“She wanted only her own strawberry farm, the fragrance of the fields and the cedar trees, and to live simply in this place forever.” – David Guterson,Snow Falling on Cedars
There’s something about standing in the middle of a field of strawberries. The air there is different, heavy with a sweet sugary perfume that can only come from berries warmed by the sun. It’s a simple pleasure to fill a basket with strawberries, picked straight from the vine, by my own hands.
Today I’ll share my recipe for turning some of those juicy berries into sweet, sweet Homemade Strawberry Jam.
By filling little jars with this sticky-sweet crimson, I can savor the taste of summer and the fragrant strawberry fields well into the fall.
If you are so inclined to canning, you can go beyond that and preserve your Homemade Strawberry Jam all year long.
While there is certainly more sugar in making jam than I would normally like to cook or bake with (after all, isn’t that what makes jam so good?!), I wouldn’t dwell on it too much. Unless it is imperative that you avoid sugar, or you plan to personally devour the entire jar of jam in one sitting
like me, jam is typically used sparingly, a few spoonfuls at a time. Hopefully that helps put the sugar ratio into perspective.
There’s no pectin added as the generations-old recipe I use doesn’t include it, and in my experience, it doesn’t need it. Pectin is a thickening agent. It’s used to give that jelly-like texture and consistency to most jams and jellies. However, by boiling down the crushed berries with sugar, this jam thickens up beautifully and sets quite well overnight.
The consistency of this jam is thick, though it will retain enough movement to easily spoon a dollop onto a piece of warm bread. Since the strawberries are crushed, you’ll have sweet bits of strawberry in every bite.
Homemade Strawberry Jam is swoon-worthy on warm toasted bread, scones, sponge cake, or as filling for pastries. If you end up making more than you had anticipated, here’s 33 things you can do with that delicious homemade jam.
I’d love to hear from you
If you make this Homemade Strawberry Jam, I’d love to know what you think. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me! Be sure to tag me @chasingtheseasons and use the hashtag #chasingtheseasons so I can be sure to see it.
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Homemade Strawberry Jam
2 pounds of strawberries, washed, hulled & halved
4 cups white sugar
1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Add the washed, hulled and halved strawberries to a large bowl and gently crush them (I use a metal potato masher) until you have 4 full cups of crushed strawberries;
- Add the berries to a very large, heavy bottomed stockpot. Mix in the sugar and lemon juice;
- Stir over low-medium heat until the sugar dissolves (you’ll no longer feel the grainy bits on the bottom of the pan). Turn heat up and bring to a full boil;
- Boil contents until the mixture begins to reduce, about 20-30 minutes;
- Test if mixture is ready by placing a plate in the freezer, after it has chilled, add a spoonful of the strawberry juice from the stockpot on to the plate. Return the plate to the freezer for a minute or so then run your finger through the jam. The jam is set when the line you’ve created with your finger remains there and the jam doesn’t come back together. If the jam is not set, continue to boil and retest.
If the jam doesn’t set after the freezer test, continue to boil it for an additional 10 minutes. The temperature for the jam to properly set is 220 F (105 F).
Depending upon the ripeness of the strawberries the sweetness will vary. Having said that, 4 cups of sugar could end up tasting like too much. It’s best to start with less sugar, taste, and add more.
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