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.
- 4 cups (22 ounces; 625g) roughly chopped hulled strawberries (see note)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon, plus more if needed
- 2 cups granulated sugar (14 ounces; 400g)
- 1/3 cup powdered low-sugar pectin (1 1/2 ounces; 45g), such as Ball or Sure-Jell, plus more if needed (see note)
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.