Hi guys! So uh…it’s been a long time since my last post, huh? A month and a half, to be precise. Sorry about that! At first I was planning to just take a break from posting for one weekend, but then things got really busy at work and I didn’t have any energy/desire to cook (much less stage and take a bunch of photos), and the next thing I knew I was having this Gchat conversation with Sarah:
Sarah: Oh hey. Have you ever seen this blog before?
Sarah: Used to be one of my favs, but she never posts anymore.
Me: I’M IN A SLUMP, GAWD.
Message received, Sarah! Time to get back on the blogging boat…
…starting with a big batch of strawberry jam. Which, if we’re being honest here, I actually made three weeks ago. I just never got around to photographing or blogging about it. Oops!
Anyway, jam is something I’ve always wanted to make but never tried because canning/jarring the finished product seemed like such a process. Sealing jars against microbes, etc. is important and all, but…boiling glass jars full of hot jam? That sounded like something I would definitely mess up and injure myself with (I’m pictures shards of glass everywhere, including my body).
Lucky for me, I finally came across David Lebovitz‘s fool-proof recipe for strawberry jam, which offered an alternative to the traditional methods of sealing jam jars. No need to worry about exploding glass jars? Hurray! Homemade strawberry jam (without mold or glass shards) for everybody!
The recipe, which was unbelievably fast and easy, made about 4 decent-sized jars of the most perfect tangy-sweet, tongue tingling-ly delicious jam. Dan, who is apparently half bloodhound when it comes to anything strawberry-related, kept coming into the kitchen to steal spoonfuls of the stuff before it even finished cooking. And after it was done cooking? All bets were off.
So far, we (Dan, mostly) have consumed three whole jars of our jam in as many weeks. I had planned to give some of it away to friends, but someone nixed that idea immediately. So instead we’ve been eating it ourselves straight out of the jar with a spoon, over ice cream, and on top of various baked desserts. For brunch this weekend, I made buttermilk biscuits, and we devoured them with butter and (of course) loads of jam.
With only one measly jar of this fruity ambrosia left in the fridge, I think it’s time to make more, don’t you? What flavor should we try next?
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- 2 lbs strawberries, washed/dried, hulled and cut into quarters
- 2-2/3 cups white sugar
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp bourbon or whiskey (optional)
- Boil a few cups of water.
- Pour boiling water into your jars, as well as the lids. (I used 4 jars)
- Allow jars/lids to sit for 5-10 minutes with the boiling water in them, then carefully pour the water out.
- Set jars/lids upside down on a cooling rack to dry until they are ready to fill
- Place your sliced strawberries + sugar into a large pot.
- Cut your lemon in half, squeeze the juice from both halves into the pot, and toss the squeezed lemon halves into the pot with the berries.
- Stir mixture well, cover, and let it sit a couple of hours (up to 8 hours) at room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- While you are waiting for your berries to marinate, place a small plate in the freezer. (You will use this later to test the readiness of your jam.)
- Place your pot of strawberries on the stove, over medium-high heat and cook them until the mixture reduces and the juices thicken, stirring occasionally. If a lot of foam rises to the surface, skim it off.
- When the berry syrup is the consistency of warm maple syrup (after approx. 10-15 minutes), turn off your stove and put a spoonful of the jam on the plate you had in the freezer, then return the plate to the freezer.
- Check on the jam after a few minutes - if it wrinkles when you nudge it, it’s done. If not, return the plate to the freezer, turn your stove back on, and cook your pot of jam a little more, testing it again. (It may take a few tries before you get the consistency you want).
- When the jam is done, take out the lemon halves and stir in your bourbon/whiskey (if using), then spoon/pour the jam into your prepared jars.
- Follow the National Center for Home Food Preservation's instructions on how to can/store fruit jams; OR
- Once your jars are filled with jam, screw the lids on tightly, flip the jars upside down, let them cool (which provides a reasonable seal, according to David Lebovitz), and store them in the fridge. David says that his jams keep well this way for up to one year - I wouldn't know, because Dan ate all of our jam in less than a month.
(Recipe from David Lebovitz)