With so many strawberries on hand, I turned most of them into jam. I never really was much of a jam person until I started making my own. Store-bought jam, no matter how gourmet it is, still seems too...gelatinous to me, and far too sweet.
My jams tend to lean more on the saucier side. I don't like to use pectin so I'm counting on the natural pectin in the fruit and the lemon juice, as well as the sugar, to help thicken the jam. What I get is a much looser jam, but one that tastes of fresh fruit even in the dead of winter. I also love the big chunks of strawberries you get as you spoon it out of the jar and onto a slice of warm toast. This strawberry jam is absolutely delicious either on buttered toast, served over pancakes or waffles, or drizzled on top of cold vanilla ice cream.
This recipe is also a bit of a tarter jam, as I don't like mine overly sweet, but you can always adjust accordingly to your own tastes. I got about six 250 ml jars and eight 125 ml jars out of the recipe below, plus a little more to enjoy for myself right now. Make a lot and keep some for the winter months, as well as to share with family and friends!
Fresh Strawberry Jam
Adapted from Ina Garten
Makes about 11 cups
6 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
6 cups sugar
4 large lemons, 2 of them zested and all of them juiced
Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over medium heat for 50 minutes to an hour, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Using a spoon, skim the surface of any foam.
Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. Pour carefully into canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated. Use immediately, or follow proper canning procedures.