Let no bread go unspread
EC: How to Make Jam in 20 Minutes
Credit: Photo by Matilda Lindeblad via Getty Images

It’s 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. You’ve pulled a crunchy English muffin from the toaster and cut a pat of butter onto each muffin half to melt. You head back to the fridge and grab your trusty jar of raspberry jam, twist off the lid, and—horror of horrors—the jar is nearly empty. It appears as though your roommate/significant other/child/parent used most of the jam for their breakfast, then proceeded to do the worst: put back the jar with barely enough jam to spread on a cracker. You feel the Hulk-like rage about to bubble over, but you can’t quite muster the energy. It is still early morning, and you still have no carbs or sugar in your stomach.

Don’t reach for the yogurt quite yet. If you have 20 minutes and some fruit in the fridge, you can make your own jam, and save that semi-naked English muffin from exposure.

If you rolled your eyes the moment you read “make your own jam,” put those peepers back in place. I’m not suggesting you make the jam of yore, with its sterile jars and simmering pots of water, in the early hours of the morning. Channel your inner Laura Ingalls Wilder another day, and try this simpler jamming method. It won’t last quite as long as the stuff from the store, but personally I don’t find “finish the jam sooner” to be a punishment.

First, decide on a fruit. A stone fruit like apricots, peaches, or plums will work nicely, or perhaps you’re in the mood for a blend of berries in various hues of purple and red. Even plain old strawberries will work like magic in this jam.

Wash 4 cups of fruit, place in a food processor, and pulse until the fruit is chopped small. This speeds up the time it would typically take for the fruit to break down during the cooking process. Alternatively you can roughly chop the fruit and let it macerate gently with ½ cup sugar for 10 minutes, but keep in mind that this will likely increase cooking time by 10 minutes or so.

If going the food processor route, place the chopped fruit in a heavy bottomed pot with ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and a big pinch of kosher salt. (If macerating, add the fruit and sugar mixture to the pot, then throw in all the other stuff just mentioned.) Cook the mixture over medium high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 10-15 minutes. If after 10 minutes the fruit is still lumpy, give it some help with a potato masher. When the jam has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon, take the pan off the heat. The jam will still seem thin, but will thicken as it cools.

Pour the jam into a clean, heat-safe glass jar and let cool with lids placed on the jars, but not tightly sealed. Once the jam has reached room temperature, slather it onto a freshly toasted English muffin (because let’s be real, you definitely already ate that first one, even if it wasn’t spread with jam). Store remaining jam in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.