Lemon and Strawberry Jam

This bright and easy lemon and strawberry jam is a perfect spread for your brunch toast or pancakes.  It’s also a tribute to my babushka’s golden heart and her love filled life.

This bright and easy lemon and strawberry jam is a perfect spread for your brunch toast or pancakes.

I write this post with a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes.  A few days ago, while everyone was celebrating with tequila and beer on Cinco de Mayo, I was sadly mourning the loss of my beloved babushka.  My babushka took her last breath at 7:20 am this past Thursday May 5th.

She was my last connection to my mother who I lost 14 years ago.  She told me stories of my childhood, she gave me endless amounts of love…sometimes it was tough love and sometimes it was warm, but it was always love.  She was the most selfless, caring and loving person I have ever known.  She would give away the last dollar to her name to buy my daughter a toy.  She always said, I don’t need much…I live for the happiness of my children.  By children she meant all of us, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I considered her life a blessing given upon us.  She was an angel on earth, selfless and caring in all her glory.  She lived a life full of angst, sorrow and sadness and yet was still able to give us all the love in the world.

And so with this post…I will do my very best to honor her in the best way I know how.  With stories, heard from her, written by me.  I will tell the stories that need to be told.  People who hear babushka’s story tell her that she should have written a book…but she never did and hopefully at least my story telling will pass on the story into some of your hearts and maybe help heal mine.

I learned my jam many years ago, from my maternal babushka, meaning grandmother in Russian.

This bright and easy lemon and strawberry jam is a perfect spread for your brunch toast or pancakes.

Time for our Russian language lesson of the day.  It is not pronounced ba-BOOOOOO-shka.  It is pronounced Ba-bush-ka.  It’s a word.  Not a sentence.  Please do not drag out the middle syllable. Thank you.  That commences our lesson for the day

My maternal grandmother is one of those  grandmothers who has lived 1000 lives in one.  Who has survived tragedy, famine, unbearable losses and then had to start all over again so that she can build a better life for her family.  To give her just a few sentences is a huge dishonor and actually quite impossible…nonetheless I will try, and hopefully through my meager words you can share my love for my babushka with me.

My babushka and I at my bridal shower

My babushka was born as Sura Stein in 1925 in a rural town of Moldova.  Back then Moldova was under Romanian rule, so babushka only spoke Romanian, Moldovian and Yiddish, not a lick of Russian.  She had a quiet childhood along with her older sister Anna and was raised by her loving mother.  A woman who had a heart of gold and always did all in her power to help people in need.  And she instilled the same in her children.  Teaching them to always share with the ones less fortunate and that even when the heavens do not seem like they have cracked a smile, they will always nod your way if you are kind to others and yourself.

At the tender age of 16 when the Germans came to occupy Moldova and the genocide began, they and a few other refugees fled from their homes with only one suitcase between the three of them and hardly enough money for a few days to live on.  They partially walked, partially rode the train.  Babushka told me that along the way she remembers hiding in the trains, praying that the Nazi’s did not discover them all while ducking from the bomb raids in the air.  They finally made their way to Northern Russia; a freezing ice box of a place.

My babushka was always happiest surrounded by her great grandchildren

For five years, babushka and her family took odd jobs here and there.  Moving around from Northern Russia, to Uzbekistan, to Ukraine and then finally back home to Moldova.  Babushka told me stories of how she learned the kindness of others back then, how a simple notion of someone’s good heart got them through some of the darkest and coldest days.  She and her sister were blessed to be able to go to night school and learn Russian so they can be the breadwinners for the family.  Babushka’s stories always leave me in awe of how a person of only 16 can survive something so tumultuous and persevere to become this amazingly wonderful and loving human being.  And yet, she always adds her funny stories and anecdotes that somehow peek through the heartache.

She says that during the day her sister and her would work on farms or factories, wherever they could earn a living and at night they would still go to dances.  They did not have the latest fashions or sometimes even a pair of shoes but the local girls would invite them and share all they had with them.  And for one night babushka would feel like an ordinary teenager, dancing late into the night, forgetting tomorrow.


Years later, babushka married and had two daughters, Mara and Dora (my mom) and later she buried her husband and became a widow at the young the age of 52.  She never remarried or even dated,  instead she moved in with my family and helped raise my brother and me.  When my mom told her to go and start her own life, she said that she would never leave my mom alone to raise her kids.  She cooked for us, cleaned for us, read to us and bought us everything we wanted.  She once dragged a 50 pound bike for me across 3 busses and countless of miles on foot, just so I could have the newest bicycle around.

My babushka with my brother and I at her 90th birthday party last summer.

I remember sitting in Moldova as a young girl and watching television at night with my dad and suddenly a sweet and fragrant aroma would fill our house.  Then suddenly babushka would appear in the doorway and give my dad his snack of a fresh baguette, half and half (instead of milk) and her homemade strawberry and lemon jam that had been permeating through the air only minutes before.  She and my mom would then start the canning process and can the jam to be enjoyed in the colder months when strawberries were nowhere to be found.

