When I looked in our fridge and saw four containers of strawberries, I knew that something had to be done. Perusing through the usual suspects of food websites, I came across plenty of possibilities. Strawberry cheesecake! Oh, but if I made that I knew I would just eat it all myself (I don’t share cheesecake with anyone… not even with Eric). Strawberry ice cream! Nah, it’s too cold for that. Strawberry salad! Well, maybe… but I couldn’t imagine eating that many berries in one sitting.
I had almost given up the search and decided to forget about the darn things. But then I came across a quick little recipe for biscuits and strawberry butter from Lindsay at Gingerbread Bagels and the light bulb flickered to life.
As you all know, I’m a big fan of scones and biscuits and anything that’s a vehicle for butter and jam. It’s my Sunday routine to whip up a batch while Eric takes the pup out for her morning walk. By the time he’s returned, the smell of fresh baked goods and brewing coffee has permeated throughout the apartment.
We’ve acquired a great deal of jams over the past few months, from friends and family… and from food bloggers. There’s been peach, pomegranate, kiwi , wild blueberry and many more. But the one missing from the mix has been strawberry.
This recipe from Ina Garten is as simple as it gets. There is minimal prep work, a limited amount of stirring, and it yields the ideal quantity (who wants to come out of the kitchen with a huge vat of jam… ok, maybe some of you do).
As you can see, there are very few ingredients needed to make this jam and the process is quite basic. The one minor alteration that I made was to the amount of sugar that’s called for. Two cups seemed a bit steep, so I notched it back a bit. And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think it needed the extra half a cup.
Fresh Strawberry Jam
adapted from the recipe by Ina Garten via the Food Network
yields 2 pints
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. (I keep one in the freezer.) Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated. Use immediately, or follow proper canning guidelines below.
Tips on Sterilizing Jars:
Properly-handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.
Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.
To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Or, boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.
Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water or the oven. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.
As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.