Elizabeth’s question, here in California we are blissfully deep in the middle of strawberry season. My Mystery Box provider has been bringing in flats of dead ripe organic strawberries for over a month now and I usually cannot resist an extra pint or two. But when we got hit with an unseasonable heat wave here last week, I knew I had to do something with them right away, since I usually don't refrigerate my strawberries. I decided to try refrigerator jam, which is basically jam without the long, hot canning process. I did a little internet research, but found that most jams were way too sweet for me (usually matching sugar and fruit pound for pound.) So I decided to experiment and I’m happy to report that the results were delicious and very easy! I had two nice jars of jam and a clean kitchen in less than one hour. One jar I kept as straight-up fruit jam. Into the other jar, I stirred in a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and two grinds from the pepper mill. This one I’ll serve with goat cheese, or perhaps as a glaze for pork or chicken.
Besides the organic strawberries, I also used Trader Joe’s Organic Cane Juice Sugar, which I think added a slightly deeper flavor to the sweetness. Because I used less sugar, no pectin and a short cooking time, the jam was a little loose but still jammy enough to spread on my toast the next morning. I also plan on drizzling it over yogurt or ice cream. Here’s the method:
Wash, hull and chunk 2 pints of very ripe organic strawberries (about 5 cups.) Combine in a heavy sauce pan (I used a Dutch oven) with 1 ½ cups of sugar and cook over a medium flame, mashing down on the fruit with a wooden spoon. Bring to a rolling boil and cook a few minutes more. Carefully spoon into very clean jars and let cool. Screw on lids and refrigerate.Note: You can sterilize your jars by putting them in the oven. The jam should stay fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, if you haven’t eaten it all up by then.
Related: Good Question: Thawing Berry Emergency Plus... How to Find a Pick-Your-Own Strawberries Farm