The 61st Annual Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival took place last weekend out east, but there are plenty of strawberries to be had at farm stands all over the island right now. We get to pick a share at our CSA, Restoration Farm, but that quart is gobbled up by the time we get home, so we buy from the farm stand too.
And if you get overenthusiastic and buy more than you can eat at one go — as I do pretty much every week of the season — I have an easy solution to salvage or extend the life of your haul without canning or pectin.
Fresh strawberry jam requires just three ingredients and a clean jar or two to make. It is an easy recipe to remember, because it goes in twos, as you will see. It’ll keep in the fridge for a week or two (that’s the official version; to be honest, we use it until it’s finished, whether it takes a day or a month.)
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut in quarters (overripe strawberries are fine; just trim off the dodgy bits)
2 cups sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
Place two small saucers in the freezer. In a bowl, mix all ingredients and let soak an hour or two (or not). Some people do the strawberry mashing at this stage. I haven’t tried that yet.
Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Mash strawberries with a potato masher, fork or immersion blender to desired smoothness. Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. When you think you have jam, get one of those frozen saucers and spoon a tiny bit of jam on it. Return to freezer for a minute. Take it out again and push your nail against the side of the jam bit. If it wrinkles up when you push it, it’s done. If not, cook it down a few more minutes and try again.
Allow to cool slightly, then spoon into little jars. Makes about a cup of jam.