Microwave Fresh Strawberry Jam-Summer’s Treat

Sunday April 2, 2017

This is a recipe from a member of the Not Your Mother’s family of cookbooks–Microwave Cooking. This book is about fast, easy, soul satisfying, nutritious home style cooking that rivals fast food and frozen entrees time wise, but using instead fresh and pantry ingredients instead. I collected recipes that do what the microwave does best, from vegetables, potatoes, and hot breakfast cereals to sauces, custards, jams. Never made candy? Now you can make peanut brittle, a chocolate bark, or fudge and get it right first try. How about a tomato sauce for pasta in under 10 minutes? Fish cooks better and with the least fuss in the microwave than any other method. Please don’t miss a yummy hot chocolate for a pick-me-up, and range of really special hot teas.

Weck jam jars

Strawberry jam is certainly one of the all-time favorite homemade jams. Exceptional, chunky, fresh-fruit jams are easily made within half an hour utilizing the microwave oven. This jam is a bit loose, even drippy, rather than a solid jell like texture we are used to in commercial jams. So it’s not too sweet and not too stiff. Use over-as well as under-ripe berries and even make the jam from just-bought berries rather than refrigerated berries, as the flavor dulls with refrigeration.

Homemade jams are less sweet than commercial jams and much more exciting in flavor, texture, and color. Never tried a homemade jam thinking it messy and too much work? Think again with this recipe. Every spring when the first strawberries hit the market, my mother makes her strawberry jam in the microwave.

A member of the rose family, strawberries are speckled with an average of 200 plus dry, diminutive seeds on every berry. Because they absorb water quickly, never float berries in water to clean, just rinse under running water. When ready to use, rinse briefly with cold running water, then hull them. To save water, place a bowl under the berries and let the water run from berry to bowl (use the drained liquid to water plants). If you hull-then-wash, it is likely the water will fill the berry’s cavity, diluting the plump berry-red flavor.

Pectin is important for thickening microwave jams, as the liquid does not evaporate during cooking, resulting in a greater yield per batch than on the stove top. Using this recipe, you may substitute raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries for the strawberries, but definitely taste while adding the sugar to adjust a little more or a little less for differing degrees of tartness.

Overview

Cookware: Cookware: 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup or batter bowl

Microwave Wattage: 1,100 to 1,300

Total Cook Time: 11 to 13 minutes

Standing Time: 10 minutes

Makes 4 cups (2 pint jars or 4 half-pints)

Ingredients

  • 1 quart (4 cups) fresh strawberries, washed, drained, and hulled
  • 1/2 (1 3/4- or 2-ounce) box powdered pectin
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, or to taste

Instructions

1. Coarsely crush the berries by hand or in the food processor, leaving a few whole berries or chunks, as desired, to make about 2 to 2 1/2 cups. Place in a deep straight-sided microwave-proof glass or ceramic casserole about three times the volume of the fruit, preferably with a pouring spout. Sprinkle with the pectin. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.

2. Microcook on HIGH, uncovered,to  bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down; about 6 minutes. Add the sugar and stir well.

3. Microcook on HIGH, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring twice. Skim off the white foam with a large metal spoon. Remove from the oven. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes before ladling into storage jars such as French confiture glass jars with plastic lids, quilted jelly jars, or glass-topped jars with wire closures. Let stand until cool. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, if it lasts that long.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cooking, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2010, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2017

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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