Small Batch Strawberry Jam – vegan, gluten free, and free of just about everything else

As longtime readers will know, I have a bit of an obsession/problem/interest in regards to farmers’ markets. Last week, as usual, I bought a lot of fruit. Possibly more than two people (even with guests) can eat before it passes its prime. And so it came to pass that we had a couple pints of strawberries left that were just a bit too ripe to happily eat. I didn’t want to throw them away (shudder), so I decided to make a mini batch of strawberry jam. Mr Official Taster has been on a bit of a pb&j roll lately, and we’ve just about used up the jams I made last summer, so this seemed like a good solution.

I started out with the intention of just using up the fruit I had and making a jar or two of jam. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so I didn’t want to sterilize and get set up for water bath canning. That’s the beauty of small batch jams. Use what you have, pour into normal clean containers, refrigerate, and eat. Super simple, and it’s a great way to use up aging fruit. Of course, you don’t want to use fruit that really is past its prime and belongs only in the compost bin (duh. but it has to be said).

To figure out my ingredient volumes, first I rinsed, hulled, and roughly chopped up the berries. I ended up with about three cups, so I wanted to use a bit less than half that volume of sugar. The lemon is in there to brighten the sweetness, rather than to provide acid for canning. This ratio can translate to lots of other summer fruit, so use this as a template and keep yourself in super seasonal, fresh jam all summer (or if you need to finish up some fruit before heading on a trip). You could also use this process to make small batches of freezer jam.

Small Batch Strawberry Jam – vegan, gluten free, and free of just about everything else

Important: this is not a tested and safe recipe for canning. I made this small batch with the intention of refrigerating and consuming within a couple of weeks. You could also freeze it.

Next time I’ll probably reduce the sweetness a bit more, but as written, this is quick, easy, and bursting with strawberry goodness. You can skip the honey all together and just use sugar.

3 C chopped strawberries, picked over and rinsed
scant 1 C sugar
1/4 C honey (for strict vegans use sugar instead)
splash of lemon juice

Add all ingredients to a medium pot or large sauce pan. At this point, I like to stir them a bit and then leave it alone and let the sugar start drawing the juices out of the berries for a bit (10 minutes to several hours) while I do other things. If you are in a rush, skip that part and just keep going.

Over medium heat, bring the mixture up to a boil. Stir frequently and help the jam along by squishing some fruit with your kitchen utensil of choice. Keep a close eye on things, as small batches cook quickly. Mine took about 10-15 minutes. Test for set (or aim for a temperature of 220F). I didn’t actually test either the temperature or for set. I just kind of eyeballed it, and it worked out ok. Pour into clean jars, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate. It should last a few weeks in the fridge.