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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wash, hull, and halve berries. Place them in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan.
Add 3 cups white sugar.
Then add the juice of 2 lemons.
Mash it all up with a potato masher over high heat.
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).
Let jam cool. The foam will dissolve, and you can stir it in.
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.