TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Homemade Strawberry Jam & Blueberry Preserves
For those who like the idea of homemade jam but have never wanted to undertake the labor to make it:
This tip’s for you!
These fresh quick jam recipes—Strawberry Jam and Blueberry Preserves—came to us from Anson Mills, purveyor of organic heirloom grains: the finest grains, flours, grits, rices beans and peas we’ve ever had (check them out).
They recipes below make “fresh” jam because they have no pectin or other gelling agent, and aren’t sterilized in jars to preserve them.
They’re “quick” because they take just 45 minutes to make.
“They’re is so much tastier than a jar of [conventional homemade] jam,” says Anson Mills.
“We wonder why anyone goes through the labored orchestration of traditional jam.
“Fantastically perfumed, lightly jelled, perfectly balanced with bright berry acid and sweetness, this jam is great on ice cream, yogurt, in hand pies, or on toast.”
All you need are:
1. COMBINE the strawberries and lemon juice in a 4.5-quart Dutch oven. Cover and bring to a very gentle simmer over medium-low heat, occasionally swirling the pot. Cook until the berries begin go limp and are swimming in juice, about 10 minutes.
2. ADD the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Return the mixture to a gentle simmer and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring infrequently—just to check for sticking—until the jam registers 221° to 222°F on a digital instant-read thermometer, 35 to 45 minutes.
NOTE from Anson Mills: Berry jams are typically cooked to 221°F. While temperature is an excellent guideline, pouring the hot jam into a bowl set on a scale to weigh it provides a more reliable indicator for us. Some jam-makers swear by a wrinkle-test whereby a spoonful of cooked jam is dropped from a spoon onto a frozen plate. If the jam wrinkles as a finger pushes through it on the plate, the jam is done. We tried that, too. It works!
3. TRANSFER the jam to a glass container or jar with a lid and let cool to room temperature (lid off). Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze indefinitely.
The recipe stir 6 ounces of the cooked, strained berries back into the jelly. If all the cooked berries were added back in, the preserves would be too loose. Use the remaining cooked berries in another way; e.g., mix into yogurt, smoothie or shake; serve as a dessert sauce.
We made blueberry soda by mixing the preserves with club soda.
1. POSITION a fine-mesh strainer over a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and set aside.
2. COMBINE the blueberries and lemon juice in a 4.5-quart Dutch oven. Cover, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until the berries go limp and are swimming in juice, about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Pour the berries into the strainer and let the juices drip into the saucepan for 15 minutes without pushing on the fruit.
3. MOVE the strainer with the berries to rest atop a medium bowl to collect additional drips. Bring the juices in the saucepan to a simmer over medium-high heat, add the sugar, and stir until completely dissolved. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to check for sticking and adding newly collected juice from the berries to the pot, until the jelly registers 221°F on an instant-read digital thermometer and weighs 9 to 10 ounces when poured into a bowl on a digital scale, about 10 minutes.
4. STIR 6 ounces of the strained blueberries into the jelly. Transfer to glass container or jar with a lid. Let cool completely, cover; refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze indefinitely.
*Get more juice from a lemon by heating it whole in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. No microwave? Roll it on the counter under heavy pressure from your palm. In either case, a room temperature lemon is best.