Weather: 42 degrees, breezy
What I’m listening to:  
Two is Better Than One, Boys Like Girls

I may have just died and gone to jam heaven. You didn’t know there was a jam heaven, eh? Neither did I until today.

Homemade jam isn’t difficult to make and it doesn’t need to become a huge canning production if you don’t want it to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a canning fan. But, you don’t have to let the idea of canning a huge batch stop you from having fresh jam on-hand. This recipe is for one jar of jam, so there’s no canning required. Just cook it up and refrigerate to use this week. But hey, if you want to make a huge batch of this and go canning crazy, this recipe is easily adapted to much larger quantities. This would make a beautiful gift for friends and neighbors (say, for Mother’s Day).

This jam is just perfect for me – sweet, but not too sweet, thick, but not too thick. It’s full of all-natural, fresh, honest ingredients. The basil and vanilla in this recipe balance out the tartness and acidity of the strawberries and lemon in just such a way as to make those who taste it wonder what makes it so special. It tastes like glorious warm weather on toast.

Like the jar? It’s an old Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd jar (courtesy of my mother-in-law), labels removed.

Strawberry Basil Jam


Yields: 1 12oz jar of jam

  • 1lb fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
  • 1c sugar
  • Zest and juice of half a large lemon
  • 1/4t vanilla
  • 2-3 large fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Place all the ingredients into a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, stirring often.

When sugar has dissolved, using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until mostly smooth, with some larger chunks remaining. (Don't have an immersion blender? Try mashing with a potato masher).

Increase heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil until the mixture reaches 220 degrees and coats your spoon. Pour hot mixture into a glass jar or jars - I use a funnel for this (one 12oz jar should do).

If jam is going to be consumed right away (within the week), there is no need to process the jar; just stick it straight into the refrigerator.


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