If you are looking for a simple, delicious strawberry jam recipe, I have an easy guide to making a simple three ingredient recipe without pectin for making your own strawberry jam.
Tried and ‘Tasted’ Strawberry Jam Recipe
I have been making homemade strawberry jam with this recipe for over a decade and for all those years family members have been pining for it between holiday visits. It is fantastic on scones, tea biscuits and a favourite on freshly baked croissants!
As a child, my mom and grandmother both made jam from fruit from my grandparents smallholding in Skeffling, East Yorkshire. Always striving for the best flavour with the least amount of effort, they made awesome strawberry jam.
How this easy 3 ingredient recipe works
This recipe is extremely simple, I have never mastered the art of using pectin in a jam recipe and have never really found it necessary. By boiling and reducing the jam in pan a little longer and adding lemon juice, you can have the same setting effect with just the natural fruit the pectin in the strawberries and you end up with a dense fruity jam.
The lemon juice in the recipe, enhances the setting effect of the little pectin the strawberries have naturally. Pectin is found in fruit mostly in the seeds and the amount of pectin gives the setting speed and strength of your preserves. Pectin varies depending on the type and variety of the fruit and how ripe the fruit.
Ripe fruit gives more juice and less pectin to a jam and under ripe fruit has more pectin and less juice, so it is good to use a mix. This works especially well if you are picking your own berries, with less trips to go out and pick, though it is heaven in the warm days of June.
What gives this Strawberry Jam it’s Outstanding Flavour?
Lemon just brings out the full flavour of the fruit and especially helps in this pectin free recipe as there is a little more sugar than fruit to help with setting and when a preserve is too sweet like the grocery store jam, it lacks that amazing taste you get from your own.
Part of having an exquisite flavour to your jam, is having homegrown or to fresh pick-your-own fruit at a pick your own farm. I have made jam with grocery store frozen strawberries but it is never as good as strawberry jam made with those you pick yourself. Frozen raspberries are a little more forgiving.
Some strawberry plant varieties are better than others with Kent being my absolute favourite for its large juicy delicious perfumed fruits. Glooscap is pretty good as well if you can find it to grow or pick. If you can find a pick your own place that will tell you their varieties, try them all, then order plants of your favourite variety. Thats how I discovered Kent. Pick your own farms are a great and wholesome family experience you will remember in the middle of winter when easting your wonderful straw berry preserves.
When strawberries are in season, I often do freeze our own fruit myself and make jam at my leisure. This is still better than the store bought under-ripe frozen fruit usually because my organic homegrown strawberries are much riper when picked and have more flavor and juice to add to the jam.
How to Make Fresh Strawberry Jam
1. Place 4 cups of crushed strawberries (with tops removed) in a large preserving kettle or pan (you can gently simmer to thaw frozen fruit)
2. Add 6 cups of granulated sugar to the strawberries
3. Add quarter of a cup of lemon juice and bring to a boil
4. Continued stirring and boiling for 10 to 20 min. to the jam stage (see below for jam test)
5. Stern and skim the jam froth for 5 min.
6. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal
This makes 6 cups of jam or six 250 mL jars and you can double this recipe, it may add a little to the boiling time
This is a handy tip when you’re making any jams or jellies. Before you start place a small plate in the freezer, I sometimes put two in the freezer if I think the jam is going to take a long time to be ready, For example a larger batch, or strawberry jam versus the fastest setting raspberry or blackcurrant that have more pectin than strawberry.
So this is where you need to learn this simple tip of telling if your strawberry jam is ready while it is still hot in the kettle or pan. When you think you are getting close to the jam being ready, the bubbles will become more glossy thick and last longer on the top of the jam. You’ll notice it is less watery and at this point you can test the jam. Put a drop of the sugary mixture onto the plate. Wait a couple of seconds, then push the jam with your finger if it wrinkles it is ready, if it does not wrinkle, boil for a little longer and try again.
Variations in technique
If you have a lot of over ripe fruit or make a double batch, this can even take as long as 30 min to be ready. Most canning recipes say not to double them so look out for that. I find jam made this way, can be a little darker in color due to the longer cooking than if you use pectin but is still absolutely amazing!
And the best pans for this have a very heavy thick bottom. Large stock or enamel pans are cheap but you will burn the jam with them, even if you are standing over it stirring.
The Enamel canner Kits are a great way to get your preserving equipment affordably and get a pan for processing less acidic fruits and vegetables, but consider a good heavy bottom stainless pan if you are serious about jam making. You’ll be able to use it for chilli, chutneys, salsa and your own pasta sauce too.
Good luck with your own home made strawberry am. I hope you try it this summer.
Strawberry Image courtesy of Printshop 2.0