We bought several pounds of strawberries at a local fruit stand in Gig Harbor. We decided to make strawberry jam.
We washed, hulled and chopped pounds upon pounds of strawberries.
We then looked up several recipes, and in my typical fashion, I announced that I knew how to make strawberry jam, and no, we didn’t need pectin. My mom made it all the time growing up and didn’t use pectin, I’d watched her. I called her. She didn’t answer. Oh well, we proceeded.
We added sugar to the hulled and chopped strawberries, brought them to a boil, and canned um up! That simple! Well, kind of. Let me tell you, that is how you make delicious Strawberry Topping, but that is NOT strawberry jam. We made about 24 1-quart jars of this Strawberry Delight as we came to call it.
Christina was a great sport and assured me she would buy pectin as soon as she got home to salvage them. We visited her grandmother and aunt the following week and popped open a can of Strawberry Delight. We had it over vanilla ice cream, and it was great, as a topping, but like I said, it certainly was not jam.
When I returned home to San Diego, I shared my Strawberry Delight with my brother. “Seriously Sally?” I get this from him a lot. It’s the big brother, you’re better than this tone. I like it, it keeps me on my toes.
“Don’t you remember when mom used to make this when we were little? She would let it simmer all afternoon. How long did you boil it for?” brother
“Oh, yea, I just brought it to a boil and then poured it.” me
“Here, we’ll fix it.” He poured one of the jars out onto a large frying pan and let it simmer for about half an hour until it was the perfect jam consistency! It was like magic. Or common kitchen sense, you choose.
So I have it for you now:
Pectin-Free, Simple Strawberry Jam
3 cups granulated sugar
2 pounds hulled strawberries
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
In a large bowl mash up the strawberries to your desired consistency. I prefer leaving big chunks but it’s personal preference, really.
In a big saucepan add all the ingredients over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Now simmer for a long time. I’ve read in some recipes that they measure their jam and once it gets to 220˚ F then it’s done, but I say just keep simmering and stirring, simmering and stirring until it reaches jam like consistency.
Pour it into sterilized jars, leaving enough head space(Home Canning FAQs: What is Headspace?). And close, you can place them in a water bath to airtight seal them for long term preservation (http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art2816.asp, great info for home canning!) , or if you are going to be eating it in the near future, you can simply put it in a jar, let it cool and refrigerate it.