I love making things you’d normally buy in the store. There’s something satisfying about breaking down a recipe into simple ingredients and building it back up into something that you thought you knew well. Applesauce, for instance. So insanely easy to make and a billion times tastier than what’s for sale in the store that I’m embarrassed for all those companies lying to themselves about the products they sell in those jars. Jam is another one.

I know jam isn’t complicated, but I recall my mother struggling like crazy with strawberry jam. It was an all day production (I think she was boiling her jars and making, like, metric shit tons of the stuff) and every time I would think, “Ooh, jam!” I’d immediately remember the huffing and sighing and cursing and turn away. Besides, I don’t eat that much jam.

Until today.

As part of Spencer Family Fun Day 2013 earlier this week, we took the little guy strawberry picking. The awesome thing about activities with a toddler is that you can’t spend a long time doing one thing, so after about 15 minutes I had 2 quarts and he’d shoved about a dozen into his face so we were both happy.

I wanted a quick jam recipe, something uncomplicated, and the internet is chock full of them. Here’s the one I chose, along with some lovely photos of the step by step:

Strawberry Jam 
recipe from Cooking Up A Story

  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 

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Isn’t that lovely? Now:

Put a small bowl or plate into the freezer to chill.

In a skillet, bring your ingredients to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly and skimming foam as necessary. I found it wasn’t necessary at all, but most recipes I read noted to skim the foam. Cook about 8-10 minutes, until mixture begins to look syrupy and thickens slightly.

 

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So pretty!

Spoon ½ teaspoon of the jam onto the cold plate and let it rest for 30 seconds. Tip plate to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is thin and runs down side of plate, the gel is too soft. Return skillet to heat and cook jam 1 to 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and repeat test.

Cool jam to room temperature before serving. Because a minimum amount of sugar is used, the jam needs to be refrigerated to prevent mold from forming. Refrigerate 2-3 weeks.

If it lasts that long, which if you also happen to have homemade biscuits hanging around as do we, it may not.

 

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originally posted on Six Week Sabbatical