Spring is here and the best strawberries have finally arrived at the market. Or, at least, they should. Even at the peak of season, the strawberries you get might not be all that punctuated in flavor. No sugar and all water makes for a sad strawberry. Luckily, turning those berries into jam brings out their dormant flavors and makes even the most unappealing strawberries into canned rockstars.
Remember that jam making isn't difficult, but it does require your attention. Each batch of fruit you use will be different. Some will need much longer to cook and some less so depending on the water and sugar content in the fruit. Just keep an eye on it and keep your spoon moving to ensure proper thickness and doneness.
In addition, feel free to adjust the dice of the fruit. I like a mix of a small dice and a large chop to ensure I get big chunks of fruit in my jam.
1. Put all of the ingredients into a large, nonreactive pot. Let it all macerate for an hour so the ingredients can meld together. Place a small plate in the freezer as this will be used for testing later.
2. Turn heat to medium-high. The mixture will bubble and froth quite a bit. As it does so use a wide spoon to carefully skim the foam off the top. (Save this foam for topping yogurt or ice cream.
The only reason you skim the foam is so your jam isn't cloudy.) The boiling will reduce to larger, thicker bubbles over time. Be sure to begin gently stirring the jam frequently to prevent it from sticking and burning to the bottom.
3. After about 20 minutes begin testing the jam by placing a small amount on the cold plate that you put in the freezer. Allow 30 seconds to pass and then run your finger through it to see what the cooled consistency will be. Boil for a few minutes longer if desired for a thicker jam.
4. Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized* canning jars and seal leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. Screw on the rings to finger-tight. Allow to cool before placing in the fridge. Consume within three months.
The jam can also be preserved and stored indefinitely if processed. For instructions of water bath process canning, click here.
*To sterilize the jars, rinse out clean mason jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, upright in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes. To sterilize the lids put them in a shallow bowl and pour boiling water over them.