4 Ingredient Strawberry Jam for fillings, cakes and more…
Summer is the perfect time for sweet and delicious fruit. Farmer Markets are a weekly pastime and a new discovery every time. Strawberries are some of my favorite; the bright red color and the sweet finish.
Luckily in California we can get them almost all year round. I started making strawberry jam for cake fillings but what I discovered was that I prefer making my own anyway.
I can control how much sugar is in it or how tart I want it and its super easy to use either fresh or frozen produce.
Making jams is also a cost effective way to use and save fresh produce. This recipe is a quick guide to making tasty strawberry jam with only 4 ingredients and the strawberries are the star of the show.
Let’s Get Started
This recipe works for fresh or frozen strawberries, really whatever you have on hand. In a medium size pot add the strawberries. I like to slice them before putting them into the pot so they cook down faster.
Place the pot on the stovetop at a medium heat. It’s important not to scorch and burn the bottom with the strawberries in there.
Then add the sugar. You can use the brown raw sugar granules or agave nectar instead of the white granulated sugar I used in this recipe.
Use a wooden spoon to stir with or a heat resistant rubber spatula. Make sure you are stirring every so often because of the high sugar content in the berries and the extra sugar it can easily caramelize and burn.
As the berries start to cook down the juice with come out and begin to boil. Continue to stir the berry mixture.
Continue boiling for 5-10 minutes depending on how big the berries are. I prefer them to fully break down for a slightly smoother consistency.
*If you want your jam to be chunkier then after 5 minute it should be ready for the next step.
Lower the heat and add the cornstarch/water mixture also known as slurry. Take 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Mix immediately and continue to mix together. This helps thicken the jam quickly.
While the berries are bubbling and at a slight boil add the cornstarch slurry mixture then quickly and carefully mix the berries the mixture will turn from a cloudy red color to a clear red. You will notice the cornstarch disappear and melt into the berries.
Bring the berries back up to a boil to cook out the cornstarch. After a few minutes it will become thick.
Turn off the heat and add fresh lemon zest and lemon juice this is where the bright, tart flavor comes from. The citrus juice helps bring the strawberry flavor out. You can add more if you want it more tart too!
*Note: If you are looking for a really thick jam mixture for Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pops fillings then I add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water to the berries. This makes it nice and thick and so easy to work with for cake pops. Check out How to Make Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pops here.
Remove from the heat and let cool in a metal bowl or into glass mason jars to start the canning process. (Check out this blog post for a simple canning process).
Then place the bowl or glass jars onto a bowl full of ice out on the counter. This will cool it down even faster.
For a rapid cool down spread the jam mixture onto a cookie tray and spread into a thin layer.
Enjoying the Jam!
Once the jam has cooled it is ready to be eaten or stored for later. There is so much a do with this jam.
It rocks on peanut butter sandwiches. It tastes fantastic in a cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Roll it up in a crescent roll to bake and make the perfect breakfast pastries.
This recipe can also be interchangeable use different berries like raspberries, blackberries or blueberries. Switch out strawberries for peaches and apples add 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon for a fall flavor.
The best way to store this jam is in an airtight container and place into the fridge for up to one month. Or if you have canned it properly in a jar, it will last longer.
This jam is a perfect reminder that you can have a taste of summer all year round.
- 2 cups (16 oz.) fresh strawberries or frozen
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) granulated sugar substitute with honey, agave or sugar in the raw
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch For thicker jam: use 6 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoons cold water For thicker jam: use 3 tablespoons
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Slice strawberries thin (to help break down the berries faster while cooking), measure out the sugar set aside, zest and juice one lemon set aside.
In a medium pot add strawberries and turn to medium heat. Stir in sugar or sugar substitute. Stir with a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula every minute or so to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning.
The berries will continue to cook down in their juices and begin to boil. Boil for 5 minutes. It’s up to you if you would like to leave the berries chunkier or continue to boil the berries for a smoother consistency.
In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry mixture. This is a thickening agent for your jam to help speed up the process.
Once the berries have been boiling for 5 minutes stir in the cornstarch slurry mixture. The berries will become cloudy and milky; continue to stir until the berries is a clear red.
Bring back up to a boil for another 5 minutes. This is cooking that cornstarch out and making it smooth and thick.
To test if the jam is thick enough take the back of a wooden spoon and dip it into the berries. If the jam holds tight and doesn’t slide right off then it is thick enough. Turn off the heat. If the jam is still slightly runny then boil for another 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and zest to the jam mix well. The citrus juice helps brightens the flavor of the jam and brings out the strawberry flavor.
Next quickly cool down the jam by placing it onto a clean cookie tray and spreading thin or by placing the jam into a metal bowl over a separate bowl full of ice.
Once the jam has cooled place into mason jars or keep in an airtight container. For storage place into the fridge and jam will last up to one month.
Recipe NotesNote: If you are looking for a really thick jam mixture for Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pops fillings then I add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water to the berries. This makes it nice and thick and so easy to work with for cake pops. Check out How to Make Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pops here. For longer lasting storage, proceed through the canning process here. This helps insure the jam can last in the pantry.
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