Fruits of Summer
Create your own jam session
Posted on June 6, 2018
Many claim that it has something to do with some silly solstice, but in my book, summer starts as soon as the farmer’s markets are chock-full of fresh strawberries. I devour them — with whipped cream, dipped in chocolate, made into shortcakes, or baked into tarts. But my absolute favorite way to enjoy locally grown summer strawberries is to transform them into jam. Sweet, viscous, and combined with just enough rhubarb to make your cheeks pucker, this is my go-to jam for buttery toast, creamy scones, or simply spooned over vanilla ice cream.
We taught this basic recipe with much success to beginning “jammers” at the Bake Sale Bakery’s class, “Let’s Jam.” While this method requires that you wash and sterilize the jars, it does not require additional hot water-bath processing. Refrigerate the jam once it’s set and use within a month. It’s one reason I make this easy recipe in small batches. Terryl Gavre, owner of Cafe 222 and co-owner of Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant; breadandbutterismyjam.com, @terrylgavre
1 lb. strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1 lb. rhubarb, cleaned & sliced into ¼-inch slices
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
½ cup fresh lemon juice
- Wash, sterilize, and dry jars. Keep warm, dry, and ready to use on a towel-lined sheet pan in a 250º oven.
- Place all ingredients in a 4-quart saucepan. Turn heat to medium high and stir frequently with a wooden spoon until fruit mixture comes to a boil.
- Turn heat to medium low and bring the jam to a simmer. Continue reducing the liquid and stirring frequently until the fruit has thickened and the temperature on an instant read thermometer is 220º F, about 20 minutes.
- If you don’t have a thermometer: to check if the jam is done, dab about a teaspoon on a cool plate and place in freezer for 2 minutes. Remove from freezer and hold plate vertical; if jam does not run off plate, then it is set. If not set, cook 5 more minutes and check again.
- Once jam is done, remove from heat and immediately ladle or pour into jars and fill to about a half inch from rim. Clean and dry rims of any residual jam and cover with lid and ring to seal. Allow to set at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate for up to one month.