Jam….the word reminds me of days as a kid, where the only jam we had in India was ‘Kissan Mixed Fruit Jam’. Having it for breakfast with Amul butter was one of the childhood food memories I cherish. It was the ‘meal’ I made for my little brother when my parents where out and I was very proud of it. Fast forward several years, and I make Jam sandwiches for my little one, whose favorite fruit is strawberry. He would eat strawberries like it were a meal, devouring pounds at a time. Due to this love for strawberries, we always have a stock at hand, and sometimes even an over abundance.
With summer here, the stores are overflowing with really good fresh strawberries, and for a very good price. I picked up a few boxes for my son, and also with the hope of making Strawberry Jam. This is a 100% natural, no preservatives, no pectin, no artificial colors or flavors – Jam. And, it is so easy to make it. I was skeptical about trying out something like Jam first, but looking at the different options, I am converted. Jam making is by far the easiest and fun things you can do.
I have listed out the steps, such that even if you are a Jam novice like me, you will find it easy. Hope it helps..
1 lb fresh strawberries, washed
2 cups sugar
a clean, sterilized bottle to store the jam
Place a small plate in the freezer.
Take a big pot(3-4 quart) for making the jam. Although the quantity of the jam/strawberries is less, there is some foaming/boiling involved – so safe to use a big pot – preferably NOT non-stick.
Place 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the zest of the lemon and the juice of the entire lemon(ensure you don’t get the seeds) in the pot. Set this over low heat and let cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. (This took about 6-8 minutes for me.)
Place a wooden spoon in the pan to help stir and also prevent spill overs.
While the sugar mixture boils, chop the strawberries and place them in a bowl. I divided the strawberries into three batches – each batch was cut to different sizes. I chopped one batch very small pieces(the size of corn/peas), one batch was coarsely chopped, and the last were just quartered. This is because I wanted some texture to the jam. If you want your jam to be smooth, chop all of them in the same size, use a hand blender/food processor to crush them. I would suggest not using a blender, coss you will end with just strawberry juice.
Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sugar over the strawberries and gently mash with a fork. The mixture is still chunky – but mashed and juicy.
Add the strawberries to the sugar mixture. Turn the heat up to medium high. Wait for the mixture to come to a rolling boil. It will bubble and foam up. At this point, set your timer to 10 minutes. Keep stirring, until the foam/bubble dies down and the mixture thickens a bit. At the end of 10 minutes, the mixture is still runny, but it is time for the test. Take the plate out of the freezer and pour about a tsp of the mixture onto the cold plate. Run your finger through the middle of the puddle of jam, drawing a straight line. If the line you drew, stays clear, it means the jam has gelled. If it doesn’t and the liquid comes together to close on the line, then it means you have to let the jam cook a bit longer. Repeat the same test, to confirm. It took exactly 10 minutes for me.
Switch off the stove. Let the jam cool completely and bottle in a sterilized jar.
Traditionally, the sterilization process is followed for the bottle and the lid, but I was planning to keep it in the refrigerator, and it would last there for at least 2 months.
Verdict: The taste of home made fresh jam is incomparable to the store bought varieties. It was sweet, tart, tangy ands full of strawberry goodness. I am so glad I tried it out, a slice of bread smeared with warm jam – was just heavenly! If you’re planning to have guests over for brunch/breakfast, make some homemade jam, it will blow them out of this world!Pin It