It’s berry season! And what better way to preserve the sweet taste of summer berries, than making jam? If you have more berries than you know what to do with try this simple recipe for homemade strawberry jam.
4 cups of hulled, mashed strawberries (about 2 pounds fresh strawberries)
4 cups white sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
Note: You can buy commercial pectin, though you don’t necessarily need to add any. Pectin occurs naturally in fruit, and is what helps the jam set. Adding liquid pectin can help jam cook more quickly and creates a slightly different texture. If you use it, be sure to follow the accompanying instructions to make sure your jam sets properly.
-Wide-mouth glass jars, bands, and NEW metal lids with rubber seals (you can reuse the jars and bands).
-Large, non-stick pan
-Long-handled wooden spoon
-Non-reactive bowl (glass or plastic)
-Candy thermometer (optional)
-Boiling-water canner or deep pan with a canning rack or basket
-Clean dish towel
First, sterilize your jars and lids. Wash them in hot, soapy water. Place the jars in a deep pan of boiling water, and boil for 10 minutes. Place the flat metal covers into a pan of simmering water. Leave lids and jars in the water until needed.
Mix the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice together in the large pan. Don’t fill it to the top, as the mixture could bubble over the edge. Heat on low, stirring until the sugar is dissolved–about 20 minutes. Bring the mix to a boil, stir often, and cook until it reaches the setting temperature of 220 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, spoon some jam onto a chilled plate, let it cool, then run your finger through the middle of it. If the jam holds its shape and doesn’t run back together, it’s ready!
Let the jam stand for ten minutes. In the meantime, carefully remove the jars and lids from the hot water with tongs–have a clean towel handy to set them on. Skim excess foam off the top of the jam with a spoon, and then spoon the jam into the jars leaving a quarter inch at the top. Wipe off the rims and run the spatula along the inside wall of the jar to let air bubbles escape. Place the metal lid and then screw on the band.
To preserve your jam for up to six months, process it by putting the jars into the boiling-water canner, following any instructions that come with it. You can get one at the supermarket, but if you don’t have one, place a wire rack in a deep pot, bring water to a boil, and boil the jars for ten minutes. Carefully remove the jars and set on a towel, allowing them to cool overnight. Check the lids to see if they sealed before storing in a cool place.