I was so excited to pick enough berries from the garden to make two jars of jam. If you never made jam before, you might be intimidated, but if you start with just two jars, and get the hang of it, you will be doing it all the time, **promise**. If you are going to eat it right away (within 2 weeks), you can just spoon it into sterilized canning jars. For longer storage, lower the filled jars into a pot of boiling water and boil ("process") for 10 minutes.
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced (about 1½ pint baskets or 4 cups whole berries or 1 pound)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Option: Add a tablespoon or two of diced candied ginger
- Chill a small plate or bowl in the freezer or over ice water. Wash and sterilize 2 jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Prepare lids and bands if using.
- In a 10 or 12-inch wide saucepan, bring fruit, sugar, and lemon juice to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly and skimming foam as necessary. Cook about 8-10 minutes, until mixture begins to look syrupy and thickens slightly.
- Spoon ½ teaspoon of the hot fruit onto the cold plate and let it rest for 30 seconds. Tip plate to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is thin and runs down side of plate, the gel is too soft. Return skillet to heat and cook jam 1 to 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and repeat test.
- Cool jam to room temperature before serving. Because a minimum amount of sugar is used, the jam needs to be refrigerated to prevent mold from forming. Refrigerate 2-3 weeks.
- For longer storage, freeze or process hot jam in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.**
- **Option: If jars are sterilized (heated in boiling water for 10 minutes) it’s possible to use the inverted method to preserve jam: Pour hot jam into hot sterile jar leaving 1/8 inch head space. Wipe rim and apply prepared lid and ring. Screw ring on firmly. Invert jar and leave for 5 minutes. Turn jar right side up and let cool 12-24 hours. The heat from the jam will destroy mold spores. This method is not foolproof, so if you are preparing a lot of jam, or want to make sure it will keep longer, process the jam in a boiling water canner.
Yield: Makes 2 half-pint jars