Jam Away – Strawberry style

The jam of choice from my family’s household was always strawberry. I remember growing up and seeing a pot of strawberry jam simmering away on the stove – and it was always the best jam ever! My mom hasn’t made jam in FOREVER (not since we were in grade school), and she probably doesn’t even remember how to do it anymore.

I’ve been chasing after this elusive “homemade Strawberry jam” taste for a WHILE – hitting up organic markets, farmer’s markets, shops in Paris, and while some have come really close, it was never that taste of my mom’s jam. Then it hit me – I COULD MAKE MY OWN. Crazy right??

So I bought several pounds of organic strawberries and went to work! This was so easy and SO DELICIOUS.

P1020709I started out with 1.5lbs of strawberries, a lemon (which I only used half of), and sugar. Washed and hulled the strawberries, and mashed these babies up with a potato masher.

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I put a dishtowel underneath the bowl to keep it from slipping away from me as I did this. And the next time I do this, I’m just going to throw it all into a food processor or blender, this was a lot of work! Then I put the mashed berries all into a pot. It smelled so good. And I noticed how little it looked in the pot, so I grabbed another 1.5lbs of strawberries, quickly washed and hulled them, and mashed those and added them to the pot!

I zested and juiced half the lemon, and along with FOUR CUPS OF SUGAR, I mixed it all up in the pot.

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In other news – I have almost no more sugar in my house. FOUR CUPS! I thought this was INSANE (and maybe I’ll reduce it down to maybe 3 cups next time?), but the various blogs/recipes I read up on no-pectin strawberry jam all suggested a similar amount of sugar. The lemon and sugar helps the jam to “jell” without the use of gelatin or pectin, and I was going for something that resembled my mom’s jam so went with it.

I put the pot on the stove and brought it to a rolling boil.

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Look at it go! I skimmed the foam off (and just started eating that with a spoon as I watched and stirred my jam). Be careful and use the tallest pot you got – I got hit a few times by bubbling jam and that HURTS. And my stove is speckled with flecks of it right now!

Put a plate in the freezer. After about 20-30 minutes, the jam should have reached it’s jelling phase. That’s what the frozen plate is for! Checking the jell! If you look below, you can see that I did the cold plate test SEVERAL times before it finally came to where you want it to be. Put a small spoonful of the goodness on the plate.

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Then run your finger through the middle. If it separates and doesn’t run back together, your jam is ready!

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YAAAAAAY! Notice how much the jam has reduced and how much DARKER it looks compared to when it was first bubbling away?

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I haven’t taught myself to can yet – I’ve honestly been scared to can ever since I read a story about a woman who mistakenly killed her entire family with botulism by a bad jar of preserves in my food science class. SERIOUSLY, this HAPPENS. So this is just refrigerated jam! Jam for the fridge.

I was able to fill up three jars with the 3 lbs of strawberries:

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One for us, one for my brother, and the smallest for my grandmother. It ended up working out perfectly!

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I ate several spoonfuls of this before I put the lids on and put them in the fridge. Yum yum yum!

Strawberry jam tastes like home to me. What tastes make you think of your childhood?

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