Isn’t this strawberry jam pretty? I just love the ruby color, and it is definitely yummy.
As I have discovered since I started canning, there are basically two camps of canners: those who prefer to make jam without using gelatin, and those who are definite SureJell fans. My Nanny’s cranberry sauce calls for 1 packet of SureJell, so I was familiar with that technique. It produces a firm jam and there is no taste evidence of the SureJell addition. Others prefer to avoid gelatin for purity’s sake, so I have tried this method too. In essence, it’s a slow reduction. You’re never going to get a real firm jam this way; rather the result is a thick sauce of sorts.
For this strawberry jam, I used three pounds of fresh strawberries, a scant 4 cups of sugar (yes, that is a lot, but if you’re going to make jam, you gotta jump right in), 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice and the grated zest of 1/2 a large orange. I thought the orange might add a nice, subtle complexity, and I think it did. As I said, this technique results in a saucy jam which can be enjoyed on biscuits but also on yogurt, ice cream, angel food cake (tried this last night; delish) and so forth. I am thinking it will make a delectable, pretty swirl in frozen margaritas too. My dear friend, C, said she could bathe in this jam so I’m going to call this a success.