Surprise Strawberry Jam

My family loves this jam! When I was about to take the jars into storage, my kids were yelling and pleading to keep one up in the kitchen for them to eat. It is a much cheaper way to make your own strawberry jam, especially if you grow your own zucchini.

Yes, zucchini. There are no strawberries in this recipe. So how do you go from zucchini to strawberry jam?

Here’s the recipe. First, you do not need this much zucchini. Those 20 zucchini made about 24 cups of zucchini puree. I used some to make the jam, some to make some zucchini bread and then I froze the rest in Ziploc bags.

You will need:

  • 7 1/2 Cups of zucchini puree (I added about 3/4 to 1 cup of water to the blender per 2 zucchini)
  • 3 3/4 Cups of white sugar
  • 4 1/2 T. lemon juice
  • 3 small packages of strawberry jello (sweetened or unsweetened)

***If you want the jam bright red, you may want to peel the zucchini before blending. You will most likely need more zucchini as the yield will not be as large. If you don’t mind the green tint, leave the peels on.

This recipe makes 6 pints of surprise strawberry jam.

***Update: We made grape jam using this recipe. We just used 3 boxes of grape jello mix. Warning though, it does not come out purple. It comes out with a deep green color. It still tastes delicious though. My kids don’t mind at all. Actually, they think it’s pretty cool. This would be a great addition to my Halloween themed lunches. Muah ha ha.

Begin by blending the zucchini and water in a blender until it is smooth puree. Transfer the puree to a pot and heat it with the sugar until all of the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the lemon juice and the strawberry jello packages. Heat and stir for another 5 minutes to ensure the jello mix is completely dissolved.

Canning: Ladle the jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe the rim and threads with a clean cloth and top with the lid and ring. Place in boiling water with at least 2 inches of water covering the jar. Boil constantly for 10 minutes. Let it sit for 5 more minutes until removing from the water. Let sit for 24 hours to ensure a proper seal. Refrigerate any jars that did not seal correctly.

Do not worry if the jam is separated like this:

Once it is cool, just shake it up before you store it. Even if it separates in storage, just shake it up again before you place it in the refrigerator prior to use. Once in the refrigerator the gelatin will set nicely.

Freezing: Place in freezer containers and allow to thaw in the refrigerator before use.

Once cooled or placed in the refrigerator, it will look like this and be amazing to enjoy!

Conveniently re-pin this here so you have quick access to the recipe!

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17 Responses to Surprise Strawberry Jam

  1. rachel steinberg says:

    when you say small sized box of jello, what size is that? I am only able to find 3oz. boxes…

    • Kim says:

      My boxes say 1.4 oz. These are the ones that usually have the generic brands. Instead of 3 of my boxes, maybe use 1.5 or 2 of the ones you found. It’s only used for the flavoring so it couldn’t hurt to have a little more. Just be careful with the sugar. You might want to back off on some of the sugar so it’s not too sweet if you use 2 of your boxes. Play around with it. I used the same recipe a few times and this last time, it came out a little darker and with a tad less flavoring. However, that might be in the type of zucchini I use. When I make zucchini bread, sometimes it is green and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, it’s all a surprise. 🙂

      • rachel steinberg says:

        great – thanks! we keep kosher so sometimes we can’t find the exact same products in the same sizes that non-kosher people can find.

  2. Katie says:

    I just finished making my first batch! It is very runny, will it sit once I put in the refrigerator?

    • Kim says:

      Mine hardened up after it cooled. Did yours end up being okay?

      • Carolyn says:

        My neighbor has been doing this same technic for years and selling them. She’s mentioned that she’s had a few batches that didn’t set up. Her solution was to use it as syrup. Her customers have really loved it. Don’t be so worried if it doesn’t work… just make pancakes!

    • Lois says:

      Mine came out runny too. What’s that all about? How can we thicken it?

  3. Jolene says:

    How long does it keep when canned and not opened? My concern is that the jello boxes have expiration dates.

    • Kim says:

      Jolene, we always ended up using ours within a few months. I would definitely suggest using it before the expiration of the jello. Thank you for pointing that out.

  4. Ang says:

    Do you think instead of the strawberry jello you could use unflavored gelatin and then a flavoring or extract?

  5. Pamela says:

    If I’m not canning can they go straight to the refrigerator

    • Kim says:

      Absolutely, but you will have to use it up soon. I haven’t tried freezing it yet. I would assume it would keep in the refrigerator for a week.

  6. Amanda Jo says:

    just wondering if you have tried using pectin? I know the gelatin will set up when refrigerated, do you think the pectin will make it set up like normal jelly? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Kim says:

      I haven’t tried using pectin. You would need to follow the box directions so it would set though, I would assume. I’m not sure though, if the sugar content would need to be adjusted.

  7. Jamie W says:

    Made this today. It is amazing! A great way to use up some zucchini! Thank you!

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