ok so you’re terrified of canning. i get that. it feels intimidating & overwhelming. also canning is usually done in the summer months when fresh fruits & vegetables abound. which means that it’s already hot outside, so the thought of keeping a hot water bath boiling kind of makes you want to melt, right? don’t get me wrong — i LOVE canning & do a big preserving push at least a few times each summer.
but when i’m not in the mood or don’t have the time or only have a small amount of fruit available or — more likely — that needs to be used up before it becomes compost, i make small batches of jam for the fridge (or freezer). i love having my fridge stocked with various jars of jam, glowing like jewels & begging to be smeared onto buttery biscuits, or better yet, swirled into ice cream or baked into crumb bars.
at the moment i have fig, marionberry, blackberry, raspberry & blueberry all competing for shelf space. some of these jams were made last summer, but a few were cooked up late one evening while we obsessively watched making a murderer (i know, we’re like 5 years late) with fruit that needed using up. you can use any old fruit you find lying around & in any combination that you think will taste good.
because i bake with this jam quite a bit, i tend to not like it too sweet, adding a generous squeeze of lemon juice along with a fairly small amount sugar. it cooks up pretty quickly since it’s a small batch. and because you’re not processing it you can use any old jar with a matching lid. it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks or can be frozen in a good commercial grade freezer for up to a year. for a home freezer i’d recommend using within 3 months.
enjoy! and please share you favorite concoctions with me!
small batch refrigerator jam
original recipe by melissa slate // yield 1 pint
- 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit or berries: washed, dried, peeled (if necessary), and diced or mashed
- 1 c organic cane sugar
- 2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 c water
- place fruit, water, lemon juice & sugar into a heavy-bottomed non-reactive saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until it comes to a boil. cook for 30 seconds stirring constantly & reduce heat to low. place a small plate in the freezer for testing your jam later.
- allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is reduced and the mixture begins to thicken.
- when your jam is thick & glossy, place a small dollop onto the frozen plate & wait 30 seconds. your jam is ready when it wrinkles when pressed. if it is still runny, continue cooking for several more minutes and re-test until it is properly set.
- optional step: if you’re making a berry jam which is quite seedy you can press half of the jam through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. mix the strained portion back in with the remaining jam. it’s not necessary but does make for a more palatable product in the end.
- pour the hot jam into a clean glass pint jar (or two 8 oz jars) and affix the lid right away. allow to cool at room temperature for at least an hour, then store in the refrigerator overnight before transferring to freezer or using. enjoy on toast or biscuits, swirled into yogurt, drizzled over ice cream, or made into jammy crumb bars.