safe to remove (or until completely cool)
  10. Remove jars from canner. After 24 hours, test for seal, wash jars, and remove bands if desired
  11. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight

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