Strawberries! How I love them!! When warmer temps roll around, I cannot wait to get my hands on some fresh, juicy, red strawberries. Then it’s milkshakes, popsicles, ice creams, puddings, breads and what-not all the time at our home… much to the amusement of the guys!
This year, we went strawberry picking and came back with a large batch of ripe berries. The berries are cultivated on a small farm, have a deep red color when ripe and are very sweet. But this year, they are not the sweetest they can be. I was talking to the farmer and he said that uncharacteristically heavy rains have made strawberry farming difficult. The berries are starting to rot and they also taste slightly watery since strawberries are sponge-like when it comes to rain-water. It might not be a big issue for the big farming corporations who have covered greenhouses, but the little rural farm we went to were obviously hit hard. Such is the dependence of the common farmer on nature.
So when I brought the berries home, I had to act fast. I divided the batch into three. I made strawberry ice cream with the first batch (recipe coming up), froze the second one to allow me some time to decide what to do with it and kept the best ones in the fridge to use in smoothies and milkshakes over the next few days.
I decided that the best way to preserve the fresh-frozen batch would be to make a quick jam. Homemade jam is the best thing in the world, after homemade bread of course. Just imagine what would happen if they happened to meet! I used store-bought bread in the photo shoot here but a homemade loaf will soon make its appearance on our breakfast table.
This is a no-pectin, no-canning “refrigerator jam“. It is similar to my apricot jam recipe. I simply cook the fruit with a little lime juice and sugar. The lime (or lemon) juice keeps the acidic balance and helps the jam come together in the absence of pectin. I simply store the jam in a sterilized glass jar in the refrigerator. But trust me, it doesn’t last very long. Do follow proper canning methods if you are attempting a large batch and if proper canning techniques are something you are familiar with.
It is best to use a 1:2 sugar to fruit ratio when it comes to homemade jam. But I slightly reduced the amount of sugar when I made this strawberry jam. But do not reduce it too much, because it is such a simple recipe and even the amount of sugar will determine the texture and outcome of your final product.
HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM
You will need:
- Strawberries – 1 1/2 lb or 4 cups when quartered
- Lime/Lemon – 1 small, juiced
- Sugar – 1 1/2 – 2 cups (depends on sweetness of berries and personal taste)
- Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
- Salt – a pinch
- Wash, hull and quarter the strawberries.
- Add them to a wide, deep pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and cook till jam comes together and the mixture is reduced. Stir in between and mash some (but not all) of the fruit pieces with the back of a ladle. See notes for checking doneness of the jam.
- Once done, remove from heat and skim off any scum that may have collected on top. Spoon jam into clean, sterilized glass jars, cool completely, cover tightly with lid and refrigerate. Keeps well for 1-2 weeks.
- When jam is done, the color will darken and it will have a glossy sheen to it. You can also do the following tests to determine if jam is ready.
- Before starting, place a couple of plates in the freezer. To check if jam is done, place a blob of hot jam mixture on the cold plate. Cool it slightly in the freezer and run a finger across it. If the mixture gels and you are able to run your finger through it without it being runny, the jam is done. Else, cook for a couple more minutes and test again.
- You can also test using the spoon method. Dip a metal spoon into the hot jam mixture and allow it to slide off the spoon. Initially, it will fall off as individual drops. When jam is done, it will slide off the spoon as one mass (or a sheet).
- Always remember that the jam will thicken when cool. So, take care not to overcook it. It takes practice and patience to tell when exactly the jam is done, but you’ll get there!
And that’s it! You can now have your very own homemade strawberry jam. In fact, you can follow the same method for any of the summer berries. Slather some jam on warm toast and enjoy for a quick breakfast or easy snack. Yum!!
So, tell me, have you made jam at home? Do you go fruit picking in the summer or fall? What do you do with the produce? Do share.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
- Skip To My Lou
- Between Naps on the Porch
- Home Stories A To Z
- A Stroll Thru Life
- Cedar Hill Ranch
- Coastal Charm
- Elizabeth & Co
- Savvy Southern Style
- The NY Melrose Family
- The Turquoise Home
- Living Well Spending Less
- The Shabby Nest
- French Country Cottage
- My Romantic Home
- The Charm of Home
- Crafts a la Mode
- The Novice Gardener
- DIY Show Off
- Nifty Thrifty Things
- By Stephanie Lynn