Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Strawberry Jam

With Valentine's Day being just two days away and all, I thought I'd share a few recipes made with strawberries (today AND tomorrow AND the day after) because berries are romantic and sexy and red and delicious and fit the Valentine's Day spirit. Today I'll be sharing an easy strawberry jam recipe. I love making jams at home because I can control the amount of sugar and because I like to cook it a little less so that it tastes more like fresh mashed fruits rather than having that dull canned preserve taste.

Let me share a bit of jam science before we start. Pectin, which is a compound that's naturally found in many fruits, is what allows jams to thicken. Most professional jam-makers will add in a bit of pectin gel to thicken their jams and jellies to an almost solid consistency. I don't like to add pectin to my jams and jellies because I think it's unnecessary and the finished product is still thick enough to spread on a piece of toast. Though, you should be warned, strawberries don't contain much pectin (unlike most citrus fruits which contain a substantial amount) so if you like a super thick almost solid jam, then, I probably wouldn't use this recipe.

Ingredients [makes 1 pint of jam]:
2 pints strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
Start by chopping off the green bits of the berries and then cutting them into small pieces (halves and quarters are good).

Put your berries in a saucepan.
And then pour in some sugar and place over a medium heat (not too high, not to low). Then use a masher to start squishing them up.
Then, relax while you wait for the mixture to come to a boil.
I took a little video to show you how it should be boiling - the heat shouldn't be so low that the bubbles are slow and lazy but it shouldn't be so hot that the juices on the sides of the pan start to burn. Allow it to bubble furiously and boil for exactly 5 minutes. It should be thickened slightly and amazing.
Allow the jam to cool just a bit and then pour it into a sanitized mason jar and seal it up. This jam should last about 2 weeks before it'll start to attract mold (because it's undercooked).
Doesn't it look so pretty and red in the jar? Enjoy! By the way, you can use this same recipe and technique to make jam using raspberries or blackberries or almost any fruit. Be creative!
Here's the recipe page:

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