Saturday, May 2, 2009

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jam

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Internet, I am tired. Really, really tired. Wait, just a second - my grumpy 5 week old baby who has been fussing for 2 hours seems to have spit his pacifier out again. Be right back.

...

ok. So? Where were we? Oh, right. I'm so tired. ... Wait. OMG. He spit it out again. Be right back.

...

So. Babies? SO MUCH WORK. I think that if I can make my own strawberry jam in the middle of all this, you surely can too.


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This week we finally made it to the farmer's market in our town. We had previously gone in January (hahah! Because there is SO much produce in season cum January) and were less than impressed. But THIS week! This glorious week! The booths were overflowing with the freshest, ripest, most beautiful strawberries I have ever seen. Strawberries that were just picked, this morning. If you have been buying strawberries at the grocery store, STOP. Just stop. Because the strawberries at the farmers market were sweeter, riper, softer, AND cheaper. They literally melted in our mouths. I paid 2$ a pint for freshly picked, local, certified organic strawberries, the best strawberries I have ever had. The grocery store charges $2.75 a pint for hard, sour, unripe, pesticide coated strawberries that have been shipped half-way across the country. You do the math on this one, but I think the farmer's market strawberries are going to come out ahead. Plus, more of my $ went into the farmer's pockets and back into my community to support MY neighbors, instead of going to support the huge agribusinesses.


Nate and I made strawberry jam for the first time last September. I had bought a flat of late summer berries at a discount, and they had to be used RIGHT AWAY. Jam was really the only thing I could think of that would require so many berries, so, we made some.

OMG.

Once you have had homemade jam, there is NO going back. It is just SO much better than grocery store jam. And you know what? It's really, ridiculously easy. You don't even need to can it (which, I understand, can be scary and intimidating). You can freeze it, or you can make a small batch and stick it right into your fridge. I mean, if I can do it while caring for my grumpy, feed-me, hold-me, burp-me, change-me, comfort-me newborn baby, I think you can too.

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Homemade, Fresh Strawberry Jam

One of the great things about strawberry jam is that you don't need much more than strawberries and a few things you have around the house. Do you have white sugar? Do you have lemons? Do you have some strawberries? Then you are good to go! You don't even need anything fancy like canning jars or pectin.

This recipe is really just a formula - for 1 pint strawberries / 3/4 cup sugar / half a lemon. It's that simple. For the rest of this post, I am going to just tell you what I made, but if you have more or less strawberries, just adjust your recipe accordingly.




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Start with 4 pints strawberries. Make sure they are fresh, ripe, and luscious. They should be ripe all the way up, with no white at the tops. It's ok if they are a little bruised here and there (strawberries are so delicate), but cut out any rotten bits, and definitely throw away any that have mold.



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Wash, hull, and halve berries. Place them in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan.



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Add 3 cups white sugar.



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Then add the juice of 2 lemons.



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Mash it all up with a potato masher over high heat.



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Bring it to a boil. If it gets foamy on top... You have FAILED. No, no, JUST KIDDING! Foaming is normal. Keep at a low boil for 20-40 minutes. You know it's done when the jam gels up on a cold surface. Put a droplet on a pint of icecream. Does it gel? It's done! (What? I don't exactly keep a cold plate in my freezer at all times).



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Let jam cool. The foam will dissolve, and you can stir it in.



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You can jar it, tupperware it, freeze it, you eat it right out of the pot. Whatever you do with it, I promise it will be delicious.

13 comments:

  1. I have been wanting to try making my own jam, and now, here you are reminding me of this fact. As soon as I can find some good, fresh, cheap fruit that doesn't get eaten immediately, I will give it a go. Thanks!

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  2. I'm making this right now with 2 pints of strawberries. I like making jam without unnatural pectin. I use chopped apple for pectin, but I'm going to try it your way his time around. Thanks!

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  3. Memoria - did it turn out? Was it good?? :)

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  4. Can I do this with blueberries too?

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  5. itsyBitsy - I don't see why not! :) The only thing I'm not sure about is whether you need added pectin or not to make it thicken up - pectin occurs naturally in most fruits, but it's particularly high in green apples and lemon pulp. I don't know how runny blueberry jam is without pectin. You might want to use some pectin powder or put some apple slices or lemon pulp in a mesh baggie and simmer it with the jam. Then pull the apple/lemon out before you jar/can/freeze it. Hope that helps!

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  6. I thought it was an excellent blog, that information has been very helpful in my life, I am a strawberries lover, so I really enjoyed this reading, the strawberries taste is so delicious! Thanks for this great moment!

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  7. Hey great stuff, thank you for sharing this useful information and i will let know my friends as well.

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  8. I see that Blackwells in Oxford appear to have plenty as well so no hanging around if you are int hat area...go get

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  9. Once you make this, how long does it last in the frig before it goes bad?

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    Replies
    1. The standard answer for this question is one month.

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  11. Really great recipe! I tried it last night. I added only 1/4 cup of sugar, and that was too much. I guess this years strawberries were really juicy and sweet! I like your option without the pectin - thanks so much.

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