My babushka is one of the most influential people in my life.  She gave a piece of her heart to my brother and I and even with all the sorrow that touched her life she still manages to persevere and still lives for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Until her last day on this earth, she asked me if I have enough money and if I have food in the house to eat.  Every once in awhile, she would sit down with me and tell me tales from the past and she told those stories as clear as if they happened yesterday.  Babushka asked me every day what I cooked and how I made it and we shared recipes and stories.  It was my way of connecting to her past.  And it still is.  Perhaps through my recipes babushka lives on within me.   And perhaps it will take a long time for my heart to be healed and surely she will always be missed.  A piece of me will always want to call her and tell her the new recipe I made or the latest family gossip or the best contestant on Dancing with the Stars (her favorite show).  But in my heart, I know she is here, her spirit her love and her heart is still around her.  And instead of losing a grandmother on Earth…I believe I gained another guardian angel up above.

This recipe shows the genius of babushka.  How brilliant to combine citrus with berries.  Instead of rhubarb babushka used the tartness and strong citrus notes of lemons to liven up these strawberries.  I remember after making this jam for the first time, I called her up and told her how I remembered her making it for my dad and how it is still one of the most requested recipes from my clients.  Babushka went silent on the phone and then said, “You should sell it!  At least make a profit from it!”  No, I won’t sell it, but I will share it.  Enjoy all, from my babushka’s heart to yours.

This bright and easy lemon and strawberry jam is a perfect spread for your brunch toast or pancakes.




clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Lemon and Strawberry Jam

  • Author: Mila Furman


This bright and easy lemon and strawberry jam is a perfect spread for your brunch toast or pancakes.


  • 4 pints of fresh strawberries (hulled)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • Rind and Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Taste as you go. You may want to add more sugar or lemon juice.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once desired consistency and flavor is reached, turn off heat and cool.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Russian

This bright and easy lemon and strawberry jam is a perfect spread for your brunch toast or pancakes.

Similar Posts


  1. Loved your story, your ba-bush-ka sounds like a great grandma. I do have a question abou the jam, so do you leave the lemon peels in, and if you do, are they chewy? I dont know if i missed something and have never ate lemon rinds. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Babushka kicks ASS! I do leave it in… They are slightly chewy but nothing horrible. And they are so mellow after you cook them…I love biting into them.

    2. I am so sorry I missed your question! Yes I add in the lemon rinds and you cook them with the jam. When they cook up they become super tangy and sweet all at the same time!

  2. An unforgettable post. . . there is nothing meaningful one can put into words to you except that the wonderful memories your babushka left will be part of you and your family for the rest of time. And time will heal the pain attendant. Thank you also for your war story . . . . one similar to that millions of people could tell . . . being older than you I know only too well of the unsurmountable hell life was then and the sacrifices our parents later made for us. Hope the days to come will begin to bring peace . . . .

    1. Eha….thank you so much for your wonderful words. Maybe through my stories and through the moments that pass I will heal myself. Thank you for the kind thoughts my dear.

  3. It is a blessing to have such wonderful memories. It sounds so much like my own grandmother who passed away when I was in my teen years but still remember her stories..
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I LOVE your posts and your recipes.

    1. Atour…thank you so much! It is always so hard to know who actually reads my posts especially when they are heart felt like this…I always wonder if people just skip through to the recipe…it is nice to know that people actually read my posts and take them to heart. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. What a lovely tribute to your Babushka, thank you for sharing her story. I am touched. Love all your recipes, thanks for this site.

  5. I read every word of your post and now I’m trying to type with tear-filled eyes. Your story could of been of my mamma. We are so blessed with having such wonderful, unselfish, loving women in our lives. Yes they are angels in heaven, I’m certain. Whenever I’m having problems or am feeling blue there is always some kind of sign my mamma is with me. I ask her for advice and she’ll let me know what she thinks, still.Happy Mother’s Day Mila and to your babushka too. Thank you for sharing the story and the recipe.

    1. Ahhh Marisa…thank you for reading this….I am touched more than you know. They are angels above…I am sure of it.

  6. Thanks for the link and now for two good recipes :). Loved reading the story about your babushka. Sounds like a wonderful and loving woman. How fortunate you were and now have memories no one can take away. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Mila… this is such a lovely and heart-felt tribute to your babushka! So beautifully written, I could perfectly imagine your interactions with her. It sounds like she had an incredible life – you should take those stories she told you and write them down. Make a journal of them or journal them into your recipes. My grandmother wrote an unpublished autobiography shortly before she passed. She talked about our family in Japan, when they came over, living through the Great Depression, and living in the Japanese internment camps during WWII. It’s something that I will be happy to pass down to my child, grandchildren, and beyond. I know your family is close enough that a memoir of your babushka’s life is something that generations to come would love to know and cherish.
    So your lovely babushka’s strawberry jam…. what can I say? Strawberry jam is my all-time favorite! This looks so incredibly delicious and your photographs are just stunning! I’m so glad that you have this recipe from her to share with us. Recipes in their own right are a legacy – they live on long after we’re gone. And as long as there are people around to cook them – they live forever. Xxoo my dear.

    1. Oh Kat, what an incredibly beautiful comment. Thank you for that. Babushka will live on through my stories and our family stories. And when I get my publishing deal, I will surely tell all of her stories 🙂
      In terms of this jam…I just love how incredibly easy it is and how flavorful it is!

Leave a Reply