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Strawberry Jam

This strawberry jam is great dolloped onto pancakes or homemade bread and can also be used to sandwich together a simple sponge cake. I love it spooned into tiny sweet tart shells with another miniature dollop of whipped cream on the top. If you like, you can make this with some chunks of strawberry, but you can easily tweak it to make it all smooth.–Tessa Kiros

LC Note

Here’s the thing about making jam from scratch—it’s lovely in principle, although not often likely in reality. It’s not the actual act of preserving that’s hard. It’s the notion of putting up preserves that gives some of us pause. The sterilizing of jars. The worrying about the seal taking—or not. The potential of scrubbing jam splatters off the ceiling.

And so rather than go without, some of us cheat. We make a small batch of strawberry jam—or whatever flavor fruit we fancy at that moment—and then keep it close at hand in the fridge in an unsealed, unsterilized, uncumbersome little container. The small, manageable batch lasts just long enough—a week, perhaps—before we grow tired of that particular flavor. And then we move on to the next fruit that we fancy.

The beauty of this approach lies not just in the lesser amount of preserves but its ease. Just simmer and ladle. As Kiros notes, “It’s incredibly easy to make. It’s not necessary to make a supply for the whole year and the whole neighborhood—although wouldn’t that be nice?” Um, in theory, perhaps.

Special Equipment: 4 ounce jelly jars (optional) or other small resealable containers

Strawberry Jam Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups strawberries (try to find small strawberries, which tend to have more flavor than the large ones), rinsed and hulled
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  • 1. Quarter the strawberries or, if they’re especially large, cut them into smaller chunks. Place them in a non-reactive bowl, add the sugar and lemon juice, and toss them well. Cover and let them rest overnight in the fridge to draw out the berries’ juices.
  • 2. The next day, drain off all the liquid from the strawberries into a large, heavy-bottomed jam pan or wide saucepan. Add half the strawberries and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the juices are thickened somewhat, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • 3. Transfer the strawberry mixture to the blender and purée until smooth or, if you prefer your jam quite chunky, pulse until the desired consistency. Return the mixture to the pan, add the rest of the strawberries, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes more. To test if the jam is ready, drop a heaping teaspoonful onto a plate and tilt the plate a little. The jam should not run off but rather cling to the plate and slowly glide down. If the jam isn’t ready, put it back on the heat for a while. It should be a lovely red hue and look quite sticky.
  • 4. Spoon the jam into small jars and refrigerate for up to a couple weeks or spoon it into resealable plastic containers and freeze. You cannot leave this jam on the shelf since it has not been canned using a traditional water bath.

Variations

  • Raspberry Jam
  • You can make raspberry jam like this, too. Just pass it through a fine sieve to get rid of the seeds.
  • Canning Tip
  • If you wish instead to actually can the jam, don’t let us deter you. Be sure to sterilize your jars before you have a panful of hot jam ready to put up.
  • Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C).
  • It is always best to use several small jars, rather than one or two big ones. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, or in the dishwasher, and rinse well in hot water. Then place the jars and the lids on a baking sheet for at least 20 minutes, or until you are ready to use them. Don’t use a dish towel to dry them. They should dry thoroughly in the oven.
  • When the jam is ready, spoon it into the warm sterilized jars and close the lids tightly. Turn the jars upside down, cover with a dish towel, and let stand until completely cool. This creates a vacuum that can be seen with the lid. Turn upright and store in a cool dark place.
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