Yesterday we went to a “pick your own” berry farm and picked 6 plastic buckets of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. What to do with this abundance? We used up about a third of them by making a blueberry pie, a strawberry cake, and a batch of refrigerator jam, the subject of this post.
This is a simplified version of jam since it does not use pectin and does not require sealing in a water bath. It is intended to be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. I worked off a recipe in Leitesculinaria.com. This could be used with mixed berries, but I thought the blackberries might be the most fragile of the berries we picked, so I made it completely with them. This recipe makes 4 half-pints and takes about 2 hours.
2.5 lbs. washed berries
1.5 lbs. sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
Put the berries and sugar in a non-reactive pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and berries mix together and begin to form a juice. Add the lemon juice. Bring to a boil stirring frequently, and then reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally. After the berries are very soft, mash them with a potato masher.
While the berries are cooking. Put a small plate in the freezer to chill. Also wash the jars, lids and bands well. Put them in a pot, cover them with water, and bring the pot to a boil to sterilize them. Let them sit in the hot water. Drain and dry them before using.
Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature of the . As it approaches 220 degrees after about 60-90 minutes, check whether it has jelled by putting a small spoonful on the plate chilled in the freezer. Tilt the plate slightly to see if the jam runs or not. If it does not spread, it is ready.
Fill the clean and dry jars using a canning funnel, leaving about half an inch of headspace. Clean the top of the jars with a paper towel. Put on the lid and screw down tightly with the band. Allow to rest at room temperature and then store in the refrigerator. Label and date the jars. Use within 3 months.