For the past couple of years, I’ve had great success with making fruit jams. The first year I struck gold with a delicious peach jam, and last year I swooned many with the strawberry vanilla jam from well fed, flat broke. Aside from a class on jamming in high school, I was pretty much a n00b to this amazing display of 50s-housewife-domesticity…and I should’ve known it was all too easy. Today, in my hometown, not more than two blocks away from where I first learned it all, I discovered a completely failed batch of strawberry vanilla jam.
It failed because…well, I don’t know. I may have gotten the instructions a little mixed up and added pectin when I didn’t need to. I may not have let it boil long and hot enough. Or the jamming gods have just decided enough was enough, my ego needed deflating. For all those reasons above, I eagerly opened a jar of strawberry vanilla goodness in front of my (very critical) mother, to discover something that resembled strawberry syrup. I spent the rest of the afternoon wallowing in self pity, googling remedies, and have now tried to correct one jar to see what happens tomorrow morning. It’s very difficult to type with my fingers crossed.
To comfort me in the middle of this mess, though, is the discovery that my other batch, the strawberry lemonade marmalade, turned out perfectly. I love strawberry jams that veer off course with a little bit of a surprise flavour, and this one totally fit the bill with bursts of citrus peel suspended in the jam. So this one, directly from Bernardin’s Complete Book of Home Preserving, with some tweaks to dial down the sugar content, has instantly become a part of my repertoire.
Quick Strawberry Lemon Marmalade
- 1/4 packed cup thinly sliced lemon peel, white pith removed as much as possible
- 4 firmly packed cups of whole washed strawberries, don’t worry about crushing them as you pack them into the measuring cup!
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 package powdered pectin
- 3.5 – 4 cups sugar*
*Original recipe for 6 cups sugar was wayyyy too sweet, so my second batch had 4 cups and it still worked out fine. I may tone it down a little more to 3.5 cups on my next try, to try to bring out the tartness from the lemons even more.
- Prepare your canning jars and lids and set up your workstation for canning – mise en place highly recommended here. You will make about seven 250mL jars of marmalade.
- In the large pot that you’ll be making your jam in, boil the lemon peel with just enough water to cover them. Boil for 5 minutes on a soft but continuous boil, until the peel is softened. Discard liquid and put peel back into the pot.
- Add strawberries and lemon juice to peel and mix well. Mash up the strawberries roughly with a potato masher. Whisk in the powdered pectin until dissolved, then bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
- Add sugar all in one go, and return to boil. Let it come to a hard boil continuously for one minute, then remove from heat and skim off foam.
- Ladle hot jam into the prepared jars, and leave 1/4 inch headspace. Place lids on, ensuring the rims of the jars are clean. Tighten screw band.
- Place jars into canner and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and open the lid of the canning pot, and let sit for five minutes before removing to set for 24 hours undisturbed.
My favourite thing about this jam so far has been the times I’ve come across the wonderful bits of lemon peel in the jam. Set against the rich sweetness of the strawberries, the burst of sunshine-y citrus is amazingly refreshing. I can’t wait to make more to share because I can’t imagine parting with my half batch of 3.5 jars just quite yet!