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 No Canning Required Note
Here’s the thing about making and canning jam from scratch—it’s lovely in principle, although not often likely in reality. It’s not the actual act of making preserves that’s hard. It’s the idea of putting up preserves that gives some of us pause. The sterilizing of jars. The worrying about the seal taking. The potential for scrubbing jam off the ceiling.
But rather than go without, some of us lazy home cooks cheat. We make a small batch of strawberry jam and, rather than fuss with canning, we stash it in the fridge in an unsealed, unsterilized, handy little container for a week or so. The small, manageable batch lasts just long enough before we grow tired of the particular flavor. And then we move on to the next fruit that we fancy, using any recipe for preserves but skipping the preserving part. And we always, always, always keep it in the fridge.
The beauty of this approach lies not just in its ease, but in the lesser amount of preserves. As author Tessa Kiros notes, “It’s not necessary to make a supply for the whole year and the whole neighborhood—although wouldn’t that be nice?” In theory, perhaps.
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 45 M
- Makes 1 1/2 cups
Special Equipment: 4 ounce jelly jars (optional) or other small resealable containers
- 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 (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1. Quarter the strawberries or, if they’re especially large, cut them into smaller chunks. Place them in a nonreactive bowl, add the sugar and lemon juice, and toss well. Cover and toss the bowl in the fridge overnight to draw out the strawberries’ juices.
- 2. The next day, strain 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. Reduce 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 rather 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 is done when it’s a lovely red hue, looks quite sticky, and doesn’t run off the plate but rather clings to it and slowly glides down the plate. If the jam isn’t ready, put it back on the heat for a while and test it again.
- 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, but this makes a small batch, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting through it.
- 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.