April 15, 2011

making strawberry jam

Strawberry season in  South Florida has come and gone, and I managed to put up 3 variations this month- strawberry & mulberry, strawberry with mint, and strawberry lemon zest. I cheated a bit and bought quart after quart from the grocery store. Still the food miles were under 100 and the berries were at their peak. Each batch was canned without added pectin; only strawbs, sugar, lemon juice, and small amounts of either mulberry, mint, or zest. Each of the additions to the recipe were foraged from the neighborhood! Can't help loving free, local, regional, delights! I let the ingredients macerate for 2 hours before I boiled everything down until it reached 220 degrees or the gel stage. The test for gelling is seriously simple. Plop a little of the mixture on a plate in the freezer, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and test it by pushing your fingertip into the edge. If its gelled correctly it'll wrinkle a little and hold its form, if it's still runny boil it down for 5 more minutes. While the berries cooked down I sterilized all the jars and lids. Just funnel the mixture into the warm jars, process for 10 minutes in a water bath, and your done.  I use this book all the time for reference with different food crafts.

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