By Melissa Levine, writer-in-residence.
Suffering from jam anxiety? We understand. Whenever somebody says "preserves," we flash on a kitchen crowded with quart jars, a threatening-to-explode pressure cooker, and hot blueberries sliding down the walls.
But we've left all that behind. Because we just did jam, easy-style. We're calling it Can-the-Can Jam, and it works. Right this very moment, we're sittin' pretty on a freshly-made quart of strawberry jam. Which we expect to last . . . the weekend.
Here's how it works. Start with the fruit of your choice, and cut out the bad spots, stems, and/or seeds—also known as "whatever's inedible." We chose the strawberries because they're coming into season, but later in the summer you can have your way with all those sexy stone fruits—peaches, plums, apricots, etc.
Slice the fruit into jam-ish bits. (We halved the medium-sized strawberries and quartered the really big honkers.) Then cook the fruit in an iron pot on the stove, adding sugar as you bring it to a boil. We used 1 cup of sugar for 2 pounds of strawberries, which you can tweak to the right or left depending on your sweetness preferences. If you want to get fancy or feel superior, you can add a little lemon juice or orange peel.
Once you have a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about a half hour, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, place a quart-sized glass jar, sans lid, in the oven on 250F for a half hour of EZ-style sterilization.
When your half hour has passed, the jam'll be good and syrupy. Spoon it into the jar (which you'll have conveniently removed from the oven), secure the lid, and let it cool. Presto! Finito!
The jam will last a couple of months in the fridge—or a couple of days for anyone who actually tastes it.
Cans are so totally over.