How to Make Awesome Strawberry Jam

  1. Buy awesome strawberries.
    Go to the farmers market. Buy the best berries you can find, four pounds of them.
  2. Don't worry if some of them are underripe.
    Unripe strawberries have more pectin, so they'll help your jam set.
  3. Wash, hull and chop them.
    Put them in a large, wide nonreactive stockpot.
  4. Add 2 lbs 10 oz sugar
    65% sugar to fruit by weight is a good starting place. You can adjust as you go.
  5. Mix, cover and let stand
    This is called maceration. It draws out the juice of the berries and will help create a denser jam with a good set. You can do this for a couple hours, or overnight in the fridge.
  6. Add 6 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
    If desired, replace 1 oz with quality balsamic vinegar. Maybe throw in a few cracks of black pepper.
  7. Don't throw away the lemon rinds
    Tie them up in cheesecloth and steep them in the maceration to extract more pectin.
  8. Put it on the heat
    Gently at first. There's probably a raft of sugar on the bottom. Stir to dissolve, then bring to a boil.
  9. It's going to foam up like crazy
    That's ok. Moderate your hear if necessary and stir occasional to prevent scotching, but not too often. Every time you stir you lose heat.
  10. Boil uncovered until you reach the set point
    If you have a candy thermometer you're looking for soft ball stage, 220°. Bubbles should climb on top of each other and the jam should sheet off a spatula rather than running loosely.
  11. Remove from heat
    Remove the citrus sachet. Skim off any foam. Quickly transfer to clean jars. If you're canning, leave 1" headspace. Otherwise cool, refrigerate and keep up to 3 months. If you want to know how to can, well, that's another list.