DIY Christmas Gifts: Homemade Jam

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This week we have an edible gift! This is the one you'll be gifting to your grandmother, aunt, and next door neighbor. Of all the gift in the series, this is perhaps the easiest. In fact, you only need two ingredients! Let's get started.

4 lbs frozen fruit (I used Strawberries)
2 cups sugar

For this recipe I used Strawberries, but I've made it with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. You can use whatever fruit you'd like or even add additional flavors like orange or vanilla. Additionally, you can use fresh fruit or frozen, depending on what you have.

I start by dumping everything into a large stockpot. Then starting on low, I let the fruit defrost in the pan with the lid on. Once the fruit is soft, I turn up the heat until it's gently boiling. As this mixture contains sugar, it will burn VERY easily and stick to the bottom of the pot. Therefore, keep the temperature to med-high, never higher. Every few minutes, I stir the jam and gently smoosh the fruit pieces up. I like chunky jam, however, you can use a meat tenderizer or potato masher to get a finer texture. Once the liquid has evaporated enough so the jam is the consistency of cold syrup, you can take it off the burner. Let the mixture cool completely before transferring to jars. Once you've put it into jars, you can go the traditional canning route and seal them in a hot water bath. This way they will be swhelf stable. Otherwise simply seal with an airtight lid. Advise your recipient to refrigerate the jam until consumed.

A cute idea is to bake some fresh bread or purchase gourmet crackers to accompany your jam. This jam can be poured on top of ice cream, added to lemonade for Strawberry Lemonade or eaten with a spoon! It's truly better than anything store bought!

My rule of thumb is 1/2 cup sugar to 1 lb fruit. You can also omit the sugar entirely or add more depending on preference. This makes enough jam for two pint size jars.