Jun 08 2011

Adventures in Canning: Strawberry Jam

Several Saturdays ago, we brought a cardboard box up the farmers market.  We planned to bring home pints of strawberries and didn't want to risk bruising the fruit or staining our clothes.  We picked up an extra pint for snacking, with the rest (6 pints in total) slated to become strawberry jam.

After munching on a few berries to stave off low blood sugar, I took the already sweet berries and began the process of macerating them in sugar and lemon juice.  A lot of sugar. 9 cups worth of sugar. So much sugar that we both re-read the recipe several times and felt anxious for the next few hours, thinking we had someone already messed up.  Luckily, when we returned 3 hours later, the berries had started the process of absorbing the sugar and I felt much more stable about the situation.

As you might have guessed, this jam recipe delivers supremely sweet strawberry jam.  Not too sweet--just sweet enough.  It hovers on that line;  another half cup of sugar would officially make the jam too sweet.  When I make this again, I plan on using one cup less of sugar--but ultimately, this is completely personal preference.

We've now gone through several jars of this jam and have enjoyed topping our morning toast with this sweet syrupy concoction.  The key to this particular jam is patience (the strawberries need to macerate for up to 8 hours) and time (you'll want to can your strawberries the day you get them).  There were no hiccups with this recipe--the jell point took approximately 45 minutes and canning proceeded without a hitch.

I was just at Union Square Greenmarket today and half of the farmers were selling perfect looking (and tasting!) strawberries.  If you have some spare time this weekend, get preserving!

Strawberry Jam

Adapted from Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it

Makes 8 8-ounce jars


6 pints of fresh strawberries

9 cups sugar (*you can reduce to 8 and still be fine)

3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

lemon rinds


Wash and chop the berries.  We halved or quartered them, depending on the size.  Toss these berries with sugar and lemon juice--add all ingredients gradually, so you're not left with a big lump of sugar on top.  Let the berries macerate for 4-8 hours.

Transfer the strawberries to a large stockpot, adding the saved lemon rinds.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil for 3 minutes.  Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Skim off some of the foam that surfaces.

Are you storing it?

If so, allow the jam to cool in the pot and then transfer it to a baking dish.  Remove the lemon rinds and let the jam sit overnight--stir occasionally (like overtime you walk by it, for example).  The jam will thicken over night.  Then transfer to jars and store in your refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Are you canning it?

Before putting the stockpot with berries to a boil, start heating the water in the canner and prep your jars, lids, rings, and paper towels.  Simmer your jam to jell point--220/221.  Test jell point by putting a plate in the freezer, putting a dollop of jam on it, and pushing it to see if it wrinkles.  It took 45 minutes for the mixture to reach jell point.  Ladle into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.