It is strawberry season in Indiana and you know what that means!? All of my strawberry jam, strawberry pizza and strawberry shortcake recipes get pushed right to the top of my “to try” list! So far, I have had pretty good luck with all of my strawberry “recipe testing” experiments. Matter of fact, right now (in the refrigerator) I have a new recipe I’m trying for “No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Cups”! They look incredible and I can not wait to test them! (Which IS after all, the best part of “recipe testing”!)
Many of you requested the recipe for the jam I made a few days ago, but I was still “tweaking” the recipe. It was inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten (“The Barefoot Contessa”). I changed a few things in the recipe, (including the sugar amount, the amount of fruit, the cooking time and the liqueur substitution) and I think it is incredible! DO NOT panic that this recipe calls for a candy thermometer. I have tried this recipe with AND without one, and if you pay close attention…it will work out either way.
I have used the finished product on toast, angel food cake, ice cream…and straight out of the jar! It is really simple and delicious – you will be wanting to make this year around!
Simple Strawberry Jam
3 pints fresh strawberries
3 cups sugar (see NOTE on sugar in recipe)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons orange zest
1 Granny Smith apple (cored and diced)
1 cup fresh blueberries
Place the strawberries into a colander and rinse them under cold water. Be sure the strawberries are clean and free of any debris.
Drain the strawberries and place on a paper towel. Cut the tops off the strawberries (hull / clean them).
Cut the strawberries in half – but leave the smaller ones whole.
Place the cut berries into a heavy bottomed pan (Dutch oven). I used a cast iron dutch oven for this, and it worked great. I try and use cast iron when and where I can – big fan!
Pour the sugar in with the strawberries and toss to coat. Be careful not to “break up” the strawberries.
NOTE ON SUGAR – I used the “C&N” brand “Baker’s Sugar” for this recipe, which is “ultra-fine pure sugar”. The difference between this sugar and “regular” sugar is that this particular type of sugar is finely processed and “melts” into the jam better. BUT you can also use “regular” sugar – I have tried both and both work well…
Zest the orange FIRST before you try for the juice. I zest the orange right over the pot. Just eyeball 3 tablespoons. If you need to measure, please feel free.
Next, cut the oranges in half (for 3 tablespoons of zest and juice you should need about THREE oranges) and juice them. I use a juicer, but you can also use a fork and “squeeze” the orange around the fork. Do this in a measuring cup – or right into the pot for those who would rather “eyeball”.
Stir the juice and zest into the strawberries and sugar mixture carefully.
Place the pot over a MEDIUM heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Once the mixture is to a boil, add the blueberries and apple and continue stirring.
Skim any foam that might rise to the top…
Using a candy thermometer, have the mixture reach 220 degrees. This should take about 30 minutes. IF you don’t want to use a candy thermometer (I have tried this recipe with and without one) watch the jam closely at about 25 minutes. If the color is RICH and DEEP – remove from heat. Trust me…it only takes a second for the mixture to burn! As long as you are stirring the jam and watching for the rich color it will be fine.
Once the jam is dark and rich in color (ABOUT 30 minutes) the jam is done. Remove it from the heat.
Pour the jam into a large container (I used another deep pot) and let it cool to room temperature.
Once it is cooled to room temperature, place into jars and keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
To keep it longer, place in canning jars and can according to manufacturer’s directions.