Guided by a recipe for “low-sugar” jam in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
Note: Use this recipe as a guide. Strawberries vary dramatically in sweetness, and depending on ripeness, the level of pectin will vary, too. My mother added lemon to taste and followed Bittman’s plate-in-the-freezer trick for determining doneness.
Plate-in-the-freezer trick to determine in advance if your fruit will gel: Stick a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes. When it has cooked down to mush, place one teaspoonful on a cold plate. Place the plate in the fridge. Check it after 2 minutes. If the jam has gelled, you’re all set. Otherwise, continue cooking the jam for 5 to 10 minutes longer using this technique to check for doneness as you wish.
- 12 oz. strawberries (to yield about 3 cups once hulled and quartered), hulled and quartered
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (or more or less depending on sweetness)
- freshly squeezed lemon juice (mom ended up using about 2 tablespoons)
- Place the strawberries and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan. Add about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Turn the heat to medium high. Stick a plate in the freezer if you feel you are going to want to test the jam for doneness before it cools.
- Cook, stirring frequently, breaking up the fruit with the back of a fork, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture liquifies. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick, about 30 minutes (or more or less — Mom ended up cooking the jam for about 45 minutes). Use the plate-in-the-freezer trick if you wish to determine doneness. Taste and add more lemon juice or sugar if necessary. Cool and refrigerate.