Strawberry time! For me, it’s Strawberry Jam time!The farmers market is overflowing with these luscious beauties. Now is the best time to use strawberry in all your dishes. Whip up a salad a with bitter greens, strawberries, candied pecans with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Or make a delicious strawberry torte. Or strawberry ice cream. Or, or just strawberries with cream? The possibilities are endless!
Garden Strawberry aka Fragaria ananassa is not technically a berry, as the fleshy part of the fruit comes from the receptacle of its ovaries, not the ovary itself as for the other berries. Strawberry cultivation from wilderness to the garden variety started in Europe in 1300’s.
All the strawberries we eat today are hybrids, the result of the crossing of Virginia and Chilean varieties for more hardier plants with a sweet succulent flesh. Crops take 8 to 14 months to mature. Today, nearly half of the national production (about 3 million pounds) of USA comes from California with Florida being a close second.
And so living in California, whose climate is so ideal for the growth of strawberries, how can I resist these beautiful almost berries? My choice to start this season as always, is, Strawberry Jam! My homage to this tempting fruit with a spectacular taste. And this year my beautiful junior chef, joined in the fun – cutting, measuring, and waiting for the magic to happen!
I store my jam in mason jars after sterilizing them. You can find the instructions on “how to“ here. Dont forget to air dry the containers which means no wiping them with a cloth. These jams are best kept stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Don’t reduce the amount of sugar. Ideally the rule for jam making is 1LB fruit = 1 LB Sugar. Sugar is necessary for binding the jam. Strawberries are low in pectin and ripe strawberries are even more so.
- Don’t skip the lemon. It is naturally high in pectin and it’s acidity helps cut through the sweetness of the jam
- Don’t skip the marinating time either. Minimum 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator is even better, giving the fruit, the time to release its beautiful juice and develop flavor.
Fresh Strawberry Jam
Yield – 5 Jars (8 ounces)
What do I need? – Ingredients
- 3 LB (Pounds) Fresh Strawberries (Farmers Market is an Excellent place to buy)
- 21/2 LB (Pounds) Sugar
- Juice of 1 Lemon (keep the lemon halves)
- A large Dutch Oven or similar heavy bottomed vessel that hold twice the amount of fruit
- Kitchen Scale
- 8 Ounce Mason Jars (You can use any jar as long as you sterilize and air dry them)
Now lets make this! – Procedure
- Place a plate in the freezer to test the jam for its doneness.
- Wash the strawberries, cut the stem and cut them into halves or quarters depending on the size of the strawberries. Keep a few aside for the chef to munch on
- Measure the amount of strawberries and sugar.
- Combine the sugar, strawberries and lemon juice, lemon halves and let it marinate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Transfer to the Dutch oven and cook on medium to medium -high. The jam does not take long to thicken, so keep an eye on it.
- Mash the fruit as it softens. Keep stirring till reaches the consistency of room temperature honey.
- Take a small amount of jam and test it on the plate kept in freezer. It will thicken and wrinkle. Now the jam is done.
- Take the lemon halves out and ladle the strawberry jam into prepared jars. Absolutely yummylicious on everything!
How to Store : The jam stores for 3 months in the refrigerator and unto to a year in the freezer.