Easy Homemade Strawberry Jam

I know I said that I bought my last strawberries of the season, but I just couldn’t help myself. I may have a problem… The berries are still so ripe and flavorful, but are starting to lose some of their crisp texture. Guess what that means. It’s jam making time!

This strawberry jam could not be easier to make, and is so much better than any store bought variety out there. There’s nothing like hot, freshly made jam over a slice of toasted sourdough first thing in the morning.

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Every time I make jam I am reminding of the scene from Friends with Monica and her Jam Plan. For those of you who may not have watched as much Friends in college as I did, Monica is trying to get over her break up with Richard, and she is trying to keep herself busy. She says “I’m sick and tired of being depressed about Richard. I needed a plan, a plan to get over my man. What’s the opposite of man? Jam.”  Thankfully, my husband and I are doing well, but if all else fails, I’ve got my jam plan.

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The first time I made this jam, I fell in love. I had never had homemade jam before, and I love how it concentrates the flavor of the berries and gives you a few extra weeks out of them. (note: this freshly made jam will not stay fresh as long as store bought due to the lack of preservatives. You can enjoy on biscuits, toast, blended into smoothies, on top of yogurt, mixed into oatmeal, in muffin or pancake batter. The possibilities are endless and I never end up having any go to waste.)

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To make this jam, you can use either fresh or frozen berries. I have used both and they work well. The frozen tend to break up easier and require less cooking, so this is a great option during non-strawberry season. Sometimes I crave a little bit of summer in the colder months and need a strawberry jam fix. This recipe also does not use pectin, which gives it a juicier texture versus a jelly-like one.

Ingredients

20 oz strawberries (fresh or frozen-thawed)

1 large Granny Smith Apple (peeled and grated)

1 large lemon (juiced-about 1 Tbs)

1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

1. If using fresh strawberries, hull and quarter them. Add strawberries to a large heavy bottom pan.

2. Add grated apple, lemon juice, and sugar to pan with strawberries and heat over medium.

3. Allow mixture to come to a simmer and mash strawberries periodically as they cook. I use a potato masher to great effect.

4. Simmer mixture until it has thickened to your desired consistency, about 10-20 minutes. Continue to mash berries as this will help with the thickening.

5. Allow jam to cool and then enjoy! Store in fridge.

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