Carlo and I decided to take advantage of all the juicy strawberries at the Farmers’ Market right now by making our own Homemade Strawberry Jam. Maybe it is the English in me, but there sometimes isn’t anything better tasting than a nice slice of toast with butter and jam. So many jams that you buy at the store are filled with tons of artificial ingredients, but this recipe from the great book, Preserved, only consists of three ingredients, strawberries, lemons, and sugar, which always makes for better and more flavourful products. Plus it was surprisingly easier to make than both of us thought.
Homemade Strawberry Jam, from Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton’s Preserved
6 1/2 lbs strawberries, hulled
juice of 2 lemons
5 1/2 lbs white sugar
Cut up your strawberries and chop off the stalks. Place them in a large pot along with the lemon juice and gently boil them for an hour or so until the volume has reduced by about 10%.
Once they look like this, add all of the sugar and continue to boil the mixture until the temperature rises to the setting point of 220 F degrees. We really had to crank up the heat on the burner to get the mixture up to this high of a temperature, but we eventually got there.
To see if your jam has reached its setting point, or the temperature when the sugar develops a new consistency, put a plate into the freezer for a few minutes. Take the plate out and pour a little of the jam’s syrup on to the plate. Let the syrup cool for a moment and then push a trail through the middle of the syrup with your finger. If the jam crinkles and the two halves remain separate, the jam has reached setting point. If the two sides of the syrup come back together, continue boiling the mixture for another five minutes and then try again.
Once the jam has reached setting point, skim any scum from the top and remove the pot from the heat. Leave the jam until a skin has formed on the surface. Stir the skin into the jam, and then pour the mixture into jars.
To sterilize your jars or bottles, wash them in soapy water, rinse them thoroughly, and then immerse them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Dry them in a cool or recently switched-off oven. Be sure to sterilize the lids, seals, and any funnels that you may use to put the jam in the jars.
Fill up the jars with jam while they are still hot from the sterilization process. Funnel the still-warm jam into the jar and fill to within a half-inch of the top of the jar. Wipe the jar rim and gently smooth a disc of waxed paper, cut to fit the aperture of the jar, onto the surface of the jam. Screw on the lid and your jam is ready!
Store the jam in a cool place and the jars will keep for at least a year.
Then you will get to enjoy delicious fresh made strawberry jam in the morning on your toast. The jam tasted incredible and I love the big chunks of strawberries in it. I thought it would be overly sweet from the huge amount of sugar that the recipe called for, but the end result was the perfect balance between being sweet and honoring the natural taste of the fruit.
We halved the recipe and filled up 2.5 pint jars with jam at a cost of 30 cents per ounce.