Why It Works
- A set formula and commercial pectin ensure great results, even if you change things up.
- Commercial low-sugar pectin sets the jam up quickly, leaving the flavor bright and the process easy.
This classic strawberry jam is built on a very basic formula. Follow it and you'll have a jam that comes together quickly and ends up bright and fruity. Or, use the formula to your advantage, making substitutions that are guaranteed to work. Here are some suggestions:
- Replace some of the strawberries with other liquids or solids. For example, use 2 cups strawberries with 2 cups dry red wine, 2 cups strawberries with 2 cups Prosecco, 3 cups strawberries with 1 cup ginger beer, or 3 cups strawberries with 1 cup diced rhubarb.
- Replace the granulated sugar with an equal quantity of another sweetener, such as brown sugar, maple syrup, hickory syrup, or honey.
- Replace the lemon juice with an equal quantity of another acid, such as balsamic vinegar, lime juice, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or sherry vinegar.
- Add flavorings without changing other quantities, such as spices like freshly ground black pepper, freshly grated horseradish (it's surprisingly good!), or fresh herbs like minced tarragon.
Combine strawberries and lemon juice in a large nonreactive saucepan and set over medium heat until simmering. Stir in sugar and bring mixture to a full boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in pectin until dissolved, return heat to medium-high and bring to a full rolling boil. As soon as mixture reaches a full boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.
To Check the Jam Set: Spoon 1 tablespoon (15ml) jam onto a small dish and allow to cool completely, to room temperature. Run a finger through the jam. If the jam remains separated, it is properly set; if it runs back together, it is not. If not set, add an extra 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon low-sugar pectin, then return to a boil and boil for 1 minute longer. Repeat jam set test until jam is properly set.
Carefully scrape any foam or scum from surface of jam. Transfer jam to clean jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top; seal jars. Jam can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months. If heat-processing the jam, process for 8 minutes.
3-quart stainless steel saucepan, 8-ounce canning jars
You can choose how finely to chop the strawberries: Leave them in bigger pieces for a chunkier jam, or chop them up smaller (or even mash them with a potato masher) for a smoother jam. This recipe is formulated to work with low-sugar pectin; substituting other types of pectin will not work here unless you know how to alter the recipe accordingly. Be mindful that one brand of low-sugar pectin, Pomona's, works very differently from the others and will not work here.