Easy Refrigerator Jam

When you have an abundance of good berries and summer fruit, make them quickly into a refrigerator jam. There’s no need to sterilize all those jars — just keep the jam refrigerated and covered until, all too fast, it disappears. The sugar thickens the fruit as it slowly cooks down, so pectin isn’t necessary. Any kind of flavoring or combination works. I like a little zip from citrus, but experiment with other acids that will give spunk to your morning toast.

Nathalie Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, most recently the James Beard award-winning “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.” She lives in Charleston and Reach her at Nathaliedupree.com.

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh hulled strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cut-up peaches

4 cups white sugar

1/8 cup lemon juice (optional)

1/8 cup orange juice (optional)

Directions

Put a small china plate in the freezer. Crush the berries in batches to make 4 cups of mashed berry. Stir the berries, sugar, and juice together in a heavy pan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees. Remove the china plate from the freezer and test the jam by dropping a teaspoon of it onto the plate. Make a line with your finger through the jam on the plate. If it doesn’t run together, it is ready. For a refrigerator jam, pour into clean containers, cool, cover and keep refrigerated.

Variations

Add a dash or two Limoncello to taste with the juices

Add a dash or two of balsamic vinegar to taste with the juices

Rosemary, ginger, thyme, basil all add a different twist.