It’s strawberry season and I have been wanting to make homemade strawberry jam since the leaves started turning last fall. I had read about how easy it is to make, so I decided to check out Barefoot Contessa’s recipe (I love her!), which calls for lemon juice, lemon rind, sugar and of course, strawberries. Sounded easy enough.
I’ll admit it took me a couple tries to get the jam to actually set to that viscous gelatin-like texture we all love. My first attempt came out really tasty, but incredibly runny. Have you heard of pectin before? I hadn’t, but Healing Cuisine by Elise was very informative.
I have a habit of using much less sugar than recipes call for because I tend to shy away from over-sweetness. I figured since the strawberries were delicious on their own, I’d go easy on the sugar. With jam however, you really do need to use the amount of sugar the recipe calls for (or you can substitute the sugar with a low-sugar pectin) because it gives it that thick, gooey richness that gels with the toast perfectly.
On my second attempt, I used the exact amount of sugar the recipe required and it turned out sweet, tangy and delicious.
1.5 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
2 cups sugar
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1. Place a plate in the freezer.
Note: You’ll want to use a very cold plate to test the juice to see that it gels together.
2. Combine the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a sauce pan.
3. Cook and stir over very low heat, for 10-15 minutes, until sugar is dissolved.
4. Add the strawberries and continue to cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes.
5. The strawberries will release their juices and the mixture should start to boil slowly.
6. Continue to cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate.
Note: Remove plate from freezer to test this out.
7. Pour the juice and strawberries into pint-sized jars and keep refrigerated until it sets completely.
8. The jam should be good for about 2 weeks.
All images © Regan Baroni 2015.