Strawberry Jam Recipe

Yields: About 2-3 half-pint jars
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30-45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe strawberries (about 4 cups when crushed)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional, enhances flavor)

Equipment

  • Large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot
  • Potato masher or large fork
  • Sterilized jars with lids and rings (half-pint size works well)
  • Ladle
  • Small plate

Canning tools (optional, but helpful)

Instructions

Prepare the strawberries:

  • Wash and hull the strawberries.
  • Crush the strawberries in batches using a potato masher or large fork. You want some chunks for texture, but it shouldn’t be too chunky.

Make the jam:

  • In your saucepan, combine crushed strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt (if using). Stir well over low heat.
  • Increase heat to medium and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. This is a boil that doesn’t stop when stirred. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • Maintain a strong boil, stirring often, for about 30-45 minutes. The mixture will thicken and reduce.

Testing for doneness:

  • Plate test: Place a small plate in the freezer. Once the jam has been cooking for a while, put a small spoonful on the chilled plate. Let it cool 1-2 minutes. Tilt the plate; if the jam wrinkles and moves slowly, it’s likely ready. If it’s still thin and runny, continue cooking.
  • Thermometer test: For the most precise result, use a candy or digital thermometer. The ideal setting temperature for jam is 220 degrees F (105 degrees C) at sea level. Remember that temperature will increase slightly as the jam cools.

Canning (optional):

  • Have your sterilized jars and lids ready.
  • Remove jam from heat. Skim off any foam with a spoon.
  • Carefully ladle the hot jam into the warm jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace at the top.
  • Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place lids and rings on tightly.
  • Process jars in a water bath canner according to safe canning guidelines (if you are unfamiliar, skip this step and store your jam in the refrigerator).

Storing:

  • Without canning: Allow jars to cool completely at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
  • With canning: Properly canned jam can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Tips

  • For the best flavor, use the ripest strawberries you can find. Locally-grown and in-season berries are ideal.
  • If you like a smoother jam, you can puree a portion of the strawberries before cooking.
  • To ensure a good set, don’t reduce the amount of sugar significantly.
  • For a flavor variation, add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or a pinch of ground cinnamon with the sugar.

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