Homemade strawberry jam is the taste of the summer season that carries you through those long winter months. It is a pleasant way to start the day, spread on toast or pancakes.
This season, Romanian farm women are regularly occupied in the work of gathering, picking over, washing, and preserving fruit. In the village of Iaslovăț, Suceava county, a local woman bent in her garden picking the sun-ripened organic strawberries. Her eyes search the garden for the well-ripened ones. There they are, coming from the rain-washed earth, from the rich black mud, with that flavor so sweet and aromatic to the taste buds, in rich pinks and strong red, gifting their god-given flavor to any and all.
While it’s easy to go buy a jar at the store, Maria Burcuță tries to provide good quality food for her family, and her recipes, like this strawberry jam, the plum jam, and the best-canned vegetable spread are all plant-based and far, far tastier.
Her recipe uses one kilogram of sugar to three kilograms of strawberries and needs no preservatives and no pectin to set. Strawberries are cored and washed and tossed with sugar. They are left to sit overnight. The sugar pulls out the juices of the fruit forming a syrup.
Then, the next day, the fruit is heated on the stovetop with nothing but its own syrup, stirring constantly, until it reaches the “jelling” or “setting” point. Boiling homemade strawberry jam takes about two hours. In the end, the fruits are all mashed and the jam thickens, so it’s important to stir continuously.
It is canned and sealed while it is hot. The jam is poured into glass jars, the lid is placed, then the jar is flipped upside down. Flipping the jar over is a sealing method that needs no more boiling in a water bath.
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