low sugar no pectin strawberry refrigerator/freezer jam

DSC05140I made French toast today and put a spoonful of the strawberry jam on top and between the slices. I added a dollop of crème fraîche. Delicious. I reserve “decadent” for chocolate but this jam was pretty close.


Strawberries were on sale at Tops Supermarket for Baht 139 per pint. I bought 2 pints. I knew I didn’t want to make another strawberry pie again,  so I thought, what about strawberry jam? The berries in the pints were either just ripe or somewhat under-ripe. Perfect for jam. Something tart-yet-sweet to spread on toast or eat with bread and peanut butter. The Kitchn had this recipe called Basic Fruit Jam that seemed quite simple and made just one batch. It was also low in sugar, up to 1/2 cup went into the jam;   and, this clinched it,  the recipe did not call for pectin. Instead it uses lemon to set the jam. I got 12 ounces of jam from the 2 pints. So here it is:

Low Sugar No Pectin Strawberry Refrigerator/Freezer Jam

2 pints strawberries, about 3 cups diced
1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup more
pinch of salt

Put 3 tablespoons in the freezer (tell you why later!) but do it. It’s really cool.

Boil some water and pour it into two clean jars, one 8 ounces the other 4 ounces. Put the lids in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.

Prep the strawberries and cut a one inch piece of lemon from the end of the lemon.

Combine the fruit and sugar in a 2-3 quart pot. Add a pinch of salt. Squeeze in the lemon juice and drop the rind in the pot. Over medium heat, mash the fruit with a potato masher, avoiding mashing the lemon. Mash the berries until you get a chunky texture.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. When it boils, watch it carefully, stirring frequently, until the bubbles get smaller. Continue boiling 5-8 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken and as the strawberries cook, their color deepens to a warm ruby red.

Check to see if the jam has set. Remove a spoon from the freezer and dribble a few drops of jam on it. Run your finger through the jam. If it leaves a track without filling in, the jam is set. If not, continue cooking the jam and testing it until it is set. Isn’t that easy?!

As you test, taste the jam on the spoon, of course, don’t let it go to waste!  If it isn’t sweet enough add another 2-3 tablespoons or up to 1/4 cup more sugar–in other words, sweeten to taste. Stir sugar into the jam and cook until sugar dissolves. If more acidity is desired, add a bit of lemon juice, stirring to combine. I added an extra quarter cup of sugar and the jam came out tart-yet-sweet. When the jam is set, remove the lemon rind and discard.

Spoon the jam into a measuring cup with a spout. Drain off the water in the jars and pour the jam into the clean jars. The jars will be very hot so use caution and wear silicone gloves or use silicone pot holders to do this. I left 1/2 inch at the top of the 8 oz jar to allow for expansion.  I had four ounces left over; this went into the smaller jar. Fish out the lids with a pair of tongs and screw them on the jars. Because I knew we wouldn’t get to eat it right away, I  put the 8-ounce jar in the freezer. The 4-ounce jar of jam went into the refrigerator to enjoy later when it cooled and set some more.

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