Did you know that May is National Strawberry Month? That’s a “holiday” I can get behind, especially now that strawberries are in season! So for the month of May, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite strawberry recipes, and I hope y’all will share some of your favorites, too!
I’m kicking it off with one of my favorites: strawberry jam.
I absolutely love strawberry jam. It’s one of my kitchen staples. I always have a jar on hand because it’s delicious with pretty much anything, at any meal of the day. And as good as some store-bought brands are, nothing beats a jar of homemade strawberry jam.
A few years ago, I experimented with apple butter; that was my first experience canning anything. I made a few batches with the bunch of apples I’d picked that year and was happy with what I’d made. In fact, I gave a jar to my grandparents and they ate it all in one day!
After my success with the apple butter, I figured that jam was my next venture. So the following spring when all my favorite fruits were in season, I stocked up and started playing with jamming and canning. I wasn’t quite as bad as Monica Geller in that one episode of FRIENDS, but I made enough that summer that I just used up my last jar recently.
My mother says that her grandmother (my great-grandmother) is smiling somewhere knowing that I’ve taken up canning.
Of all the flavors I made that summer, the classic strawberry jam was my favorite. It’s just so simple and easy, and it’s so easy to add and pair with other dishes. I love putting jam on top of some soft, creamy cheese like brie or camembert. That with some apple slices and nice crostini is the easiest appetizer ever, but it looks so fancy!
Here’s my recipe for a super-easy, delicious strawberry jam!
The recipe below makes a pretty small batch—about two, 8-ounce jars’ worth—but it can easily be doubled or tripled to make a larger batch! I’ve started keeping a supply of Ball mason jars at my apartment for whenever I feel like jamming.
Sorry, had to work that joke in here somewhere.
And as always, fresh-picked strawberries are the best, but it’s just as delicious with berries from the grocery store.
- 1 quart strawberries, cored and sliced
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 pouch pectin (I’ve used powdered and liquid)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp orange zest (optional but adds an incredible brightness and flavor)
To make it:
- If using fresh strawberries, wash and dry them before coring and slicing.
- Begin heating a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s warm, add strawberries and sugar and stir to coat the berries.
- Let the berries and sugar start cooking down for 5 minutes. Then add lemon juice, zest and pectin, and stir again.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir well and let the berry mixture cook down for 15 minutes. It should thicken up the longer it cooks.
- Once the jam has thickened, turn off the heat and let it cool.
- Pour cooled jam into clean jars. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or seal/can them via your preferred method and store at room temperature. It should last at least a year, if it sealed properly.
If you prefer a smoother jam, you can blend your fruit with an immersion blender (like this one) before canning. I usually blend mine about halfway and leave some bigger fruit pieces in there.
I use the boiling, hot water bath method for canning, mostly because I don’t own or trust pressure cookers, especially in an apartment. It’s pretty straightforward and easy. The Ball website has a great guide for this water bath process.
The process is pretty similar for whatever fruits and flavors you use. I can’t wait for peaches to be in season later in the summer; blackberry peach jam is so good.
Now tell me:
Have you ever made jam, or apple butter, or anything like it? What was your favorite flavor? How long did it last? What’s your favorite way to serve and eat it?
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