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Monday, June 14, 2010

Embarrassingly Simple Strawberry Jam

It is officially strawberry time here in the Northeast. If you take a trip to the farmers market this week you'll almost certainly see rows and rows of neatly lined up cartons filled with bright red, fragrant little berries. If you're a big strawberry fan, now is the time to go a little crazy. They are just so good and so sweet right now. Plus, buying strawberries while they are in season usually results in a lower price point as well. Win, win.

Also, strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids. Makes them just a little sweeter, doesn't it?

When choosing strawberries, look for berries that are firm and fragrant with bright green tops and little or no white flesh (strawberries do not continue ripening after they are picked). Check the carton for any staining, as staining can be the sign of a mushy berry or over ripeness. T
hey perish quickly, so store them in the refrigerator wrapped in or on paper towels. Wash them just before you are going to eat them and do not remove the stems until after they are cleaned (removing the stems before washing will allow water to seep into the berry, causing it to loose some of its vitamin C content and become waterlogged).

When making jam, the rule of thumb is to use 1 part fruit to 1 part sugar but I tend to use a little more fruit than sugar to cut back on the sweetness. But don't cut back too much, not enough sugar will inhibit the jam from thickening properly. And lemon juice and zest also help to balance out the sweetness.

So, if you find yourself with an excess of strawberries, and limited time to utilize/consume them, go
ahead and make this jam. And this jam is the jam (sorry, had to). It's a great way to extend the shelf life of the berries. This recipe is so simple, I'm almost embarrassed to post it, but what the heck? It makes pretty darn good jam.

Embarrassingly Simple Strawberry Jam

2 pints fresh strawberries, stems remove & halved
2 cups sugar
1 lemon, zest & juice

Combine sugar, lemon juice and zest and cook on stove top over the lowest possible flame until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 10 minutes). Add in the halved strawb
erries and cook for 35-45 mins over low heat or until the strawberries have broken down and the mixture starts to thicken. If the strawberry pieces are still a little big, feel free to give it break them up a little with a potato masher.

To test for doneness, pour a small amount of the boiling jam onto a cold plate and place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. If the jam gels, it is ready. Pour into jars and either refrigerate and use within a week or preserve by following canning guidelines (

1 comment:

  1. I made a few jars of this jam last week and it was very tasty. I really like the hint of lemon, and I cut back on the sugar by half, as I am not a big fan of very sweet things (except of course, my children). There was a warning of the jam not thickening properly, bit that's ok, I like it just the same. It is great over ice cream and works over peanut butter.