As delicious as fresh jam is, you don't always want a freezer full of it. This easy recipe makes just enough for you and for a gift.
3 1/2 pounds strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
2 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon, quartered
How to Make It
Mix all ingredients in a heavy medium pot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit releases juices, about 30 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring as needed to prevent sticking, until thick and slightly darker, about 1 1/2 hours.
Chill jam in airtight containers up to 1 month, freeze up to 6 months, or process according to Sunset canning methods (sunset.com/canning).
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
Try these variations:
Rose: Stir in 2 to 2 1/2 tsp. rose water at the end.
Rhubarb: Replace 1 lb. strawberries with chopped rhubarb.
Black pepper: Simmer berries with 2 tsp. crushed peppercorns.
I've made this recipe three times now and have never used a thickener. In fact, I substitute honey for white sugar, cup for cup, and I still don't need a thickener. You'll want to heat the jam on medium-low for the first half hour, then medium for the next hour and a half. You want it to be simmering pretty good or else the liquid cannot reduce. Two full hours on the stove with a good simmer produces a lovely jam that thickens more as it cools, and after a couple of hours in the fridge, it's perfect for spreading.
The first batch I made, I added thinly sliced fresh lemon basil in the last 5 minutes of cooking. The second time, I added a couple of peaches and an extra 1/4 cup of honey. Today, my third time making the recipe, I added a few pinches of cinnamon. It's excellent jam.
Don't be scared off by the 1-star review. You DON'T need a thickener. Just be sure it's bubbling away on the stove for that last hour and a half and you'll have a great jam!