From Farm to Table- A delicious yet simple Homemade Strawberry Jam recipe !!
August has been a month of strawberries in our household! It all started with a picnic idea -why not at a strawberry farm this time! Picnics, I feel, are a fun way to bond with the family.
We decided on a strawberry farm since we are in season for the delicious fruit and thought it would be another fun way to educate the children (parents with toddlers can relate to this). Watsonville has quite a few strawberry farms some of which allow you to have a little picnic and pick fresh berries. So we packed some food and got there just in time for lunch…. and later grabbed a bucket each and started to pick strawberries simply going by the color…If you are planning on doing this activity remember to take your sun hat along, you won’t find much shade here!
……That’s my bucket of hand-picked strawberries !! so fresh, so sweet and we got to taste while picking….yummm!
The first thing on my mind after picking was to make a delicious preserve and use it as a base in my other dessert experiments! Yes, I have a strawberry dessert series coming up for you guys!!!
RECIPE IN DETAIL
First, wash the fruits in cold water (that’s pretty straightforward !) and then hull the strawberries. You can use a fruit knife…. I find that the “strawberry corer” (picture below) gets the job done easily without having to otherwise loose too much flesh. I purchased mine from the farm store, it is inexpensive and you should be able to find it online or at a local target store.
Freeze the hulled strawberries for at least 4 hours. This simplifies the “jamming” process. Next, split the portion into two and allow to thaw – puree one of the portions in the blender and roughly mash or crush the other half depending on how chunky you want your jam to be.
Next, mix the mashed strawberries with the puree in a kitchen vessel. Add 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (lemon juice inhibits browning and adds flavor) and 3 cups granulated sugar (I used white sugar). Give it a good mix and heat under medium flame until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens to desired consistency. You can add more or less sugar based on how sweet or tart you want it to be. Allow the mixture to cool and transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate.
The Science– Strawberries naturally have pectin in them which is released when cut or crushed. This pectin acts as a thickening agent helping the jam to set under heat. This process takes long as the natural pectin content is less.You can add store bought pectin if you would like to speed up the process. I used cornstarch( dissolved in cold water) instead as a thickening agent in this recipe which cut short the preparation time without significantly altering the taste 🙂
This homemade jam/preserve can be used as a filling in cakes, pies and many other desserts….or just a light spread on a buttered toast would make a great breakfast accompaniment !
- 32 Oz Fresh Strawberries
- 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
- 3 Cups Granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch + 2 TB cold water
- 1 tsp Strawberry Essence (optional)
- Wash and core the strawberries and freeze for at least 4 hours
- Thaw strawberries and split them into two portions
- Puree one half portion and mash the other portion
- In a heat safe bowl combine strawberry puree, mashed strawberries, lemon juice and sugar and mix well
- Heat under medium flame and keep stirring every few minutes until the starts to thicken. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water and add this to the mixture. continue heating until a thick jam/preserve forms.
- Add the essence, mix and allow to cool
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Use within 4 weeks.
- tsp- teaspoon
- TB- tablespoon
- Oz- ounce