A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Straight-forward Strawberry Jam

It's true, in California you can get fresh strawberries year round.  However, this time of year they just taste better.  It feels like this is strawberry season.  Maybe it's the east-coaster in me.  Maybe it's just really good strawberries.  Whatever it is, I eat a ton of them this time of year.  And I hoard them.  I freeze them for smoothies and preserve them in silky, sweet jams.  I just can't get enough.

I love a straight-forward homemade strawberry jam.  It's perfect on a warm biscuit, over vanilla ice cream,  on toast or french toast or a fresh bran muffin, on oatmeal, mixed in yogurt.  Or savored (once in a while) by the spoonful. 

This recipe is adapted from the Children's Strawberry Jam recipe in Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, by Rachel Saunders.

4 pounds of strawberries, tops cut off (this is equal to about 5 pints)
2 pounds, 10 ounces sugar
3 and 2/3 ounces lemon juice
2 and 2/3 ounces lime juice (or just use more lemon juice)

Canning equipment (if you plan to preserve the jam in jars that you can store in the cupboard,

1. Put several spoons in the freezer on a plate (these will be to test the jam later).

2. In your large pot (mine is an 8-quart soup pot; Saunders recommends 11 or 12 quarts),  mix the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.  Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture gets juicy and starts to foam up at the edges.

3. Turn the heat up to high, stirring often.  Boil the strawberry mixture on high for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring and scraping the pot frequently to prevent burning or sticking.

4. After about 25 minutes, the strawberry mixture will stop foaming as much and will take on a shiny glean (it should be about 220 degrees F).  Keep it boiling vigorously for another 5 minutes.

5. Remove from heat.  Using one of your chilled spoons, take 1/2 spoonful out and place it on the plate in the freezer.  Let the mixture cool for a couple minutes -- test the bottom of the spoon, it should no longer be warm, but also not too cold.  Tilt the spoon -- if the jam runs loosely off the spoon, it needs a few more minutes of boiling.  If not, it's ready to put into jars.

6. Put jam into sterilized jars and seal safely.  To learn more about canning preserves safely, check out The National Center for Home Food Preservation or this great book: Putting Food By


  1. Beautiful jam, and I LOVE you're tablecloths!

  2. Thanks! It's beautiful -- great for gifts... and also so delicious that it's difficult to keep around as gifts. As for the cloths: I pick up pretty napkins, place-mats and fabric pieces whenever I see something interesting and a good deal. I don't have matching linens for dinner parties, but I have lots for photos :)