How To Turn Fruit Into Jam
As the summer fades we still have time to make jam with her bounty, such as the strawberries shown in the image. Here Alana Chernila takes us through the process, step-by-step. Her book The Homemade Kitchenis filled with truly simple and delectable treats. I would say this is as easy as 1-2-3, except that there are only two steps! Not water bath or processing needed. Check out her other recipes as well: Baked Apples, Maple Ice Cream and Popovers.
Excerpted with permission. The Homemade Kitchenby Alana Chernila. Published by Clarkson Potter, 2015. Photos by Jennifer May.
The secret that jam makers keep is that making jam is easy, and it can be done with whatever and however much fruit you have. A jar of jam can last two to three weeks in the fridge, so you can make one jar at a time with just a few minutes of stirring at the stove, no canning required. Thicken it with a little sugar, pour it into a jar, and you have jam. If you’re not canning your jam, you don’t have to pay attention to pH or acidity, so if you like to experiment, play around with sweetness, herbs, and other flavors with your fruit. Sugar is a preservative, so take note that if you use less sugar, you’ll need to eat your jam faster. This formula works well with berries, rhubarb, stone fruit, pears, and cantaloupe. Just adjust the water and sweetener according to the water and sugar content of the fruit you’re using. This is a quick jam that’s great for all sorts of uses in the kitchen. In the interest of ease and versatility, this recipe creates a loose jam, and there’s no need to worry about temperature or getting it to “set.”
- 1 pound fruit, fresh or frozen (weighed after pitting, peeling, or cutting
- if appropriate)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons water
- ¼ to ½ cup sugar or honey
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- Combine the fruit and water in a heavy-bottomed pot and set over medium heat. Bring to a low boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the fruit breaks up into sauce, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and stir in the sugar or honey. Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook, uncovered, stirring often to prevent the jam from burning on the bottom of the pot, until the sauce thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste, and adjust for sweetness if necessary. Allow to cool and transfer to a jar. If you’ve added whole spices (see chart for ideas), you can either remove them now or leave them in the jar to continue to infuse the jam for a stronger flavor.