Kneads and Cravings: Sweet end to summer

Every now and again I get the urge to ditch the technology and do something rustic and old-fashioned. In an attempt to be my best Laura Ingalls-Wilder (of Little House of the Prairie fame), I decided to try my hand at making jam. Strawberry jam to be more specific. Making jam just seemed like a nice and simple way to pass the time in a way that would distract me enough that I wouldn’t feel compelled to scroll through Instagram every four minutes.

Let me tell you it worked. A fun fact about making jam, is that it’s deceptively simple, as long as you keep your stove on a low heat, you’ll be in business. And now that I’ve made the jam, I’ll be in the business of baking plenty of scones and pastries to accompany it.

The only downside of making this jam was that it left me wishing I owned a gingham dress, so I could run about town, distributing jars of it from a wicker basket.

Strawberry Jam

makes 18 oz.

1 ½ pints strawberries

2 cups sugar

1 lemon

mason jar

Place a plate in the freezer (you’ll need this later). Wash the mason jars and the lids in hot soapy water. Place the jars and the lids on a baking sheet and bake them at 175 degrees for 30 minutes. This is important because once the jam is done, it will be hot and you want the jars to also be hot, so they don’t shatter when you pour in the jam. It’s also important because this sterilizes the jars and allows you to vacuum seal the jars so the jam will keep.

Zest one lemon (for those without zesters, a cheese grater works) over a cast iron pot. Once the lemon is completely zested, squeeze the juice into the pot. Remove any lemon seeds that might have fallen in before adding the sugar. Place the pot on a low heat and stir, until the sugar completely dissolves which should take roughly 20 to 30 minutes. Stir regularly to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn. While the sugar is melting down, halve and hull (remove the tops) the strawberries. Once the sugar has melted down add the strawberries to the pot and stir. The strawberries will soften and melt into a gel like texture. Once the mixture has thickened, take a dollop of it and place it on the frozen plate, drag the end of the spoon through the dollop, if the jam doesn’t run back together, it’s ready to be poured into the jar. If it runs back together, let the mixture sit on the heat a bit longer.

The jars can be stored in the pantry until they’ve been opened. After that the jam will need to be refrigerated.

The strawberry jam goes well with toast and scones or slathered over warm pound cake.