I about fell off my chair in excitement when I saw that one of my favorite farm stands was just starting to pick their first batch of Michigan strawberries. If you haven’t had one before, get in your car and come get some. They are tiny little berries that have enormous sweet flavor. Sure a bit tedious to prep with their tiny tops but worth every sway back and forth as you hull and wash. Right now they are a bit pricy ($5/quart) so I only bought 3, enough to snack on and then toss into one jar of jam. I LOVE canning and strawberry season kicks it off. However I am going to wait until I can reasonably purchase an entire flat and make a morning of it.
That being said, I couldn’t help my craving for fresh homemade strawberry jam. My mom used to whip up the crunchy sugary freezer jam *which I love but I didn’t have enough to make a freezer batch and I didn’t want to haul out all my canning gear for one or two jars. Now that I wasn’t going to can it, I can be a little more creative with the recipe. When you are canning fruit and produce it is EXTREMELY important to follow the recipe because it’s based on acidity and the acidity inside the jar is part of what keeps canned goods safe. When you are going to eat it right away or freeze it, you can be a little more liberal with your adaptations.
I would suspect this recipe would work great with equal ratios of fruit (sub pound for pound of berries) but since I had strawberries, that’s what we did. This made about a pint and a half of jam. It’s good in the refrigerator about two weeks.
1.5 pounds of strawberries, rinsed and hulled (stems removed)
1.5 cups of sugar
zest of one large lemon
2 tbsp of lemon juice
In a large pot add your strawberries over medium heat. Stir in sugar and allow to dissolve a bit and mash the strawberry/sugar mixture with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the lemon zest and the lemon juice and let simmer until the temperature reaches 220 degrees F. If you do not have a candy thermometer, toss a small plate in the freezer. After about 10 – 15 minutes of low simmering place a dollop on the frozen plate and run your finger through it. If the jam stays separated it’s good to go. The jam will firm up as well as it cools. Seal and store in the fridge about two weeks.
PS this is also great on ice cream!
Biscuit recipe is from this awesome book!