One of the things that makes me happy is seeing basket after basket of gorgeous summer strawberries stacked up and lined up at our local farmers market.  Living in the outskirts of London, the majority of the summer strawberry bounty comes from Kent, also known as the Garden of England.  And, let me tell you, they are gorgeous.  Unlike the giants that come from California, British strawberries are smaller (a little larger around than a quarter) but absolutely packed with flavor.  No watery fruit here – these bright red beauties are juicy and sweet and absolutely lip-smackingly yummy.

So, every year, I grab around four baskets of those babies, add a bunch of jam sugar and put them into jars for the winter (and for gifts).  This year, I decided to change things up a bit – throw in a bit of sass to the sweetness – and added some rhubarb to balance out the sweetness of the strawberries with a little sourness as well as some honey to give the sweetness a little depth.

This recipe will make eight jam jars (I like to recycle Bonne Maman jam jars), so put them through the dishwasher first, then pop them into a warm oven while the jam is simmering.

Sassy Summer Jam

  • 4 cups rhubarb that’s been cut into 1″ pieces
  • 7 cups strawberries that have been hulled and quartered
  • 9 cups jam sugar (sugar that has pectin added to it)
  • 1 cup honey
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Additional package of pectin (1 Tbsp)

Take your 7 cups of quartered strawberries and lightly mash.  You don’t want a puree – rather you want a pulpy mush – I like to use a loose potato masher that looks like this and just give it a press or two.  Then layer the rhubarb and strawberries with the jam sugar and let them macerate for about 4 hours to get all the fruit juices running.

When you’re ready to start cooking the jam, put 3 small plates into the freezer and the jars and jam funnel into a warm oven.  Pour the fruit and sugar into a large non-reactive pan, and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until all the sugar is fully dissolved.  Raise the heat to medium high, add the extra pectin and bring to the boil, then reduce slightly and cook for 30 minutes, skimming the foam as you go.  Warning – it’ll boil over quickly, so you don’t want to leave it once you’ve started.

After about 30 minutes, start testing to see if the jam has set – put a teaspoon of the juice onto one of the cold plates and let it sit for a minute or so.  If it wrinkles up when you push it with your finger, the jam has set.  If it hasn’t, continue to boil and check every 5-10 minutes.  When the jam is ready to jar, pour in the lemon juice and give it a good stir, then pour the jam into the warm jars and screw the lid on tightly.  As the jars cool, you’ll hear the *ping* of freshness button on the lid, letting you know they’re fully sealed.  If they don’t seal, you can still use the jam, just keep them in the fridge.