Strawberry Honey Jam Goodness

Strawberry season is here! Can I get a hip hip hooray?? I love strawberry season, it's really the only time of year that I like fresh strawberries. I could spend an entire post telling you about how  strawberries from the store don't compare to strawberries from the field. I already told you all about the need for Strawberry Shortcake in this house since we had so many berries from the Strawberry Festival.  Despite the cold, overcast weather - the festival and strawberries were SO good.

A friend of mine had come with us to festival with one thing in mind -- jam. She wanted to learn how to can strawberry jam just like her grandmother used to make... no pressure. Luckily (for me) the more we talked about it, the more she found that we didn't have the entire recipe from her grandmother and I found another that was really similar. After whipping up a batch for her I got the canning bug. There is something about busting out the canning supplies for the first time of the season that makes me excited. I had to can more!!! And it just so happened that I had entire flat of strawberries to use. YUM. Now we've talked about jam around here before, but this one is different. I ran across a recipe for Strawberry Honey Jam from 100 Days of Real Food (originally from Sweetie Pie Bakery) and I was intrigued. This recipe didn't have any pectin. I've made a No Sugar Honey Berry Jam before but I had used Pomona's Pectin in it --- this one doesn't have any at all. I needed to try it. Of course by now my friend realized how easy making jam was and she had to join in the fun so off we went. 

This recipe is super easy. The cooking is the longest step.. and really how hard is that? I found that the amount of honey in the original recipe was more than I wanted. I don't love super sweet, especially in jam so I cut back on it. The only other thing I would tell you on this, there is apple in the recipe (to take the place of the pectin) and the apple is going to brown SO fast - have your lemon juice ready. I used a granny smith apple and probably used a little more than 3/4 of the apple. As I grated, I added the lemon juice to the bowl and it still browned. In hindsight, I should have already had the lemon juice in the bowl and grated the apple right into it. Learn from me friends.  Of course you aren't going to see the apple in the recipe anyway so it going brown isn't the end of the world. I promise. 

Other than that, make it and eat it!! I am going to try this recipe for raspberries next because I love raspberry jam. If you are looking for a good strawberry jam -- MAKE THIS. If you've never canned before, MAKE THIS. It's not hard and you can do it!

Strawberry Honey Jam
adapted from Sweetie Pie Bakery
makes 3 pints

3 pounds strawberries
1 1/4 cup honey (you can use more to taste)
3/4 of unpeeled apple, grated (maybe a tad more)
3/4 tablespoon lemon juice

Rinse, hull and slice (in half) the berries. Add the berries, honey, grated apple, and lemon juice to a large pot over high heat. With a potato masher, mash the berry mixture slightly. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and allow the mixture to continue to boil lightly for approximately 40 – 60 minutes. Mash the fruit with a potato masher once the fruit begins to soften. The more you mash the berries, the smoother your end product will be. If foam forms on top of the fruit you can skim and discard if desired. The berries will burst and thicken so be sure to scrape the sides of the pot and stir as you go. The longer the jam cooks the thicker the final product will be, although this recipe does not become quite as thick as typical store-bought jam.

While the jam is cooking, sterilize and prepare your jars, lids and bands. 

When the jam is done cooking do a taste test to make sure the thickness and flavor is to your liking. If you aren't sure if it's thick enough you can do the cold plate test. (Put a plate in the freezer to get cold. Take the plate out when you believe your jam is ready and spoon some onto the plate. Run your finger through the jam and it should act set and more like jam.) Fill your jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Make sure that you clean the rims of the jars after filling them since jam can be messy business. 
Process your filled jars for 10 minutes in a water bath.

Label jar and store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.

Don't you want some jam???