My strawberry plants have produced berries for the last three or four weeks. I don’t have too many plants but there are enough that nearly every day I can pick a cup or two of berries. I eat most of them with breakfast or as a snack but occasionally I save them for a day or two to make something with them.
I made jam a few days ago. It’s now sealed in jars and will remind me of summer when I open the jars throughout the dreary winter days.
There are several ways to make jam. For many years I used commercial pectin of one sort or another and made delicious jam. For the last several years though I’ve let the fruit’s natural pectin do its work. Along with the natural pectin, you let the fruit and sugar mixture simmer to eliminate liquid from the fruit to make a nice thick jam.
I like the idea of making jam in this more natural way, but it does take a little patience and experience to get it just right. It’s nice you can use any amount of fruit you have on hand. When you use commercial pectin you need to use the amount of fruit they specify so when you add the pectin packet it provides the correct amount of jelling power.
David Lebovitz has a recipe for Sour Cherry Jam that uses this method. When using strawberries (or any berry or soft fruit) you can skip his first cooking step. Since the berries are soft you can easily mash and measure them from the start.
For this most recent batch of strawberry jam I used 4 cups of mashed strawberries (I use a potato masher so that there are still some chunks of berry visible, but you can also use a food processor or blender); 3 cups of sugar, zest from one lemon and juice from two lemons.
I simmered the mixture about an hour to get it to the consistency I wanted. I ended up with 5 cups of jam.