Homemade spring vibrant sweet jam
Around the end of march the strawberries reach their peak in flavor and quantities, the markets get filled with loads of them, this is just the right time to go ahead and make strawberry jam.
For some, it might be a bit intimidating to make a jam at home but keep in mind that a homemade jam taste much better than the industrial ones and without all the preservatives added to the store-bought versions.
Guidelines for strawberry jam (and jams in general)
First thing i’m always emphasizing is that we are not making jams from the totten and old fruits that have been lying in the fridge for ages, we are making it from the best quality fruits we can find, only this way we can ensure great taste.
Getting the correct texture of the jam takes time, you don’t want it to get too runny or too jelly like , we want to be able to spread it on a toast easily and still hold its formation in a spoon.
The way to do so is by adding natures stabilizer called pectin, it exist in some fruits in high quantity, such as apples and lemons, you will see later on how we use them, you can also buy pectin, it comes in a powder and can be bought in specialized stores.
cooking time for the jam is not long, not more than 25 minutes, we don’t want to get the fruit all soggy, and we are after a vibrant color and zest.
Recipe for strawberry jam
- 1kg/ 2lb. washed strawberries (without the green top)
- 450g/ 1lb. sugar
- 55g/ 2oz. lemon juice (from 2 lemons, keep the lemon shells)
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- apple core
- 1 tbsp. pectin powder
- ½ vanilla pod or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
In my opinion the hardest part in making a strawberry jam is sterilizing the jars, it’s no big deal however you can do it in various ways, this step is essential to keep the jam bacteria free.
First step is optional and performed a night before making the jam, I recommend it because it will produce a sweet jam with lower amounts of sugar. In this step I place the jam ingredients except the apple core in a cowl and squash it a bit to extract the juice out of the strawberries. The sugar will react with the lemon and crushed strawberries which create a sweet syrup.
Second step the day after, place a flat plate in the freezer (you’ll see in a minute why), take out the strawberry slurry, place in a big sauce pan, add the apple core and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, skim out the foam on the top, cook for another 10 minutes.
Testing the jam
A simple and effective test for the right texture consistency is by taking a teaspoon of the jam and placing it on a cold plate (the one that we placed in the freezer earlier). By placing a teaspoon of the jam on the cold plate we imitate the jam’s behaviour later on when it’s chilled down. Run your finger making a line in the jam, if it’s not collapsing inside and stay stable, the jam is ready and you can take it of the heat, if the jam is covering your finger track, give it a few more minutes.
When the jam is ready distribute to the sterilized jam jars and keep in the fridge, the jam can be stay for up to a year in the fridge as long as we keep it clean and sterilized.