Merrill’s Strawberry Jam
Merrill always comes up with the best recipes. It’s not that I don’t love all the recipes on Food52, I just always seem to gravitate toward Merrill’s, or her mother’s, every time I am browsing the site. The two of them know so many little secrets to improving some of my favorite foods. In the years of cooking experience between them they have figured out that little touches like pressing sugar designs into cookies, adding a touch of cream to bolognese, or stirring butter into strawberry jam will make an already excellent dish so much better.
Last week had our annual strawberry picking adventure at Jones Family Farm. I brought home several pounds of berries and, as always, was a little overwhelmed for the first day and half they were on our counter. Once we ate as much as we possibly could I reduced a few pounds to strawberry syrup. With the rest I decided to make a big batch of Merrill’s Strawberry Jam. I’ve made strawberry jam so many times before, but I was dying to try Merrill’s method of stirring in a little bit of butter at the end.
While I still can’t explain why it works, the butter made a distinct difference in our jam once it was finished. I tripled the recipe so I could make several pints and ended up using a little over a tablespoon of butter. When I stirred it in at the end any remaining foam disappeared and the jam took on an almost silky quality. It still took a little while to set as it chilled, and has remained one of the looser jams in our pantry, but it has a richer, deeper flavor than the strawberry jams I’ve made in years past.
Merrill’s Mother’s Strawberry Jam
makes 4 pints
|8||cups hulled and quartered strawberries|
|4 ½||cups granulated sugar|
|1||pinch kosher salt|
|1||lemon – juiced|
|3||teaspoons cold unsalted butter|
1. Put a small porcelain plate in the freezer.
2. Combine the strawberries, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a large pot and cook it over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes. The mixture should always be simmering, but not boiling or bubbling and spurting liquid. Test the doneness of the jam by dripping a little but on the cooled plate and tipping it. If it runs quickly it needs to be cooked more. If it runs slowly it is done. You may need to test it a few times before it is done.
3. Remove the jam from the heat and stir in the butter until it melts. Then, scoop the mixture into a sterilized pint jars. Process for 20 minutes in a hot water bath if you would like to seal them.
4. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature. The jam will set as it seals.
Naptime Recipe Serving ideas
This is a loose jam and is very spreadable. It may be tempting to cook it down until it is almost gelled, but don’t do that. It will firm up as it cools after cooking.
20 minutes prep time, 40 minutes cook time
This delicious jam is a huge hit on breakfast toast with butter!