Making jam is the kind of thing that makes me happy, especially if the recipe is the simple kind, the kind you don't have to fuss over. I'm also not a huge fan of weighing things out in the kitchen (I know, purists, I know) so the measurements are in cups. You heard me. The jam still turns out nicely.
The recipe below makes about 6 (250ml) jars of jam. I made two batches of the recipe to make sure that it worked both times, but next time I'll double the recipe below and make it all in one go. It's very simple to do, the only thing you need to decide is how thick you want your jam. Jam will thicken as it cools. 12 jars of jam for my family is more than enough to last several months.
For this recipe, you'll need to start with about 8 cups of whole strawberries. Hull strawberries and cut in halves or quarters. You should end up with 6 cups of berries after cutting.
6 cups of strawberries (after cutting) I like chunks of fruit in my jam, so I halve my berries. Cut them to the size you prefer, allowing for a bit of breakdown during cooking.
4 cups white sugar
1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice (or the juice of about one lemon)
Before starting, make sure you have everything you need. If you're canning the jam as preserves, make sure you have fresh canning jars that are clean and sterilized. Follow the instructions for sterilizing provided by the manufacturer. I put mine in a 200F oven for about 20 minutes. To seal the cans by boiling, I put the canning pot full of water to boil once my ingredients for the jam are in the saucepot. Place a ceramic or glass plate in the freezer to check for jelling before you start.
1- In a large pot over high heat, mix cut strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice together using a wooden or large metal spoon. It will be almost dry at first, but don't add any liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to break down berries and dissolve sugar.
2- Cook mixture down, stirring almost constantly, for about 15 minutes. At this point, I check for doneness by putting a spoonful of the jam on the chilled plate. Return the plate to the freezer for one minute with jam on it. Take it out, and run your finger through it. Jam is ready when the line you made with your finger doesn't immediately get covered again with the jam. Jam will be runnier than the final product, because it will "set" as it cools. If it's not ready after 15 minutes, check again every 5 minutes.
3- If you wish, skim any foam off the top (I don't bother.) Ladle jam into clean, sterilized jars and fit the seal over top. Close bands on lids and place in boiling water. Boil for 5 full minutes before removing cans from water and allowing them to cool. You should hear the lids pop as the seal is created. After 24 hours, check the seals on each jar. Refrigerate and use any unsealed jars of jam within a week or so. The rest can be kept and should be used within a year.