Wild strawberries are the very first fruits foragers find in the early summer. I eat enjoy them fresh, eaten right out of hand, but some years there’s a bumper crop covering the ground. Wild foraged strawberries have such a strong strawberry flavor all packed into a tiny package, and when their season ends I always want more.
Some years, I dehydrate them and save a small jar of dehydrated strawberries in the back of the pantry. That jar says hidden until midwinter when I need to remember summer the most. This year, we preserved them in a small batch of wild strawberry jam.
It can be tricky to harvest enough wild strawberries for a big canner batch, but that’s not the point. You don’t need a big batch of something this special. I’m talking about making just one jar to squirrel away in the back of the pantry.
I set out with my 3-year-old daughter, and we were able to pick enough berries for a single half-pint jar of jam in about 20 minutes. I’ll be honest, most of the ones she picked never made it to the bowl. I looked over to see the bowl a bit lower than it had been a moment ago more than once too…
Most recipes for wild strawberry jam call for 500 grams of wild strawberries. That’s over a pound for those of us in the states. This recipe calls for just 100 grams, or about a cup and a half of berries. That’s not hard to come by, even with a 3-year-old taxing your harvest every time you turn you back.
It’s important to minimize cook time to prevent the berries from disintegrating. I like the idea of seeing those tiny little jewels spread out on a piece of toast in the morning. If you cook the jam too long, it’ll liquefy completely. While it’s still tasty, I want to see those berries!
Canning this jam is completely optional. While I did put up a jar, I imagine my 3-year-old assistant will find it long before January. If it makes it past the end of the month I’ll be surprised. Realistically, I should have just put the jar in the refrigerator, but there’s still plenty out there for a second refrigerator jam batch.
If you aren’t canning this jam, it can be thickened with other common ingredients you have on hand. If you’re not a canner, there’s no need to run out and buy pectin just for this. One teaspoon of arrowroot works well. A little bit of cornstarch mixed into some water also works, but I’m not fond of cornstarch jam because it always tastes gritty to me.
This is not a low sugar strawberry jam recipe, but feel free to reduce the sugar as much as you’d like. I’m including 1/2 cup of sugar for 1 1/2 cup of fresh berries, but feel free to reduce it to as little as a tablespoon or two. If you’re using Pomona’s pectin, it will still gel. Other brands of pectin require high sugar to work.
Pomona’s pectin needs to be mixed in with the sugar before adding it to the jam to prevent clumping, so this recipe will need some sugar just to incorporate the pectin. Don’t forget to add the calcium water that comes with the Pomona’s pectin, that’s what activates the natural citrus based pectin powder.
Keep in mind, wild strawberries can also be substituted into other strawberry canning recipes.
Wild Strawberry Jam
This quick and easy recipe for wild strawberry jam preserves those first fruits of summer for winter enjoyment. Canning this jam is optional, but if you put it in the refrigerator be sure to enjoy it within a few weeks.
- 1 1/2 cups wild strawberries about 100 grams
- 2 tbsp water or juice
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 tsp calcium water
- 1/4 tsp Pomona's pectin powder
Remove the stems from the wild strawberries and add them to a small saucepan. Add 2 tbsp of water of juice to help prevent the strawberries from scorching before they release their juice.
Bring the strawberries to a simmer, and cook on low for about 5 minutes. The berries should release their juice. Add the calcium water from the Pomona's pectin kit. This is necessary to activate the powdered pectin.
Mix 1/4 tsp Pomona's pectin powder into the sugar. Feel free to reduce the amount of sugar used, but this recipe requires at least 2 tbsp of sugar to mix with the pectin to prevent clumping.
Add the sugar and pectin mixture into the simmering strawberries and stir to incorporate. Simmer for an additional minute to activate the pectin.
Pour the jam into a sterilized jar, and either store in the refrigerator or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. If canning, be sure to leave 1/4 inch of headspace.