It’s strawberry season and I have been wanting to make Homemade Strawberry Jam since the leaves started turning last fall. I had read about how easy it is to make, so I decided to check out Barefoot Contessa’s recipe (PS – I love her!), which calls for lemon juice, lemon rind, sugar and of course, strawberries. How easy is that? 😉
HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM
I’ll admit it took me a couple tries to get the jam to actually set to that viscous gelatin-like texture we all love. My first attempt came out really tasty, but incredibly runny. Have you heard of pectin before? I hadn’t used it before, but Healing Cuisine by Elise was very informative. This is what sets the jam, but you can use sugar to do this as well.
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DON’T GO EASY ON THE SUGAR
I have a habit of using much less sugar than recipes call for because I tend to shy away from over-sweetness. I figured since the strawberries were delicious on their own, I’d go easy on the sugar. With jam however, you really do need to use the amount of sugar the recipe calls for (or you can substitute the sugar with a low-sugar pectin) because it gives it that thick, gooey richness that gels with the toast perfectly.
On my second attempt, I used the exact amount of sugar the recipe called for and it turned out sweet, tangy, thick and delicious. I got to use my new Nikon 105mm 2.8 Macro lens for that overhead toast with jam shot and it captured the details perfectly! A macro lens just might be a food photographer’s best friend.
HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM
- 1.5 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
- Place a plate in the freezer. You’ll want to use a very cold plate to test the juice to see that it gels together.
- Combine the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a sauce pan.
- Cook and stir over very low heat, for 10-15 minutes, until sugar is dissolved.
- Add the strawberries and continue to cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes.
- The strawberries will release their juices and the mixture should start to boil slowly.
- Continue to cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. Remove plate from freezer to test this out.
- Pour the juice and strawberries into pint-sized jars and keep refrigerated until it sets completely.
- The jam should be good for about 2 weeks.
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All images © Regan Baroni 2015.