This jam can be prepared with myriad variations - drop the puree if you don't have it on hand, play with the spices, adjust the sweetness to your liking. Provided you keep the sugar content above four cups, the preserves ought to gel just fine thanks to the pectin provided by the apple.
Seat of the Pants Spiced Strawberry Jam
fills 5 halfpint jars or 10 quarterpints
5 C strawberries, hulled and halved (from about 1.5 pounds of fruit)
4-5 C sugar
1 C strawberry puree
3 T lemon juice
1/3 tart apple, with skin, cut into several large pieces
1 large piece lemon rind - roughly 3 x 1.5-inches, including yellow zest and some white pith
5 whole cloves
1 whole cinnamon stick, about 3 inches
.5 t vanilla extract
Use a paring knife to knick 4 small cuts in the lemon rind. Insert a clove into each hole. In a large pot, mash strawberries with sugar until only a few large chunks of fruit remain. Add lemon juice, apple and spices in a large pot and let stand one hour to macerate.
Place pot over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until sugar is fully dissolved. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and crushing berries with back of spoon.
Meanwhile, Set 8 clean half-pint canning jars in a water bath along with 8 rings and any canning equipment that has not yet been sterilised. Bring to a boil; keep at a boil 10 minutes before reducing heat to low until preserves are ready. Set dome lids in rack for dunking or have at the ready with tongs.
Attach a candy thermometer to the preserve pot, taking care that the probe be at middle-depth and neither touching the pot or sitting above the preserves. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 215ºF. It will take some time for the mixture to reduce sufficiently to reach this temperature. The preserves will foam as they cook - simply stir them down if they reach too high. Increase heat to medium-high if necessary.
Once the preserves have reached 215ºF, remove from heat and let stand in the pot 2 minutes. Skim off any foam that has accumulated and remove spices, rinds, etc. Add vanilla extract and stir preserves once to distribute fruit pieces.
Meanwhile, sterilise dome lids by dunking in water bath.
Portion preserves into hot sterilised jars, leaving .5-inch headspace. Place dome lid on lip of jar and screw on ring until finger-tight. Process in boiling water bath 5-6 minutes. Remove from bath and let cool, undisturbed for 24 hours.
Label and store up to 9 months in a cool, dark location.
Eat them on a gluten-free roll and you're set for breakfast.