This was my second summer going strawberry picking in Alexis’ in-laws backyard. I basically show up with my tupperware containers, get down on all fours and crawl through their little strawberry patch and go nuts picking Aletta’s organic strawberries (she doesn’t use any pesticides in their garden). Just one of these little berries has more juicy strawberry flavour than a whole package of those supermarket berries from California. Why do we always think bigger is better? Those strawberries from Cali are huge, but they just taste like water, and now I can’t eat them without wondering what they’ve been pumped with to make them so big.
Anyway, back to the cutest teeniest berries from The Ridge. I ate my fair share of these by the bowlful, topped with a scoop of vanilla yogurt, and also used them in two dessert projects. The first was a quadruple layer Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake I made for Father’s Day, and the second was a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble that I made for my first dinner guest in my new place (Aoife!) with leftovers going to Mom & Dad.
But we are not here to talk about those. We are here to talk about what I did with the rest of the berries, because I think it changed my life.
When I stumbled across this post on Dinner with Julie a few weeks ago, I immediately got all riled up. I subscribed to every misconception Julie lists about jam making, and I felt almost outraged that I didn’t know it could be this simple. It was like a lightbulb went off – of course! Why can’t you just make a little batch of jam to keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks (ha! as if mine even lasted that long!) instead of making 528963 jars, and dealing with canning and pectin and all those crazy things.
This honestly took 15 minutes to make, and I ate it on toast and in countless PB&J sandwiches. You could also stir it into yogurt, spoon over ice cream or spread on homemade scones (my plan for the next batch).
Skillet Strawberry Jam
Source: Dinner with Julie
4 cups hulled strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- In a bowl, roughly mash strawberries with a potato masher (I used a pastry cutter because apparently I don’t own a potato masher yet).
- Pour the berries into a skillet (Julie used cast iron, I don’t have one so I just used a saucepan), and add sugar and lemon juice.
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, and breaking up large chunks of berries with a spoon, until it thickens and looks like jam (*best, most obvious piece of cooking advice, but so true*). This will take about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla if you want, and cool.