We are right in the thick of strawberry season in the UK, so I couldn’t help myself in the store the other day and bought a 900g box of strawberries!!! It would have been a sin to not make jam with them! If you have never made your own jam, now is the time to start! I beg you! Please try it! I will even go as far as saying that, once you try it, you will keep making it. The store-bought variety cannot compare. I started making my own jam and spreads about 18 months ago when I discovered how much better they tasted and of course without the added preservatives and additives. To actually see chunks of beautiful, sweet, luscious strawberries on your toast is just so worth the little extra effort it takes to make it. This homemade strawberry and vanilla bean jam recipe is super simple and distinctly classic. Uncomplicated and packed with chunks of strawberries and specks of vanilla bean seeds, it really is as beautiful as it is delicious.
When I make jam, I like to make it as natural as possible. I use lemon juice to act as the pectin agent which, along with the sugar, helps to thicken the jam. Homemade strawberry jam is quite sweet as you need a good amount of sugar to create a spreadable thickness. Usually, most jam recipes are 50% fruit, 50% sugar. This one is significantly lower in sugar compared to other recipes i’ve tried. I wouldn’t reduce it any more however. If you choose to use less sugar, you might find you end up with quite a thin and runny jam, so I encourage you to use the given quantity even though it may seem a lot. This recipe is slightly adapted from the Strawberry Jam recipe by the super talented David Lebovitz.
When cooking the jam, it will look a lot runnier in the pot than after its set in the fridge so don’t be tempted to keep cooking further than this point. The original recipe says to cook it for 10-15 mins, however I cooked it for about 20 mins. The syrup is semi runny, while the large quantity of strawberry chunks spread thickly over toast. So grab yourself a fresh loaf of your favorite bread (mine is sourdough bread), a good scraping of butter and your fresh homemade jam (don’t forget your cup of tea or coffee!). Spread the butter and the jam over the toast generously and devour it! I guarantee you it’s a pure delight!
- 900g fresh strawberries
- 580g golden castor sugar
- one lemon - juice only
- one vanilla bean pod - halved and scraped
- preserving jars cleaned and sterilized - use old, cleaned jam jars if you wish
- Wash the strawberries and remove the green leaves and stalks. Cut them into quarters.
- Place the strawberries in a wide base pot, along with the sugar, the juice of a whole lemon and a vanilla bean pod plus the scraped out seeds. Stir the mixture well and leave to sit at room temperature for 2 hours, stiring occasionally.
- Place the pot on the stove and turn it on to a medium heat. As the mixture begins to boil, a foam will start to rise to the top. Try to carefully remove it as much as you can.
- After about 20 minutes, the jam should be ready to pour into your pre-prepared and sterilized jars. Remember it will thicken in the fridge!
- Leave the jam on the bench to cool before storing it in the fridge.