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Your First Homemade Jam

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor
March 27, 2014

All week we’re sharing the 101 versions of recipes for foods you thought were too hard to make but TOTALLY AREN’T. So far, we’ve encouraged you to make your first loaf of breadyour first big roast, and sushi. Today, tackle jam. 

Photo credit: Everyday Food

"But making jam involves pectin and sterilizing jars and simmering forever," you say. "Uff."

NAY! There is no reason to huff and puff! 

For your first go at homemade jam, try this speedy version, which skips past hour-long cooking times thanks to a blitz of the strawberries in your food processor. You’re essentially taking out the work that slow-and-low simmering would normally do, breaking down the fruit into a sweet, beautiful mess. So it’s ten minutes in the saucepan instead of 40. Then, it’s just a matter of cooling and storing the stuff—and eating it up in under two weeks.

That’s the drawback of a recipe like this: it doesn’t have the shelf life that jam fortified with pectin does. But it’s a good place to start, so that you get the hang of balancing flavors and playing with textures. (To that end, feel free to adjust the quantities below to your liking, and keep on cooking the jam if you like it a bit thicker. It’s your jam! It’s up to you!) Once you become a pro at that, you can take on a classic strawberry jam. And then a pickled strawberry jam. And then… and then…. 

Quick Strawberry Jam
from Everyday Food
Makes 1 3/4 cups

1 quart hulled strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. In a food processor, process strawberries until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large skillet and stir in sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high, stirring frequently, until jam is thickened and bubbles completely cover surface, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer jam to a jar and let cool to room temperature. (To store, seal jar and refrigerate, up to 10 days).